Goal Setting Part 1: SMART Goals vs DUMB Goals

As business owners and achievers, you’ve no doubt been accustomed to goal setting. Whether you realize it or not, you’ve probably been setting goals (achieving or missing them) since before you got into business!

In fact, opening a business was once a very broad goal for you, and look at you now! A business owner!

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Goal attained!

The idea of SMART goals has been pushed into the personal and professional development worlds for years. Have you heard of this acronym? In case you haven’t - here is the SMART goals are:

S – Specific

M – Measurable

A – Attainable

R – Relevant

T – Time-bound

This seems like a good outline for goal setting, right? I thought so! And I am huge into personal and professional development. I love setting goals and then hitting them. SMART goal setting was my guide for that.

But then, one of my favorite, go-to leaders in the professional development world - Brendon Burchard - boldly claimed to FORGET about SMART goals.

burchard claimed that SMART goals are not what the world needs. He says, YOU - the seeker, the game-changer, the achiever  - should set DUMB goals instead.

I’m sorry… what???


DUMB goals:

D – Dream-Driven

U – Uplifting

M – Method-Friendly

B – Behavior-Driven

Burchard says goals should be about a VISION for our lives, not just small daily tasks. He says we need to “dream big again and get our heads out of our to-dos.” He wants us to think BIGGER. To dream. To feel inspired. Joyous. Lifted up by these goals. 

Was walking on the moon a SMART GOAL? No, it was seen as impossible for many years… it wasn’t attainable, which wouldn’t qualify it as a SMART goal! But, imagine using the SMART goal guideline when dreaming of landing on the moon. This goal would have never happened if all these dreamers stuck to what was attainable and time-bound.

Burchard also says that a good goal will allow us to create “methods and practices that help us move toward them. If we can’t build a practice around it, then we don’t have a goal. We have a task.” This was a HUGE ah-ha moment for me:


Goals vs. TASKS.

Lastly, Burchard reminds us that in order to go after a goal and not lose motivation for it, that we need to be able to create a behavior TRIGGER that reminds us that we want it.  Burchard has famously said in many of his talks or interviews that one of his life goals is to bring joy wherever he goes. He uses doorways as his trigger. Yes, that’s right: doorways. Whenever he walks through a doorway he says to himself, “Bring the joy.”

Doorways as a trigger. - Who knew?!?!

If you want to hear more about what Brendon has to say about DUMB goals, check out this YouTube Video:

Now that you know what kind of goals we should be setting, in part two we will discuss WHY as business owners goal setting is important to implement.

We want to know your thoughts on SMART vs DUMB Goals! Did this resonate with you?