Setting Some DUMB Goals


Brendon Burchard Video

As I’ve worked to get back on my game the past few months I have gotten caught up in checking “to-dos” off my list. I have a reputation at work as being a very productive person and while everyone understood why I wasn’t as productive for several months, I’ve been trying to rebuild that reputation. The reality is, I never lost that reputation with others, only myself. I response I’ve spent too much time trying to check things off of my to do list while not being particularly strategic about the bigger picture. I’ve been living too much day-to-day, which I needed to do while in the middle of my recent depressive episode, but now I want to be looking more long-term.

I’ve had some ideas kicking around in my head, but now I’m trying to pull them together into the form of some goals. A few years ago, my friend D’Arcy shared a video on Twitter that he’d seen that ended up having a larger impact on my life than I think he could have imaged. 

The video, “How NOT to Set Goals” was in black and white, a bit more than 12 minutes long, and the way it was edited together was really bad, but what the speaker was saying really struck a chord for me and this is what started me watching videos, listening to podcasts, and reading books by Brendon Burchard.

In the video Burchard argues that instead of setting SMART goals (Specific. Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based), we should try to set DUMB goals. DUMB, in this case, is an acronym for:

  • Dream-driven – this is a goal that I want, a goal that connects to the life I want to live
  • Uplifting – this is a goals that inspires me, and my quest for it may also inspire others
  • Method-friendly – are there ways that I can practice to achieve this goal, ways to grow and learn and master what I need to achieve this goal
  • Behaviour triggered – are there things that I can use to regularly remind me to do what I need to do to move toward my goal

I’m going to use this idea to plan out two goals – one health related and one career focused.

Goal 1 – Get back to feeling as fit and energetic as I did in the months prior to my depression:

  • Dream-driven – I loved how I was feeling and want to feel that again. I want to use that energy and health to fully enjoy my life.
  • Uplifting – I’m thinking about how great I’m going to feel shooting hoops with my daughter, setting a good example for her.
  • Method-friendly – I’m returning to being diligent about being mindful of what I eat, and what media and thoughts I’m letting into my space.
  • Behaviour triggered – Use the reminders on my watch about drinking enough water and moving, leave myself notes (bathroom mirror, desk at work) about the goal and what behaviours will help me reach it.

Goal 2 – Launch a Better Me podcasts by the end of this year

  • Dream-driven – I want to grow an audience for Better Me so that I can inspire others, help them to get through the challenges that life throws at all of us.
  • Uplifting – I get such a charge when I share what I’ve learned and other people say “thanks, that helps”.
  • Method-friendly – I have skills and experience, now I’m learning more about how to create a podcast by reading, watching videos, and practicing. I’m not worried that it won’t be great at the start. Burchard acknowledges that his videos weren’t great at the start,
  • Behaviour triggered – I write a blog post idea every day, and now I’ll write a podcast idea write after that.

And now that I’ve shared these goals with you, I’ve added another aspect of goal setting, accountability, that has been shown to help the person setting it achieve what they’re after. I’m shared these goals with all of you so if I don’t at least put the effort into achieving them, I’ll have people who will know that, which isn’t something I want to happen.

By the way, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with setting SMART short-term goals as part of achieving your DUMB long-term goals. Find what works for you, but try to remember that if you don’t care about the goal, if it doesn’t inspire you, you’ll likely lack the motivation to get it done.

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