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How to set DUMB goals

How to set DUMB goals

5 examples of how to create your own Big, DUMB goal!

You’ve heard of SMART goals, but have you ever heard of DUMB goals? DUMB goals are the anti-SMART goal but in the best way possible. While the name DUMB goal is provocative, DUMB goals are definitely not dumb! In fact,  I think you should start any goal, project, or dream with your big, DUMB goals in mind! Read on for 5 examples of DUMB goals and how to use them to set your own Big, DUMB goals today!

What does DUMB stand for?

Much like SMART is an acronym for specific, measurable, actionable, relevant, and timely (for more on SMART goals, read here), DUMB is also an acronym. DUMB stands for dream-driven, uplifting, method-driven, and behavior triggered. The following is a breakdown of each:

DUMB goals are dream-driven, uplifitng, method-driven, and behavior-triggered.
DUMB Goal Acronym
  • Dream-Driven: If you could snap your fingers and your greatest dream were to come true, that’s the beginning of a DUMB goal. Think of these types of goals as 5-year or 10-year goals. They are still based in some sort of reality, but they are YOUR dream.) While SMART goals can bring us down to the here and now, DUMB goals allow us to think big, dream of the future, and imagine what could be possible with time and effort.
  • Uplifting: These goals are inspiring. Thinking about this goal, imagining it, and talking about it excites you. Your face lights up. You can’t wait to dive in.
  • Method-Driven: Having a big, DUMB goal is not magic. There still must be a method to the madness. You still need to build a plan (usually a series of smaller SMART goals) in order to help you reach your Big, DUMB goal!
  • Behavior-Tiggered: This goal will not happen without some change or modification in your behavior. DUMB goals are big and audacious, but they can only be achieved through a focused change of behavior. 
How to set DUMB goals. D stands for Dream Driven
DUMB goals are Dream-Driven

5 examples of how to set DUMB goals:

The following are 5 examples of Big, DUMB goals and how to set your own Big, DUMB goals. These are purely just examples used to illustrate, and maybe loosely based on my own Big, DUMB goals 🤪. Your Big, DUMB goal may not be as big as these, or they may be even bigger. Whatever your goals, starting with a DUMB goal gives a great outline and starting off point to start building your plan of action.

DUMB goals are uplifting
DUMB goals are uplifting

“I want to have a completely organized house.”

  • D– The dream is to have a completely organized, efficient, and organized house.
  • U– This dream is uplifting because of the feeling of calm and order that will be achieved.
  • M– One method is to declutter and organize one small space at a time in order to reach the goal.
  • B– The behavior needed will be to build in 15 minutes a day of decluttering. (NOTE: there could be a different method. You may need to hire a professional organizer or you may do a complete overhaul in a month. Remember, these are just examples. You will need to choose your method and needed behaviors based on your time, resources, and abilities. To read more about using SMART and DUMB goals for organization, click here.)

“I want to start a business that replaces my 9-5 income.”

  • D– The dream is to have a business doing something that you enjoy that makes enough money to replace a 9-5 job working for someone else. 
  • U– This dream is uplifting because you could make your own schedules, create products that you love, and build a brand that you are excited about.
  • M– The method will be to start little by little. You will need to figure out how to scale your business to the point where you are able to fully replace your income and quit your current job.
  • B– You will need to create more hours in the day to work on your business. You may have to work extra hours for a season in order to build the business to the desired level.
DUMB goals are method-driven
DUMB goals are method-driven

“I want to travel to 60 countries by the time I’m 60 years old.”

  • D– The dream is to travel and get 60 different stamps on your passport by the time you are 60 years old. 
  • U– This is uplifting if you love to travel and experience new places and try new things. 
  • M– The method is quite simple. You will need to budget time, money, and resources to make this happen. You will need to create a plan and a budget, and then measure that against your life circumstances (health, age, monetary resources, etc.) 
  • B– Your behavior toward this goal will depend on the method above. If you find that you do not have the budget necessary, you will have to increase work hours. If your health is an issue, you may need to make travel plans that accommodate impaired health. If you do not have the time to go to each country individually, you may need to come up with an itinerary to see as many countries as possible in the time you have.

