If your goal setting “game” is anything like mine,  let’s just say it’s not that good.  I’ve never been the best at setting goals.  I’d make list after list, only to leave most of my goals undone.

However, because I know goal-setting is an important aspect of forward progress, I was determined to become a better “goal setter” and I have 🙂

The more I got into “setting and achieving my goals” the more I learned about the actual art of “goal setting”.  So, quick question – did you know there was a difference between SMART and DUMB goals? No?  I didn’t either.    I’m sure – like myself – you’ve heard of SMART goals before, but this whole “DUMB” goal concept was totally new to me.

I really want to jump right in and tell you all about DUMB goals (well because I’m sure you want to know) but just in case you haven’t heard of SMART goals, let me break that down for you first.  


Okay so,  Mindtools.com says SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

  • A SMART goal is something specific you want to accomplish.  Let’s say you want to launch a successful business.  In order for this goal to be consider SMART you’d want to be very specific about it.  You may ask yourself: what kind of business and why? Is it something you really want or is there something else you could work towards?  Again, the more specific the goal, the SMARTER it is 🙂
  • SMART goals are also Measurable. When you set SMART goals you should be able to track your progress and know when you’ve reached your target.   Going back to the example of wanting to start a successful business, the question would then be, how would you know if your business was successful? To build on your original goal of wanting to start a biz, you can add a measurable component to the goal by saying,  “I want to start a successful jewelry business and make $2000 per month”.  Do you see how this goal is now specific and measurable?
  • SMART goals are also Achievable. These are goals that are realistic and ones you can see your way to accomplishing. For instance, you see your business as being successful if you make at least $2000 but the question is, is this realistic and something you can actually achieve? Maybe based on what your business is, you could reasonably make more or possibly even less
  • SMART goals are Relevant goals.  Relevant goals stem from your  why – the reason you have set the  goal in first place – and they keep you going. Relevant goals are the goals  inspire you to push forward even when things get rough.  Still going along with the jewelry business example, the question would be, “if you weren’t making the desired $2000/month would you still want to continue with your business? …and why?
  • SMART goals are also Time Sensitive.  When setting goals you should have a deadline. You want to be clear about when you want to reach the finish line.  With the example of making $2000 in your business, you’d want to ask yourself when you want to hit that milestone? Can it be done in 3 months? Or 6?

That’s SMART goals in a nutshell, now let’s talk about DUMB Goals.

Let’s face it, the name “DUMB GOALS” implies something that you probably wouldn’t even attempt. DUMB Goals? Like, why would you ever want to set a dumb goal?  At least, that’s what I thought when I first heard of DUMB goals. The concept sounded totally counterproductive, but I was so taken back that I had to go searching to learn more.

Lifehack.org describes DUMB goals as Dangerously Unattainable, Monstrously Big goals.

They are those goals you dream about but aren’t sure if you have what it takes to accomplish them. They get you out of your comfort zone, maybe even do things you never thought you could or would do. DUMB Goals are those goals that usually scare the sh*t out of you. They are the ones you write about in your journal and circle with the phrase: some day.

I’m going back to my successful business example, bear with me. You previously set the goal of making $2000 in let’s say 3 months.  The DUMB Goal approach to this may be to try to achieve $5000 a month instead of $2000.  The interesting thing is that if this was actually your real life scenario, you probably would’ve already thought, “What if I could make $5000?”

When setting your goals, if the thought of making a leap like that, makes your heart clench that is what signals you’re on to your DUMB Goal.  DUMB Goals force you to stretch and grow.  The fun part about setting DUMB goals is that while scary, they usually require you to learn new skills, meet new people and/or go out on a limb to achieve them.

If you’ll allow, I want to share  my personal experience with setting SMART v.s. DUMB goals.

I’ve always been the nerd who everyone thought read too much, but I just ABSOLUTELY love reading and writing.  Of course, and as you can probably imagine,  my  big DUMB goal is to write a novel.

Every time I think about it, I wonder if I have what it takes to do it.  I ask myself,  “Can I stick it out through the countless hours of outlining, writing and editing?”…I wonder if I’ll be able to be brave enough to share my work with someone who will probably pick it apart (I over-think things like this).

Regardless I am committed to getting my work out there.

To start, I thought why not write short stories? They are more manageable. I can finish those in a few weeks. I’ve even already written a few in the span of a few days.  When I set the goal of writing short stories, it was actually my way of setting a SMART goal which is building me up for completing my DUMB goal of writing and publishing a novel. I found this easier than jumping straight into writing a 80,000 word novel.

When it comes to setting goals there’s no right or wrong way to do it. It’s depends on what you are trying to accomplish and what works for you.  If you’ve been the SMART goal setting girl,  maybe it’s time you try setting a DUMB goal.  2017 is the year to go BIG – so why not go for it!

Either way, I’d love to hear where you’re at with your goal setting.  Share with me one SMART Goal and one DUMB Goal that you plan to or recently have set.  Go ahead and drop your goals it in the comments.  I’d love to hear them.

Image Credit: CreateHer Stockphoto

Author: Renee Desuza

Renee DeSuza is the freelance writer and virtual assistant behind DeSuza & Co. She works with savvy bloggers and boss ladies who need help with their businesses. Outside of her business, Renee spends time with her son or catching up on the latest episode of Game of Thrones.

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