Aim High, Dream Big: A not-so-D-U-M-B look at setting goals | Local

Win the Week is now Aim High, Dream Big. The name change reflects what I hope you’ll get out of reading this column: Inspiration and insights to think outside the box when it comes to your career, life’s work, goals, priorities and dreams. During each column, I’ll share the challenges and successes from my experiences as well as insights from the successful mentors that lead, guide and inspire me every day.

Take the D-U-M-B approach to S-M-A-R-T goals.

Before you goal-setting types get mad at me, let me explain.  

The S-M-A-R-T approach for goal setting has been evangelized greatly since George T. Duran, a consultant and former director of corporate planning for Washington Water Power Co., introduced it in a November 1981 paper.

S-M-A-R-T is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. Let’s take a goal we have all made: to lose weight. The S-M-A-R-T approach encourages people to make goals that meet the five criteria above. The Specific criteria asks the person to make a goal that has a target, such as “I want to lose 20 pounds by Christmas 2018.”

Then you would ask, “Is it Measurable?” In order to reach that goal by the end of the year, I have five months, which would mean I need to lose 4 pounds per month. Check.

“Is it Attainable?” That answer depends on you, your motivation, your drive to get it done. But let’s assume the answer is yes. “Is it Realistic?” Can a person lose 4 pounds in 30 days? Yes, your doctor would likely agree that this is an acceptable, if not too easy, goal to set for yourself.

And finally, “Is it Timely or Time-Related?” This sounds like it can happen in the next five months.

The approach assumes that if you worked through that checklist, you could feasibly and safely reach your intended goal.

But here’s what the S-M-A-R-T approach doesn’t ask: Is the above goal scenario in any way inspiring to you? Are you completely passionate about losing 4 pounds a month?  

In other words, the goal as defined may be feasible, but without any passion or inspiration, you can lose steam quickly.

In a world of chaos and busyness, we often lose sight of our dreams. They get buried among all of the endless responsibilities — parenting, work, stress, family, obligations, health, finance and so on.

Let’s think about goals in a different matter. It’s time to get D-U-M-B with our goals. But it’s not what you think. I learned this goal-setting process from the famous inspirational speaker, author and productivity master, Brendon Burchard. I got permission from his team to share them with you.

D-U-M-B stands for Dream-driven (or Dream-focused); Uplifting; Method-based; and Behavior-triggered.

Let’s stick with the goal to lose 20 pounds by Christmas. Weight-loss goals tend to focus on a deficit one has — in this case, how much excess weight you have on your body.

The first part of D-U-M-B, being Dream-driven, takes the goal from “lose 20 pounds by Christmas” to “I can’t wait to feel so vibrant and fit, that when I put on this dress for our holiday party, I will feel like a beautiful woman!” or, for the men, “When I can fit into my favorite jeans from five years ago, I’ll take my wife out country dancing with friends and we can make some great memories.”  

When you change the perspective of the goal from an obligation to something that inspires you to see the end result, it’s easier to buy into the idea of reaching that goal.

Next question: “Is this goal Uplifting?” Seeing the vision of that new dress or laughing with your spouse as you remember how to dance the two-step is much more uplifting than getting on the scale after two weeks and seeing 1 pound gone.

The next part of this approach asks, “Is it Method-based, by the means or method to reach that goal?” Is there a weight-loss program that you know has worked for others that you haven’t tried already? Is there one daily meal you could change to a protein shake that gets you better nutrition and makes the process easier? How about trying kickboxing or another martial art? This aspect of the process encourages you to find a method that works for your style and try it out, no excuses!  

Finally, we reach the B in D-U-M-B: Behavior triggers. Here, you focus on a new behavior that would help you reach your goal. When you drop off the kids at school, you go straight to the gym for cardio and weights. Or you may opt to go straight to the store and get fresh produce for dinner, ensuring that you have a healthy food each day.

Another example of a behavior trigger is something the late Wayne Dyer, a popular motivational speaker, did every morning. He would wake up, and as soon as his feet hit the floor, he would find three to five things to be grateful for. He would then repeat two words out loud, “Thank You … thank you … thank you.” That led to a daily gratitude practice that changed his life.

Found this goal-setting approach useful? Check out more from Brendon Burchard in his book “High Performance Habits.” That book has changed the way that I work, think, and dream.

If you’d like more ideas on goal-setting, dream-building and living the life you love, please email [email protected]. See you next time!

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