Forget S.M.A.R.T. Goals – Set D.U.M.B. Goals Instead

It’s time to dream!  It’s time to create your vision of your ideal life so that the path to reach it can unfold effortlessly.  It’s time to set the power of Future Pull in motion.  This will be fun.  Are you ready?

I know that this process works.  I’ve seen it work with many people and I’ve experienced it myself.  I’ve already described my first successes with the Ideal Day process, when I first started using it and created that clear vision of my future home, dog, vehicle and business.  But what about all those people who set goals and work so diligently and fail to accomplish what they set out to do? Perhaps you’ve found that yourself.

Twenty-five years ago when I first started exploring the concepts I’m presenting here, I taught various techniques for goal-setting, decision-making, stress management and time management.  Some worked and some were disappointing failures.

The usual model for setting and achieving life goals back in those days was something called S.M.A.R.T.  This was an acronym, still in use today, that meant goals must be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-defined.  I would go through the accepted process of helping people to come up with realistic, achievable and measurable goals and then to set smaller objectives and timelines for achievement.  It was often frustrating to me to see people who were really committed and hard-working, with good hearts and good intentions, setting goals that were S.M.A.R.T. and plowing towards them relentlessly – and failing.

On the other hand, sometimes I would have clients who would refuse to be what I saw as ‘realistic’ and, instead of setting S.M.A.R.T. goals, would resolutely, against my advice, set D.U.M.B. goals.  Dogged, Unusual, Mindless, but totalled Believed-In goals.  And they would achieve them.  In fact, sometimes the circumstances would be amazing or even miraculous.  Synchronicity would happen.  Coincidences would occur.  Opportunities would fall into place.  And those silly clients who were blindly committed to their dream would achieve things that just seemingly were unachievable.

I felt like a failure myself when I was going by the book, guiding clients through the S.M.A.R.T. process and watching them try so hard, work so hard, and fail miserably.  I wanted to help.  What made it even more difficult for me, and I’m sure for them as well, was that I was one of those people who had seemingly impossible dreams ‘just happening’.  Yes, I was one of those dreamers who set D.U.M.B. goals and achieved them, while trying to convince others that they needed to be S.M.A.R.T.  If I could do it for myself, why couldn’t I help others.

I had one friend in particular that I cared about very much and I watched him struggle and strive toward his goals.  No one could have worked harder!  In spite of physical and emotional stress and challenges he persevered and worked endlessly every single day.  It was like he was struggling up an endless mountain with a heavy pack on his back, slipping back every few steps on loose rocks.  He never made progress but always kept trying.  He was the essence of S.M.A.R.T. and it just didn’t work.  Why not?

I started to take a good look at those who achieved dreams, even amazing dreams, against all odds and sometimes without a great deal of struggle.  I compared them with people who set goals by the book, laid out their objectives, set tasks to accomplish them and did all the things they needed to do when they needed to do it.  I discovered the key to achieving your dreams without effort.

Remember, my first Ideal Day and how it all came true?  Well it didn’t ALL come true.  My first Ideal Day had me living on the West coast by the ocean.  Since I had family and friends on Vancouver Island who wanted me to move there, that wouldn’t even have been an unrealistic goal to aspire to, but I didn’t achieve it.  So why did I not achieve it?  That was the one part of my Ideal Day that didn’t come to pass.  Looking back, I believe it was because I was conflicted about it.  It wasn’t really my dream – it was the dream of my friends and family that I had assumed.

I like living by water.  In fact, I live right by the largest inland lake in the world.  Because my friends and family were on the coast, I was trying to incorporate that into the vision of my future that I was creating.  But the problem was, there were some real negatives for me about living out there.  I didn’t like the idea of living on an island, with ferry line-ups to get to the mainland, too much family (which can definitely be a plus or a minus), and earthquakes! And then the big one – my son would be all the way across the country!  When you are conflicted about your dreams, when they are other people’s dreams rather than your own, the pull isn’t there and you probably won’t achieve them.

The other key as to whether your dream is powerful enough to pull you is whether you believe you can have it or believe you deserve it.  The belief and intent have to be whole-hearted, not buried in doubt, for it to pull you.

If you set the goal of winning the lottery, and you focus on that and use all of the tools introduced in this guide, you may still have an inkling of doubt about your ability to really win the lottery.  After all, you hear the odds all the time.  You’ve bought tickets before and won nothing.  I’ve already mentioned that the odds of winning a lottery of over $15 million are lower than your odds of being struck by lightning.  These thoughts are enough of a wet blanket to douse your flame of intent and destroy the power of Future Pull.

If you set a goal for yourself that you don’t really believe you deserve or are worthy of, the same thing happens.  You may set that goal and try to keep your eye on it but if, in your heart, you believe that you are aspiring too high, you subconsciously lower your sights.  You are no longer focused on your dream.  You are looking down and have distracted yourself from your real dream. I believe that was the problem for my friend.  He didn’t really believe he deserved the outcome he was striving for and he let his focus waver.

Tomorrow:  Dream!


About futurepull

I'm a dreamweaver, a sorcerer, co-creator of this brilliant and exciting adventure of life. We're here for the experience, why not make it fun? Try new things, build castles and live in them, paint your future, become friends with eagles and flamingos and iguanas, make a million and give it away. Your future is limited only by your imagination.
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17 Responses to Forget S.M.A.R.T. Goals – Set D.U.M.B. Goals Instead

  1. Interesting concept about the inner conflict tugging against the smart goal; great point to be aware of the necessary inner work before attacking the outer tasks on behalf of the goal.

