Are DUMB Goals Better Than SMART Goals? Brendon Burchard Thinks So.

If you’ve ever read anything related to achievement, motivation or personal development, you’ve no doubt come across the idea of Goal Setting. More often than not, the conversation revolves around setting SMART goals. This is an acronym for goals that are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-Bound

Have you ever heard of DUMB goals? I hadn’t until I watched this video from Brendon Burchard, a public speaker and best-selling author of the recently released book, The Motivation Manifesto.  

In this video, Brendon says that our focus on SMART goals limits us to setting “realistic” goals that fail to inspire the human spirit. Instead, he suggests, we should set our sights much higher and focus on “moonshot” goals. Think changing the world. Think putting a man on the moon. Think serving millions of people.

Think DUMB Goals. According to Brendon, these are goals that are:

  • Dream-Driven
  • Uplifitng
  • Method-Friendly
  • Behavior-Driven

I have mixed feelings on this. There’s no doubt that Brendon is an amazing public speaker. As I watched the video, I could feel the energy surging through my body. That alone was well worth the 12 minutes it took to watch the video.

Still, his suggestion to establish unrealistic, “moonshot” goals doesn’t sit right with me. I agree that we need to set goals that inspire us to take consistent, daily action and persevere through the inevitable challenges and setbacks. But my experience and research tells me setting goals that are too far out of reach is – for most people – a recipe for failure.

But that’s just me. What’s your take on it?

Productive Writers Don’t Reach for Excuses When the Going Gets Hard


“Productive writers don’t reach for excuses when the going gets hard. They treat writing like the job it is. They show up, punch the clock, and punch out. Nothing romantic about it. They give themselves a quota; sometimes it’s butt-in-chair time, sometimes a word count. Simple math allows you to figure out how quickly 1000 words a day adds up to a book-length work. These writers know how to use deadlines, whether external or self-imposed, to stay on track.”

From “The Habits of Highly Productive Writers” by Rachel Toor

The Science of Perseverance: How Your Mindset Strengthens (or Weakens) Your Motivation

Persevere: To persist steadfastly in pursuit of an undertaking, task, journey, or goal, even if hindered by distraction, difficulty, obstacles, or discouragement.

First, the bad news. When it comes to creating change in your life or achieving your goals, it probably won’t be easy. You may struggle. It’ll likely take longer than you expect. It’s almost certain that you’ll have setbacks and short-term failures along the way. Especially when it involves creating new habits, developing new skills or learning new concepts. This helps explain why most people fail to achieve their New Years’s resolutions.

How I Overcame TV Addiction, Reclaimed My Life and Gained Two Extra Months Per Year

“Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon? Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” – Mary Oliver

I have no way to prove this, but I’m sure it’s true: nobody on their deathbed ever wished they’d spent more time watching TV. That’s mainly why we no longer own a television. Life is short, and there are far too many activities that are more important and fulfilling than sitting in front of a television for hours on end. That’s not to suggest you should eliminate television from your life completely. But over the last few years, I’ve come to see it as something that’s best placed at the edge of life, rather than the center.

Annie Dillard on Living With Intention

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing. A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days. It is a scaffolding on which a worker can stand and labor with both hands at sections of time. A schedule is a mock-up of reason and order — willed, faked, and so brought into being; it is a peace and a haven set into the wreck of time; it is a lifeboat on which you find yourself, decades later, still living. Each day is the same, so you remember the series afterward as a blurred and powerful pattern.”

From The Writing Life, by Annie Dillard