How SMART goals are killing your dreams, and what to do about it

It’s scary to me how we’ve gotten so wrapped up in setting SMART goals. SMART goals are those goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

Somehow, SMART goals have become the staple for setting achievable goals. If you’ve ever had a goal that was important to you, chances are you turned it into a SMART goal.

A lot of people think that goal-setting and SMART goals are synonymous. However, that is not necessarily the case. As a matter of fact, it’s a pretty poor way of going about setting goals.

Is your goal specific? Can you realistically achieve the goal? If your answer isn’t a resounding “yes”, then you’re told not to go for it.

And that’s precisely what’s wrong with SMART goals. Has any goal that’s worthwhile been reasonably attainable?

Let that question sit for a moment.

  • Think of the greatest achievements mankind has ever experienced:
    Traveling to the moon
  • Personal computers
  • The 4-minute mile run
  • Civil Rights Movement
  • Women’s Rights Movement
  • LGBT Social Movements
  • Telecommunication
  • Electricity
  • Air travels and fighter jets
  • The Discovery of America

None of these were reasonable. They weren’t realistic or time-bound.

Think about the journey to the moon. Was that reasonable? No. It really wasn’t. Was it time-bound? President Kennedy said, “within a decade”, so the time frame was ambiguous at best.

How Smart Goals Are Killing Your Dreams And What to do about it


Where are the big dreams?

The problem we have in today’s world is that we’re all dominated by having realistic goals.

What happened to all the “walking on the moon” dreams? Where’s the “Let’s create an empire and take over the world” dreams?

They’ve been replaced with tasks that need to get done today. They’ve been replaced with smaller, more realistic SMART goals.

But it wasn’t a SMART goal for Columbus to travel west across the ocean to get to India. And in the process, finding America.

It wasn’t a SMART goal for Martin Luther King, Jr. to say, “Let’s march on Washington”.

It wasn’t a SMART goal for us to put people into a metal container and launch them into space.

These were not SMART goals.

They were seemingly impossible dreams. And they changed our world forever.

Yes, eventually we need to take a goal and break it out into measurable steps, but that’s where most people start; they start small.

Because we tend to smart small, our greatest achievements are limited to checking off items on a list or filling in a graphic organizer. But do these lists add more joy and vibrancy to our lives? They just become replaced with more things to do.


D.U.M.B. goals

I want you to start thinking bigger for your life. Get over your failures, and get back on the path that matters to you and stop managing to-do lists.

When your life becomes managing lists of things to do, you end up losing the fire of inspiration and have a difficult time finding  joy in your life.

When you opened up about your dreams to someone, they may have told you, “That goal sounds realistic. Go for it.” Because of that, there’s nothing exciting to work toward.

I want to challenge you to become inspired.

Instead of always defaulting to SMART goals, I want you to take the opposite approach.

I want you to try creating DUMB goals.

I learned about DUMB goals through my mentor, Brendon Burchard. DUMB stands for Dream-focused, Uplifting, Method-based, Behavior-triggered.

  • Dream-Focused: Is what you’re seeking to achieve really your dream? If you were to achieve it, would it bring more vibrancy and meaning in your life?
  • Uplifting: Is this goal uplifting? Will achieving it build you up, give you more purpose and  happiness? What would you gain by achieving this goal?
  • Method-Based: Does this goal have a blueprint for success? Following a proven method will increase your chances for success. For example, if you want to change your finances, follow a method proven to be successful.
  • Behavior-Triggered. We have to establish a behavior trigger to help remind us of our goal. Otherwise, we’ll forget all about it. Ever try to diet only to forget that you were on a diet? Try to think of something that will frequently remind you that you are striving towards an important goal.

I love DUMB goals because they broaden our perspective.

They focus on setting goals that are important to us: buying that first home, setting up an annual vacation savings plan, or discovering our purpose.

DUMB goals push us to work towards creating a future we once only imagined was possible. Download this worksheet to help you structure your DUMB goal.



SMART goals aren’t relatable to your real dreams. They’re just something you check off and maybe give yourself a high five for completing.

I want you to move onto a whole other level. A new stratosphere of your work and contributions.

What goal could you have that would feel magical? What goal ignites a fire in you?The world needs that special gift that only you have to offer.

As soon as you figure out what that is, you can dream up something huge. When you look within yourself and figure out what you really want, you’ll have no choice but to ask yourself, “How do I do that?”

That’s what happened to me. That question changed my life.

I became a financial advisor to work with people just like me; young professionals in their thirties and forties. I wanted to help people just starting out in life with good jobs, but also a mountain of student debt.

My challenge was that I worked for a large Wall Street firm. These firms have substantial revenue goals for their advisors which traditionally can only be met through working with retirees.

If I made young professionals my niche, I’d be fired.

