Skip to main content MCC Crescent Shape Search RSS Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram chevron pointing down

Goal Setting

Goal-setting is powerful because it provides focus. The process of setting goals helps you plan steps that will help you reach the outcome you want.

A well-set goal has five important characteristics: It is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-related (SMART).

Setting SMART goals

The research shows that specific and challenging goals lead to better performance (Locke, 1968).  In this lesson we will be working on designing a plan and creating SMART goals to help us achieve a healthier lifestyle.


Your goal should be as specific as possible and answer the questions: What is your goal? Where will it take place?


How will you measure your goal? Measurement will give you specific feedback and hold you accountable.


Goals should push you, but it is important that they are achievable. Are your goals attainable?


Is your goal and time-frame realistic for the goal you have established?


Do you have a time-frame listed in your SMART goal? This helps you be accountable and helps in motivation.

Watch this YouTube video further explaining SMART Goals:

Short-Term and Long-Term Goals

There are two main types of goals; short-term and long-term goals. A short term goal has a short time frame for accomplishment. Short-term goals are the things we are working on today, tomorrow, next week. They are usually goals that you can accomplish within a year. An example of a short-term goal – maintain a 3.0 GPA for the semester.

A long-term goal is a goal that is further in the future. Long-term goals represent the things you want to accomplish in one, two, or several years. Long-term goals are considered the major targets for your life. Example of a long-term goal – complete my degree in fine arts in four years.

Tip – To make sure that your short-term goals are leading to your long-term goals, it’s a good idea to work from your long-term goals to generate your short-term goals. Make sure that the things that you are doing daily, weekly, and monthly reflect the big picture of your long-term goals.

Undecided Career Goals - Finding your career path is easier than you think…

Take GUID 109: 1 credit Career Exploration Seminar Find Your Career Path with the guidance of a MCC counselor. Enroll today in a 16 or 8 week session.

Course Description

Exploration of factors affecting career choice. Identification and discussion of individual values, interests and abilities related to occupations. Overview of the world of work as it related to career and academic planning. Expansion of career development knowledge, skills and use of resources.

You can also choose to schedule individual sessions with an MCC Counselor for Career Exploration, Personal and Educational Support Counseling. Why put it off? If you are taking classes without a career goal you are less likely to graduate and find a living-wage job. Make the most of the classes you take each semester by having a career plan.

Overcoming Obstacles

Achieving your goals can be rewarding, but sometimes you may face obstacles to reaching your goals. An obstacle is any barrier that hinders you from achieving your goals. There are two main types of obstacles – internal and external. An internal is a barrier that comes from within ourselves or from within the goal itself – such as a goal that lacks the SMART elements. An external obstacle is a barrier or a situation that another person puts in your path. Considering what might be internal and/or external obstacles when you set your goals will help you develop a plan to overcome them when and if they arise.

Put what you have just learned into action, by using this goal setting worksheet. If you need help achieving your goals, please contact a counselor on your campus. We are happy to help!

Counseling: Goal Setting