Are you finding that the life you have is constantly getting in the way of the life you want? Do you ever wonder why it seems some people have things together; but for you, things just lose momentum? You’re certainly not alone. It can be difficult to pin down the life you want to lead. But how do you set good goals? Goal-setting coupled with a plan of action; or, S.M.A.R.T. goals.

Setting S.M.A.R.T. goals involves breaking your goal down into five components; Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. This five part series will examine each in turn and walk you through an example of goal-setting.


Your goal needs to be specific in nature. It helps to answer the following questions:

  • Who is involved?
  • What do I want to accomplish?
  • Will I need anything to accomplish my goal?
  • Where will I accomplish this?
  • Why do I want to accomplish this goal?
  • Why is this important to me?

Saying something like, “I want to go to college and get a degree,” is vague, and lives more in the realm of a desire you might get to. . . . someday. Let’s change that. Let’s use the questions above and flesh out this desire so it is more specific and turn it into an actionable goal.

Who is involved?

Well, hopefully, you are. But you may need to also enlist the help of your family and friends. It may require receiving an education or specialized training, so teachers, professors, and fellow students may also be involved.

What do you want to accomplish?

You want to get a degree. Let’s be more specific. Have you aligned your degree with your career interests? How far do you wish to take your education?

Will I need anything to accomplish my goal?

In order to get a degree you need to find a way to pay for the education. For example, this could be through financial aid, scholarships, tuition assistance or savings – maybe even a combination of all four.

Where will I accomplish my goal?

To get your degree, you will need to choose a college to attend and decide whether you want to learn online or on campus.

Why? Why do I want to accomplish this goal?

Why is this goal important to me? In the case of schooling, your first answer may be to make more money, to have a job you like, to work in a field that will continue to grow, or career advancement. These are not bad reasons. But try to dig a little deeper, finding a reason bigger than yourself may make the difference in reaching the finish line. Perhaps you have always wanted to help people, or ensure your family business is around for the next generation.  

Let’s see what a goal might look like after working through the above questions:

“I want to go to Geneva College online and get a bachelor’s degree in Child & Family Services so that I can help families through difficult situations with grace.”

When a goal is clearly defined, it gives it focus; thereby, grounding it in reality. Part two will examine what making a goal measurable means, and how to do it. In the meantime, feel free to consult with our student advisor regarding your career goals and how completing your education with Geneva College can help you achieve them.

Ryan Buchar
Student Recruitment Manager

Megan Radel Student Recruitment Manager Geneva College

Megan Radel
Student Recruitment Manager

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