I really wanted to make this work. In my eyes, it was genius. 99 percent of financial advisors only work with retirees. I would be competing against less than 1 percent of the industry. Even though it wasn’t what Wall Street wanted me to do, it was an industry that was mine for the taking.

Naturally that lead me to the question, “How do I do that?”

I had no idea how to register as a Registered Investment Advisor. I didn’t know anything about student loans or planning for college. I just knew those were the skills required to serve the needs of growing families.

First, look deep inside yourself to figure out what it is you really want to do. If you could accomplish any goal, what would make you happy? When you get to the point where you’ve zeroed in on your goal, use this worksheet to it  into a Dream-focused, Uplifting, Method-based, Behavior-triggered goal.

“How do I do that?” is a life changing question, and I’d like to help you find the answer.


Now I want to hear from you.

What kind of questions do you have for me? If they’re good enough, I’ll answer them on my next episode of #AskTommy.

4 Strategies to Be More Productive, Confident, and Happy

What is preventing you from becoming more productive confident, and happy in your career and life?

Most high achievers feel blocked when their performance starts to plateau. When he or she feels stagnated, someone who is usually a ball of energy starts to look at their day with dread. They stay in bed longer, feel overwhelmed and start to experience a lack of control.

Eventually, this heavy hitter starts to slip (although at first this is not noticeable to others). A feeling of hopelessness starts to creep in.

Have you experienced something like this in your life? You might describe it as if you were just “going through the motions”. Inside, you feel something’s wrong, but you haven’t come to terms with it yet.

To help you get out of that rut, I put together four strategies to get past that overwhelming feeling and be more productive, confident, and happy.

Listen to the Podcast


1. Generate your own energy

It takes a lot of energy to stay at a peak performance level over the long-term. I’ve been doing it for fifteen years and it can be draining. You can’t be more productive, confident, and happy in your career and life if you’re in a constant state of fatigue and exhaustion.

To truly excel and serve in this world, you need to generate your own energy. Creating energy is about taking care of your body and staying at your peak performance state. However, it’s not just about taking care of your body; you also need to be concerned with your mental and emotional alertness. Your body, your brain, and your emotions are the keys to becoming more productive, confident and happy in all areas of your life.

Increase your energy and you’ll become more productive. You’ll get more done in shorter periods of time and you’ll feel like you can take on the world, What you need to do to get closer to achieving your goals will become clearer. You’ll be more likely to eat healthier, work out regularly, and be more inclined to learn.

My top three methods for generating an abundance of energy is to:

i. Eat right. I’m not going to belabor eating right. It’s common knowledge (not common practice) to choose healthier, home cooked foods over processed foods. But I will add that you should get a food allergy test done by a professional dietician. Eliminating foods that you have a sensitivity to can help fix issues with bloating, water retention, and poor skin. When your body has to fight allergens, it takes up more energy, which is a catalyst for exhaustion.

ii. Exercise daily. Exercising gives you so much energy. It increases your blood and oxygen flow and releases endorphins (a hormone that blocks all sorts of pain) You feel like you can take on any task after a good exercise. Coincidentally, you might even lose some weight which could correct some of the aches and pains you have.

iii. Drink more water. Most of us walk around in a severely dehydrated state. Drinking plenty of water boosts your brain power, allowing you to think, focus and concentrate.

If you would like to read more about ways to boost your energy, I like this article from Michael Hyatt. Hyatt is the creator of Full Focus Planner, and is considered a thought-leader on accomplishing goals.


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2. Become the best version of yourself

Close your eyes for a moment and imagine the best version of yourself.

What do you look like? How much money do you make? Where do you work? How much money do you have in your savings?

What does a better you look like as a partner or spouse? What about as a parent?

Commit your life to becoming that person. It’s the best version of you, and that will help you live life with more vibrancy and meaning.

When you do this, you’ll look at the world differently. Instead of asking “What can I get done today?”, you’ll ask, “How can I make a difference today?”

Admittedly, I didn’t become a financial advisor for my love of finances or investments. It came out of a need to master my finances. At the age of 25, I was a successful entrepreneur generating six figures of revenue a year, but I was bleeding money.

I was lucky if I kept a third of the money I produced. I just wasn’t financially savvy enough to offset those taxes,and that left me feeling disappointed.

So at that point I started to focus on my strengths and hired professionals that could make up for financial weaknesses. When we are growing up, many adults tell us to focus on our strengths, but those people, while well meaning, are missing something important. I learned that when you only focus on your strengths, you don’t grow (in both your personal and professional life). You don’t become the best version of yourself.

I’m not saying that you need to hire financial professionals. They can be essential in your life, but only when you’re savvy enough to know how they’re helping. If it was absolutely essential to hire a financial professional, more people would hire one that’s a fiduciary (serves in your best interest) over working with one that’s really only a salesperson (sells financial and insurance products).

