Are your goals SMART, DUMB, or MIA?

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smart, dumb, or mia goalsAre your goals SMART?

The business industry has been teaching the concept of SMART goals most of my business life. Way back when I worked at Ernst & Young, we were teaching the concept of creating SMART goals in our professional development programs. The SMART goal as I learned it is:

  • Specific (defined and clear; simple)
  • Measurable (can measure your results; you know when you get there)
  • Achievable (a stretch but still attainable)
  • Relevant (results-focused and reasonable)
  • Timely (time bound; set a deadline for completion)

DUMB your goals down

The Millionaire Messenger author Brendon Burchard flipped that upside down. Instead of having SMART goals, he suggested that your goals be DUMB. Typically, we assign a negative connotation to the word DUMB. But in this case, it is actually quite positive. As I recall his message, DUMB stands for:

  • Dream driven (man on the moon goals that excite you)
  • Uplifting (positive and compelling; win versus lose; gain versus loss)
  • Method friendly (new practices that lead to living in the goal consistently)
  • Behavior driven (triggers set up to help you accomplish your dream)

Are your goals MIA?

Of course, there is still another approach to the whole goal setting process, and that is to do nothing. Are your goals MIA: missing in action? Do nothing, risk nothing, and gain nothing. If this has been your approach lately, how about making a shift and creating a goal or two instead?

Write down your goals

Many of you may have heard of studies that show how writing down your goals (which you have to create in the first place) makes you much more likely to achieve them.

Earl Nightingale said that “success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal or ideal.” If you want to be successful in achieving your goals, you need to continually pursue them. To pursue them, you have to remember what they are. A great way to remember them is to write them down. (And if you are an author with publishing goals, writing is essential!)

One of the tips I have shared in my previous posts, my Do Behave Course, and my speaking engagements is to write down your primary goals in a green marker on your bathroom mirror. Don’t go crazy and write it all across your reflection, but neatly in the upper left corner going down the “margin.” Use a keyword or phrase to help you remember the goal. This will allow you to review your goals every time you look in the mirror. And when you accomplish a goal, simply wipe it away with a damp paper towel.

You can also write your goals on colored index cards and post them on your bulletin board or a wall in your office or around your home or work area. Use colored cards to stand out with vibrant energy and remind you of how excited you will be when the goal is accomplished. Once complete, you can put a big check mark and the completion date and leave it on the wall to remind you of your success, or put it in your “Success” file to reflect upon when you need encouragement.


You can choose goals that are SMART or DUMB, but I recommend you avoid those that are MIA. You deserve to achieve all of your goals and dreams. Any goals worth achieving are worth writing down. Set goals for yourself so you can move from where you are (even if it is already great there) to where you next can be. If you would like professional guidance, book a private session with me at Also, feel free to share your recent accomplishments with me here in the comments. I would love to celebrate with you!

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Tanya Brockett helps authors, experts, and entrepreneurs to write and edit a book that their readers will love while empowering them to live a life they love. She is a speaker, editor, writer, and mentor to awesome clients around the world. Connect with Tanya on LinkedIn (/TanyaBrockett), on Facebook (/HallagenInk) and through her website at Buy a copy of Tanya’s latest book exclusively at Train with Tanya at


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