College Essay Examples

Effective Goal Setting

Effective Goal Setting

A goal that I failed to accomplish was when I wanted to start eating a much healthier diet to start this year. This goal was not successful for a couple reasons. First, it was not all that specific nor was it too realistic. That is, I did not clearly define or understand what eating healthier meant for me at the time. This consequently made it hard for me to remain motivated to continue progressing towards this goal.

A goal that I successfully accomplished was when I wanted to improve my grades in my final year of high school. Up until my senior year, I was satisfied with my grades, but I wanted to push myself further and attain honors standing. I knew that having better grades would help me in my future educational and academic endeavors. Consequently, I had sufficient intrinsic motivation to encourage me to remain focused on achieving this goal. There are certain long-term goals that I envisioned for myself at the time, and I knew that, in order to achieve those, I needed to do well in high school. Thus, I created a short-term goal to help me eventually work towards accomplishing a long-term goal I had at the time.

Why does effective goal setting help us achieve goals? What are the characteristics of good goals?

Goals help motivate individuals to develop strategies to enable them to perform and progress towards accomplishing their desired goals (Locke & Latham, 1991). According to Lunenburg (2011), the motivational aspect of goals might, in fact, be affected by moderating variable such as self-efficacy and ability. Meanwhile, Locke and Latham (1991) posited that working towards a specific goal is a major source of motivation, which, in turn, improves progress and individual performance. Effective goal-setting goes according to how one plans out the things that need to be accomplished so that one does not waver from progressing towards achieving our goals. In other words, it helps us understand what we need to do next to achieve our goal. By creating short-term goals, it helps us reach our long-term goals.

The most common method of defining ‘good’ goals can be characterized by the acronym SMART. This essentially means creating goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (Boogaard, 2021). Specific goals are not vague, rather they involve all the details. Measurable goals are easily quantifiable to ensure progress can be tracked. Achievable goals means that they can realistically be achieved or attained. Relevant goals are ones that actually have a benefit to the individual, the goal matters to that particular person. Finally, time-bound goals are ones that have some deadline rather than endlessly continuing on (Boogaard, 2021).

Set three goals: one short-term, one mid-term, and one long-term.

Short-term Goal: To finish this term feeling comfortable with my grades, given the challenges endured during this term and the past year

Mid-term Goal: To grow my professional network in my chosen field of study, whether through internships, practical experiences, and forming connections with other individuals in my field

Long-term Goal: To graduate with a degree


Boogaard, K. (2021). How to write SMART goals. Work Life.

Locke, E.A., & Latham, G.P. (1991). A theory of goal setting and task performance. The Academy of Management Review, 16(2). doi:10.2307/258875

Lunenburg, F.C. (2011). Goal-setting theory of motivation. International Journal of Management, Business, and Administration, 15(1), 1-6.





Avatar photo

By Hanna Robinson

Hanna has won numerous writing awards. She specializes in academic writing, copywriting, business plans and resumes. After graduating from the Comosun College's journalism program, she went on to work at community newspapers throughout Atlantic Canada, before embarking on her freelancing journey.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts