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Goals - Dumb, Hard, or Smart

belief coaching confidence competence goals high performance habits organization self doubt Jan 07, 2023
How to achieve the Goals you set

I am not saying goals are dumb, but setting them and abandoning them is and will make you dumber or at least damage your trust and belief in yourself. 

Quitting on goals over and over again essentially cripples the dopamine motivation and reward mechanism in your brain. 

Meaning that resolutions should not be taken lightly. Commitment is a big deal.

Quitting on things that you say you are going to do messes with your neurotransmitters and leads to lingering doubt which affects your ability to reach your goals.

Refresher - dopamine is involved in motivation and reward, and "*low levels of dopamine*"  have been linked to a lack of motivation and difficulty sticking to goals.    **"Dopamine deficiency- a myth?" will be a separate topic soon*"

Also, Serotonin is involved in mood regulation and may be related to feelings of self-doubt.

But setting goals is not dumb but you should look at DUMB before going HARD and getting too SMART with your goals.

These 3 acronyms provide a different framework for setting and achieving goals, and different people will gravitate to the approach that they find most helpful.

The important thing is to find a method that works for you and helps you to stay motivated and focused.

D U M B  is:

🥇 Define the Dream: Start with dreaming big. Then clearly define your goals, including what you want to achieve and why it is important to you.

🥇 Uplifting and Understandable: Set inspiring, positive, joyous, uplifting goals AND Understand the challenges and opportunities that you may face in going after them.

🥇 Measure and Method: Determine how you will track your progress and measure your success. And create a method or practice around it.

🥇 Behavior and Belief: Set up behavioral triggers or cues and believe in yourself and your ability to achieve your goals.

H A R D  is:

🦾 Heartfelt: The more emotionally attached we are to our goals, the higher the likelihood that we’ll achieve them.

🦾 Animated: Visualize what you are going after. The more you replay the “movie” of your vision, the more urgency you create, and the closer you will get to achieving your goal.

🦾 Required. The more urgency you have around what you’re working toward, the more likely you are to get it. Don’t procrastinate. What is the one specific thing you need to do today to keep you on course for achieving a big goal?

🦾 Difficult. Necessity is the mother of invention. Don’t shy away from goals that seem out of reach. Make your goals stretch you. If you are guaranteed to reach the goals it was just another to-do on your list.

S M A R T  is: 

I feel everyone knows this one by now. This is from separate Doran and Locke papers in the 1960's looking to measure organizational performance. If you need a review they are - Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.


Acronyms are cool and all but really it is the spirit of the goal-setting that matters.

What HARD and DUMB add to SMART is combining the big and the small, the emotional and the rational, the abstract and the concrete.

In doing so they point to the necessity to make goals agile and incremental. Because progress is progress even if you miss the deadline. We are not organizations but rather organisms living in our own complex ecosystem. 

TLDR -Here is my quick takeaway.

⚡️ Set big abstract goals (dream big) to give direction as to which smaller tasks should be achieved.

⚡️ Make goals inspiring and emotional, even if their attainment is uncertain.

⚡️ Make goals agile and measurable; build in iterations.

⚡️ Share goals, have support and accountability, and if possible assemble a team.

Didn't find what you were looking for in this article? No worries! Reach me below and I will be able to assist you with any questions.

Contact Jerome Craig

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