How DUMB are your goals?

How DUMB are your goals?

Goal setting provides you with a clear direction and a road map. Too often I find that people put imaginary limits on themselves, by diagnosis alone and irrespective of current capacity. This self-stero-typing can be very restricting and fast-track deterioration independent of having Parkinson’s or not. Limits can be in the form of daily activity limitation right through to shelving the bucket-list. The good news is it doesn’t have to be like that… believing you can achieve great things with Parkinson’s is the first step and what we work hard to help you with in the 10 Week Challenge. The second step is deciding how to achieve that greatness. This is where goal setting comes in.

Goals help to keep you focused, accountable and motivated – when you have the right goal. Choosing the right goal is a bit of a Goldy locks event; Too easy and you will not feel the thrill of success that can compel you push yourself to greater things. The tragedy of this is you are capable of amazing things you don’t even realise yet! Too hard a goal and you might become despondent and unmotivated.

The best way to choose your goal is to choose a goal that is aspirational, dream driven and inspires you to give it a red hot go…. Once you have your big, hairy, audacious goal, you can work to breaking it up in to smaller steps, much like runs on a ladder leading to the golden prize.

To do this, I want to introduce DUMB goals…. The DUMBer your goals the better. Wait… what? DUMB goals are what will get you out of bed on the days you really don’t want to. DUMB goals follow a simple formula and pneumonic:

Defined (Specific to you, clearly articulated)

Unifying (Supported through family, carer, therapist etc)

Measurable (You know success when you see it and have a time frame)


If you don’t have a DUMB goal it is hard to know what you are working towards each day and if you are achieving it or not. Setting a DUMB goal can be daunting but just remember, you always eat an elephant one bite at a time (if you are in the habit of eating elephants).

Examples of DUMB goals past Warriors have set and achieved are: cruising around Antarctica, trekking and kayaking in the deep snow and off the shelf, cycling along the Tour de France track, walking the Larapinta Trail, staying at work another 24 months, looking after the grandkids independently etc.

Your task is to write your DUMB Goal (and at least the first three steps towards your DUMB goal) down on a piece of paper and stick that up somewhere prominent. Look at it, imagine the feeling when you achieve it… then do your exercise. Watch out!

Related Articles

September – Stephen Knox

Stephen attends our ARC clinic weekly for PD Warrior group sessions and you will also recognise him from our Thursday online gym sessions.
He is tenacious in his commitment to exercise and fighting Parkinson’s and does an outstanding job putting into words his Relationship with Parkinson’s…
Past, Present and Future, by Stephen Knox:
“Writing a story about something that occupies your past, present and future…

January – Julio d’Escrivan

Julio is the perfect example of dreaming big and not letting Parkinson’s Disease put a ceiling on what you think you can achieve. Remember your goals and achievements are specific to YOU. Your marathon might be successfully walking around the block. Your Ironman might be climbing a set of stairs with more confidence. I hope you find Julio’s story as motivating as I did:
I am a composer of music for audio=visual media and a Senior Lecturer in Music and Sound for The Screen at the University of Huddersfield in West Yorkshire…

June – John Lake

Looking back, some indicators of PD had been there for maybe up to two years before my diagnosis in April 2019. Principally my hand writing (I am R hand dominant) was becoming more and more laboured. Some eight months earlier I had decided to learn the violin, so the clincher became that I could not bow smoothly with my right arm, which became increasingly frustrating for me and my teacher. My father was afflicted with Parkinson’s late in his life, so all added up, the diagnosis was just a confirmation of what I already suspected.


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