“I want to write a book”

  • D– The dream is to be a published author.
  • U– This would be uplifting as a wonderful accomplishment in life.
  • M– You would need to make a plan for the book. What are you going to write about? How many chapters do you need? What is your plan for writing? 
  • B– The behavior needed is committing to doing the work. If you’ve never written before, this might be a big change in behavior. If you are a current writer, it may mean that you have to change how often you already write or change your focus for a season.
DUMB goals are behavior-triggered.
DUMB goals are behavior-triggered

“I want to run a marathon.”

  • D– This is a huge physical feat that takes much preparation and training
  • U– This goal is uplifting because it would show someone that they are capable of hard things and able to work hard for their goals
  • M– This is a great example of a Big, DUMB goal that needs a plan. Not many people can just pick up and run 26 miles without training. IF you are not already a conditioned runner you will need to create a series of steps to help you reach your goal.
  • B– The behavior will simply be to do the training. If you are not currently working out, you would need to build it into your routine and make time. If you currently have time for working out, you may need to change your focus. 

What Big, DUMB goals do you have? What do you think about using DUMB goals for your own goal-setting process? Try the DUMB goal method to set your own Big, DUMB goals and let me know in the comments how it goes! If you need a FREE planner to help you get started, make sure to download my FREE goal planner now.


Happy Organizing, Y’all!

9 Responses

  1. What great examples! And how fun to read about your “audacious” goals. I am sure you will accomplish all of them because you have the dream, are excited about them, and have the plan to bring them to fruition. Along the way, I know you will inspire others to reach for their BIG goals. Way to go, Jana!

  2. I LOVE THIS! I totally get the principle behind SMART GOALS – if you can’t measure it, how do you know whether you’ve succeeded? – but they’ve rarely served to motivate me, especially if it’s not a business-related goal.

  3. I love the way you went through various examples here. That really helps me see how they work.

    I think it would be fun to talk over dinner about what goals might make us “light up,” the uplifting goals. I used to have a long list of these, but I find as I get older, I have fewer. Makes me wonder if I’m still allowing myself to dream.

    Fun post.

  4. I love the DUMB goal approach. SMART goals are great, but they don’t usually feel very inspirational. SMART goals, in fact, can feel robotic and joyless to anyone who doesn’t get excited or energized by clocks and calendars and checklists. (I usually do, but my clients definitely don’t.)

    DUMB goals are, as you said, uplifting, and I appreciate that you illustrate that SMART goals really are the stepping stones to the method-driven aspect. I love how you walked through so many disparate examples to make this come alive!

  5. Thank you for the 5 examples of DUMB goals. I like the “U” uplifting. Too often goals are set that we think we should do and then we are not successful. If it is uplifting then the goal is easier to want to keep working at and it is easier to be successful.

  6. Great post! I had no idea there were other types of goal-setting strategies apart from SMART. Learning all the time 🙂 Pinned it for later, definitely gonna use the strategy, I have so many big dreams that I never thought of turning them into goals. So you have just inspired the heck out of me! Thank you!

  7. This is great! I love all the examples, it really shows how DUMB goals can apply in all kinds of situations!

    My favorite part is the behavior-driven part. Achieving goals is all about taking small actions that build to a greater place. Awesome!

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Jana Arevalo- Declutter Coach, The Organized Military Life

Hello! I'm Jana

Hi! I’m Jana! I have been a military spouse for 18 years, and I am experienced when it comes to PCS moves, organizing new spaces, and creating more efficient systems for my family. I understand the feeling of anxiety and overwhelm that can come with clutter, and that’s why I love helping military spouses, busy moms and small business owners declutter and organize their homes, digital lives and paperwork!

I am an Amazon Associate as well as an affiliate with Share-a-Sale and List & File, Military Life Binders. I receive a small commission (at no cost to you!) if you purchase through my links. Thank you!


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