High achievers can envision themselves successfully achieving their goals and dreams. They know exactly the person they need to become, and most likely, it’s not who they are today.

Don’t let your weaknesses become a liability. Work on them until they become strengths.


3. Acquire a new skill

Success isn’t always something you can check off a list. It’s usually a moving target, requiring skills you don’t have today.

I attribute much of my success to my ability to see past the minutia of things that need to get done today; I see things from a “big picture” perspective. I do this to to help me focus on the future I want to create for myself, my family, and my clients. Being able to envision and focus on the future allows affords me the opportunity to “reverse-engineer” that success.

Reverse-engineering success affords me the ability to create milestones and better understand who I need to become to achieve my goals.

In 2015, I believed that in order be successful in the future, I’d need to write quality articles that people would find. I had just become a financial advisor for a large Wall Street firm, and creating quality content was a cornerstone in my marketing plan.

To this day, I am focused on that vision, and I have done everything in my power to make it a reality. I’ve made sacrifices and worked to acquire valuable skills to help me achieve my goal.

But now that I’m here, do I just sit on my laurels? Or do I continue to evolve and grow? Growth in our personal and professional life is the only way to climb to that next level of success. It is what drives us to be more productive in work and be confident in who we are becoming. This pursuit is what t keeps us happy.

The good news is that (in this digital age), there are hundreds of people that can help you acquire the skills you need to become the palpable presence you envision.

Here’s what’s on my curriculum right today, as well as how much I’m investing in myself. Some of these are courses and professional programs;others are books I’m reading or have in my queue to read:

  • [Course] Person Achievement Accelerator —Rapid clarity and planning, self purpose, evaluate opportunities, self-mastery. Cost: $300
  • [Course] Influence Course — How to persuade others and help them achieve their best life. Cost: $300
  • Sales Secrets — How to manage wealth, build teams, develop a growth mindset, and overcome obstacles. Cost: $300
  • [Course] How to create a profitable webinar — How to create a profitable online course to teach others. Cost: $2,000
  • [Book] High Performance Habits by Brendon Burchard. Cost: $0 (Sent for free by the author)
  • [Book] 10x Marketing Formula by Garrett Moon. Cost: $20
  • [Book] One Hour Content Plan by Meera Kothand Cost: $15
  • [Book] CREATE by Meera Kothand. Cost: $25
  • [Book] ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income by Darren Rowse

And, here’s what’s in queue for 2019 so far:

  • [Course] Course Creation — How to create a profitable online course to teach others. Cost: $2,000
  • [Course] High Performance Academy — How to help others achieve high levels of success ($10,000)
  • [Book] SEO 2018 by Adam Clarke
  • [Book] Building A Story Brand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen by Donald Miller


As you can probably tell, the person that I need to become is highly skilled in content creation (writing articles), content marketing (sharing those articles), and creating a platform where those articles generate passive and residual income.

What are you doing to invest in yourself? Do you have time blocked off on your calendar every week to learn something required to be the best version of yourself?


3 Steps to Creating Wealth — What I learned from Grant Cardone


4. Learn to let go

Imagine walking backwards for an entire day. How challenging do you think that would be? Do you think you’d trip and fall? Maybe get hurt?

In many cases, that’s what happens when you linger on the past, and the past doesn’t always have to be years ago. It can be something that happened today.

Ever pull into your driveway (after a challenging day) and find yourself still thinking about work? Maybe you’re not looking forward to tomorrow’s hectic day. Perhaps you are dreading that hour long call with an irate customer.

We end up inviting this drama into our homes. If only we can learn to let go, perhaps we could be more present with the people we love.

“To let go does not mean to get rid of. To let go means to let be. When we let be with compassion, things come and go on their own.”

-Jack Kornfield

This past year, I’ve been using a “Release Meditation” technique that I learned from one of my mentors, Brendon Burchard. Brendon is a New York Times” Best Seller, and a high performance coach.

Learning how to “release” or let go before I enter new transitions throughout my day has allowed me to be focused and present with the task at hand. This allows me to be a better coach to my clients, as well a better husband and father.

I use this mediation practice as a transition from task to task, such as before:

  • Starting work
  • Making a phone call
  • Arriving at Meetings
  • I enter my home
  • Family time
  • Working out

The former First Lady, Barbara Bush once said,

“At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict, or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a spouse, a friend, a child or a parent.”


And she’s very much right. I believe Time is life’s more precious commodity. It’s our greatest asset.

Letting go isn’t so much about forgiving and forgetting as it is about being present in the moment. It’s about always moving forward and making meaningful progress.



Being more productive, confident, and happy is a long-term goal, and it’s hard work. That’s why a lot more people aren’t happy with their lives; they work far too hard for far too long with little to show for it.