  2. futurepull says:

    Yes I think the inner conflict (beliefs about yourself, or the goal, or the odds) creates a huge barrier when trying to create change. I think that’s one of the main reasons people have trouble manifesting abundance and prosperity. I know that of all my goals, the only ones that never came to pass were those where I was conflicted. The other day I also spoke to the friend I mentioned in the post who worked so hard to achieve his goals, constantly falling short, in my opinion because he didn’t feel he deserved it. His life is dramatically different now and it may well be because he didn’t set any goal for what he is now doing, he just was willing to follow his heart and his gut and the signs that the Universe sent him.

  3. Lynn Baillie says:

    All through my corporate days I had to use SMART for my own goals and those of my staff. I thought they worked quite well. However I was most interested to read your take on the DUMB approach that has worked well for some and I can see why. Your article has certainly given me a different approach to consider.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


    • futurepull says:

      You know, it’s not easy coming up with acronyms! LOL D.U.M.B. probably took me weeks! In the corporate world, I think there’s a place for S.M.A.R.T. goals. Let’s face it, most of us, when we have to produce a bit of work, would have a hard time coming up with a really heart-felt commitment to it and we still need to know exactly when someone is going to finish their part of a project, especially if there are co-dependencies. But when it comes to life goals and aspirations, I think we sometimes have to let go of what we think is possible and just go with the really heart-centred vision. Don’t get me wrong, I think one of the problems with the Secret was that it made it sound like this was all there was too it. I still think you have to take action and I will be talking about that part in an upcoming post. Thanks for your comment Lynn

  4. SV says:


    This is certainly a different way of achieving goals. All of us are madly behind SMART and we try to just follow the rules.

    Iam sure going to give the DUMB method a try on a new project that Iam taking up and hoping to see myself coming out with flying colors.

    thanks, SV

    • futurepull says:

      Thanks for commenting SV. I sure hope the project is your very own and you are all excited about it. That’s crucial.

  5. Pingback: My DUMB Goals | Cathy's Voice Now

  6. I was directed here from Cathy’s Voice and just had to comment. I am going to cut and paste the comment I wrote on her blog, here:

    Oh my goodness…I love the idea of DUMB goals because the concept of SMART goals always made me grit my teeth! I have come to understand that formulas (like SMART goals) doesn’t work for me…perhaps I have a bit of ADHD, perhaps I am just not wired that way. And as it pertains to writing, I have a good example. It was in seventh grade that I decided I wanted to be a writer. Back then (and even today) I imagined the process of writing a book. I would see myself sit down in front of a typewriter (or with a journal) and I type: “Page 1.” And then nothing. I couldn’t see beyond that. Over the course of my life I have made a good living as a writer (mostly as a plastics industry trade magazine reporter/editor). I have freelanced for years and have been published. But it wasn’t until I started my blog that I truly started to feel like a “real” writer. And the more I wrote, the more I started to see that I had the basis of a book. It wasn’t about having an outline and a SMART goal. It was about sitting down every day and writing. I didn’t have to type “Page 1″ and then worry about what would come next. I published my book in March of 2011 and I am doing well with it.

    • futurepull says:

      thanks for sharing that. I am very very ADD and I certainly understand exactly what you are saying. Isn’t it great to have a book out there?

  7. Cheri says:

    I like this approach; going to have to do some thinking and see how it applies to my life. BTW, my husband laughs at me because I tell him all the time that I fully believe I will win the lottery one day–now if I could just figure out how to make that destiny happen fairly soon. 😉

  8. The final paragraph describes me perfectly: “If you set a goal for yourself that you don’t really believe you deserve or are worthy of, the same thing happens. You may set that goal and try to keep your eye on it but if, in your heart, you believe that you are aspiring too high, you subconsciously lower your sights. You are no longer focused on your dream. You are looking down and have distracted yourself from your real dream. I believe that was the problem for my friend. He didn’t really believe he deserved the outcome he was striving for and he let his focus waver.”

    Quite the obstacle I’ve set for myself and truly have no clue how to overcome it or set it aside.

    Thanks for this.
    Be well,

    • futurepull says:

      Kina, there are several possible ways to deal with this, depending on what exactly is the issue. If you think the goal is unrealistic or just too big, start a little smaller. As you achieve smaller goals, your belief in your ability and your confidence will increase and you can start to raise your sights. If you feel that you are unworthy of your dream, then you need to do some inside work to recognize your worth and your place in the Universe. You are just as worthy of whatever it is you can dream of as anyone else. You are part of the Universe, just like the stars, the sun, any body else in the Universe and you are absolutely perfect just the way you are. The problem is that we start to believe all the CRAP that we are fed and sometimes get off track for a little while. But deep down inside you are still that sparkling piece of universal beauty and power. The good thing is that you can fake it till you make it (coming up in future posts) and as you fake it, you will start to realize that you are just fine the way you are, just as worthy as anyone else, and just as powerful as anyone else..

      • It’s definitely internal and layers of self-doubt, etc. Been trying to work on and through it for a while now. It will happen . . . it is happening. That’s why we’re connecting now. So, it is good, even when it’s not, if that makes sense.

  9. Dan Jones says:

    Planning is critical. we work with cancer sufferers, people battling depression and people needing serious motivation and having a good plan is so important.

  10. Pingback: Start of the 31 Day Blog Challenge | Future Pull

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