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Most people who have been involved in leadership or coaching would be aware of SMART goals.

The acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely and if your goals meet these criteria, you are on the right track.

Alternatively, there are DUMB goals.

These are the unhelpful goals that I see people setting for themselves or their organisations far too often.

What does DUMB stand for?

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You don’t just buy a plane ticket to Nepal and casually run up to the summit of Mount Everest.

If you do, you will fail.

So, before you climb Everest, you need to:

  • Practice on and overcome smaller peaks first.
  • Train incessantly until your skills are elite.
  • Get yourself a support team to help you on your way.
  • Find mentors who have been there before you.
  • Create a strategy for climbing the mountain.
  • Stay focused when things go wrong.

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One of the people I follow on Twitter is prominent author and blogger Robin Sharma.

This is what he tweeted a couple of days ago:

The best I can give u today: 5 little goals a day, 5 days a week will revolutionize your life in 5 months–or less. #simplesuccess

What a great concept!

Imagine how your life would be different if every weekday for the next five months, you achieved 5 simple goals that each took you closer to a larger aspiration.

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Castle Neuschwanstein at Schwangau, Bavaria, G...

Image via Wikipedia

Henry David Thoreau once said, “If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.”

The “castles in the air” are your dreams, your aspirations, your goals.

They should be bold, grand and perhaps a little bit outrageous.

They should be something worth striving for, something that gets your heart racing.

They should truly be castles, not shacks or cottages.

But of course, bold dreams aren’t enough without action.

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This is the time of year when a lot of people sit down and look at setting goals and resolutions for the year ahead.

The aim of this post is to make this time as effective as possible by giving you three simple things to think about when setting your goals.

Here are my 3 M’s of effective goal-setting:

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Lately, I’ve fallen into the trap of focussing on how tired I am.

I’ve started to use dangerous terms like, “When I get enough energy I’ll…

  • Exercise more.
  • Be a more attentive father.
  • Be more focused at work.

Such statements allow me to put off being my very best until I somehow get the energy for it.

The problem is, we don’t get energy, we have to generate it.

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We’ve all been able to reach a goal at some stage in our lives.

For some of us it’s graduating from high school or university, getting that big promotion, hitting a challenging sales target or perhaps reaching your goal weight.

It’s a great feeling when we achieve our ambitions, but what should we do next?

I like to compare goal-achievement to climbing a mountain, and in that context here’s what I think we should do after reaching one of our goals.

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This past Sunday, we had 1988 Olympic gold medallist, Duncan Armstrong share his inspiring story with our church.

He has a very powerful story about the difference that the love of God has made in his life and also shared some insights into his success as a swimmer.

One of the stories that he shared described the motivation techniques of his eccentric coach Laurie Lawrence.

When Armstrong first joined Lawrence’s squad of swimmers, he started at the bottom in lane one.

Lawrence used 6 lanes for his swimmers.  The beginners started at lane one and as they developed and improved would move up.

Lane six was the ultimate aim.  It was called the “Green and Gold Lane” because the prerequisite for joining this lane was that you had to be in the Australian squad.

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Photo by Thomas Hawk via Flickr

When I was growing up, we used to go on the occasional interstate road trip as a family.

I can remember with great fondness the long drives, the regular stops to stretch the legs, the sights along the way and falling asleep to the rocking of the car, all things that I look forward to sharing with my kids in the coming years as we go on our own road trips.

Of course, in romanticising such trips, I’m choosing to ignore the inevitable “are we there yet? questions from the back seat and the undoubted arguments that the three kids will have along the way.

Having said that, road trips are a great tradition and there are a few terrific principles that we can learn from them.

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Photo by PattiFederico via Flickr

As this is a blog written from a life coaching perspective, it’s only natural that I write a lot about goals.

Developing goals, writing them down, making sure that they’re ambitious, yet still achievable.

I love goals and endorse them.

However, one of the criticisms of the personal development movement is that it’s a bit self-indulgent and narcissistic.

What can “I” achieve? What can “I” get out of life?  How can “I” feel better about myself?

It’s a fair criticism sometimes.

In recent years, most sports have started to keep track not only of the goal scorers, but of the team-mates who provided them with the chance to score.

It’s called an assist.

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