Tag Archives: personal goals

I have DUMB goals

I am officially declaring 2013 to be the year of renewal for the Fat Lady Household.  This will be the year where I gather all of the dharmic post-it notes together and apply the information toward myself and those around me.  Resolutions be damned, I’m going to pay attention to what matters – DOING instead of writing about my plans. Actually, let’s trade out some words here.  Instead of resolutions, I’m going to call them ‘goals’ because that is what they are.  The term ‘resolution’ is used in legal terms and at the beginning of the New Year.  Goals can be pursued and gain merit at any time of the year. 
You’ve most likely heard about SMART goals.  You might have even used SMART goals in the past, hopefully accomplishing them in the process.  Let’s take a closer look at SMART goals.

SMART goals are:
Specific – Goals that answer who, what, when, where, and why
Measurable – Goals which create specific criteria for success or failure
Attainable – Goals which are important, that you’re passionate about.
Realistic – Goals which you’re ready, willing, and able to complete.
Timely – Goals which are centered on a specific time frame.
These types of goals are extremely good with painting the larger picture.  They help you establish strategies and general direction.  Where these goals failed for me was in the small details. 
For instance, a SMART goal is, “I will weigh 150 pounds by December 31, 2013. I will do this by eating two servings of vegetables a day, exercising twice a week, and avoiding all refined sugars.  I want to complete this goal because I am tired of the way that my body feels, and I wish to change that.” 
SMART goals place arbitrary pressure on a person to complete that goal.  Making your strategy bound by time has never been effective for me, because it makes me realize that I have time and it gives me the opportunity to slack off on the overall direction because I think, “I have 100 days.  I can afford to eat this giant pizza and still make my goal.”  Conversely, that time constraint devalues the objective – if you become a Nobel Prize winner in 2014 instead of 2013, does that make the Nobel Prize any less valuable?
I’m tired of being smart. Instead of SMART goals, I’m looking at DUMB goals.

DUMB goals are:
Doable – The goal itself must not violate any laws of nature.  For instance, no matter how hard I work on it, I’m not able to levitate. 
Unique – The goal must be singular, or a unique instance.  This does not mean that you cannot have the same goal which someone else has, it just means that within your field of goals, this one is unique.  
Meaningful – The goal must be meaningful to you and you alone.  You have a lower likelihood of actually doing something if there’s no power and passion behind doing the activity.
Bite-Sized – You can accomplish the goal within 24 hours.
Why do this? It’s the difference between strategy and tactics. A strategy is the ultimate end which you wish to accomplish.  A tactic is the baby step along the way which is used to achieve the overall strategy.  For example, your strategy is to grow your client base by 4000%.  Your tactic would be to send a thank you note to every customer.
I’m suggesting that around a SMART goal, you should develop a lot of little DUMB goals.  The day-to-day tactics are what matter.  These are what will get you closer to the overall goal of weighing 150 pounds.  Successfully completing one of the DUMB goals will get you closer to the SMART goal.  DUMB goals pave the path for my general direction.  DUMB goals are actionable and immediate.  I need that.  I need to know what I can do right NOW, because having some pie-in-the-sky SMART goal doesn’t inspire me.
When you use the two together, you can achieve amazing things because you have both pieces of the puzzle in place.  You might wish to be SMART, but I’ll choose DUMB every time.  What do you think?
As a note, this post is crossposted over at Million Ways to Save