Now I want to hear from you. Share what the best version of you looks like. What do you see yourself doing for a living? Is it what you’re doing today?

Money Dates

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, I thought it would be fun to share with you a little tradition my wife and I share called a Money Date.

When it comes to couples and finances, I find that most operate their financial house under a method I call the You do it, or I’ll do it, but lets never talk about it” method. That means one person is responsible for paying the bills and keeping the financial house in order.

The problem with this method of handling household finances is that it all too often leads to Money Fights and financial infidelity.

Money Fights happen because people tend to be emotional and reactive when it comes to money. They push off the money talk until it’s too late or when there’s a crisis. What’s worse is that when our children observe Money Fights and start associating money with pain.

Money Fights are completely avoidable. There is a better way. It’s called a Money Date.



When my wife and I married and merged our finances, we adopted the “You do it, or I’ll do it, but let’s never talk about it” method. It was a complete failure. It was a very inefficient use of time and put a lot of stress and responsibility on one partner. But then again, we were running a business.

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It didn’t take us long to realise the traditional method of handling bills and finances was inefficient. By scheduling Money Dates, we realised we could make this fun and engaging. We could discuss more than just bills and taxes. We could dream. We could plan for things like vacations and romantic getaways. We could discuss some of our goals we set at the beginning of the year, and our progress towards funding them. And in doing so, many times we’d discover that we were already 100% funded.


If you’re someone who spends too much time and energy balancing your financial house alone; If you would like your partner to be more involved; If you feel left out and would like to be more involved in financial decisions, grab yourself your favourite cup of coffee or tea and watch the video.


Now I’d love to hear from you.

1. Have you ever had a Money Fight? Could you have avoided it with a Money Date?

2. Tell me about something that you learned from your first Money Date. How do you feel scheduling a Money Date regularly could impact your relationship and money?

3. Would feel more confident and happier in your love + money?


Remember, we are a community of people trying to create a remarkable life and business. Share as much detail as possible in your reply. We can all benefit from the wisdom you share. Making smart decisions with your money is a crucial skill to have. And having an open line of communications in your relationship and finances leads to a strong and lasting relationship.


I want to hear from you

Do you have a money question? If so you can drop it in the comments below or ask me privately. If it’s good enough, I’ll answer it and mention you on my next Q&A Tuesday on TommyTV.


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Let’s Make This the Best Year Ever

Best Year Ever

Creating the best year ever

I absolutely love kicking off the New Year. Let’s make this the best year ever with New Year’s goals. Personally, it’s a time for me to wind down after a very busy year and holiday season. It’s also a time to reflect upon the previous year, and for me to determine what I want more of in my life–time with friends and family, make new friends, and golf–and consequently, determine what I want less of–stress, anxiety, doom and gloom people, and unexpected financial problems.

It’s also a great time to create new goals. After all, it’s a New Year. But a word of caution. Don’t confuse creating New Year’s goals with a New Year’s Resolution. New Year’s Resolutions are like budgets – they don’t work. New Year’s goals are followed by scheduling success on your calendar!

Instead of going down that traditional road of making a New Year’s Resolution, why don’t you try something new?



I’m a believer and practitioner that progress equals happiness. No matter what you want to achieve, create or experience in your life, making meaningful progress is the only way that you’ll be happy.

I want to share my 2-step process for designing a life of progress -happiness. If you want to better yourself, enhance your relationships, and progress in your business or career, this tool will help.


Step 1: The Brain Dump

We’re going to write down everything that you want to do or experience in the next 12 months. Creating the best year ever doesn’t have to start in January. It can start today.

A “brain dump” is a complete transfer of accessible knowledge from your brain to some other form of storage medium, such as a notepad. You would be surprised at how many people never perform a brain dump. Their brain is in a continuous process of recycling important thoughts. It’s a very draining process that often puts people in a state of panic and stress. Just imagine what you would do to your computer if you never shut it down, or rebooted it. Eventually, it runs out of virtual memory and can no longer run important processes.


Brew your favorite cup of coffee or tea because it’s time to get all those wonderful dreams, goals and to-dos out of your wonderful head and onto a notepad.


Take Action: Write down all the things that you want to experience or achieve in the next 12 months. Grab our free downloadable Brain Dump tool below. It’s what I use in my personal life and business to organize my thoughts, sift through everything, and identify what projects are going to take priority throughout the year.

Watch this episode and design a life you love by completing key tasks that will get you there.


Make this the Best Year Ever



Best Year Ever

I want to hear from you

What’s the number one goal that’s going to help you design a life you love this year? What’s it going to take for you to make this goal a reality? And, how’s it going to make you feel when you actually accomplish it?

Also, do you have a money question? If so you can drop it in the comments below or ask me privately. If it’s good enough, I’ll answer it and mention you on my next Q&A Tuesday on TommyTV.


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