D.A.M.N. your goals!

An article by Jason S. Sullivan, 01/08/19

This article first appeared on LinkedIn.

D.A.M.N. is a mentality I came up with to help me achieve a goal.

Jason S. Sullivan

Resolutions versus Goals

Happy New Year! Many people start the new year by setting a New Year’s Resolution. If that’s what you want to do, go for it!

Now, here’s the reality. Few people keep New Year’s Resolutions past January 2nd. Resolutions often fail – and fast. The reason? Resolutions don’t have much substance.

  • Resolution – “My New Year’s Resolution is to lose weight.”
  • Goal – “My goal is to lose 10 pounds in the next six months by working out 30 minutes a day.”

See the difference? There’s nothing in the resolution to incite action. It’s empty. The goal is much more specific. It sets the tone for action and results.

If you haven’t set a goal for yourself lately – or ever – now is the time to start.

Goals promote growth

Everyone should set goals for themselves. Goals promote growth. If you ain’t growing, it’s showing!

Challenge yourself. Start small. Set a goal – and work your ass off to achieve it. Make the next goal more challenging – and rewarding. Bigger goals deserve a bigger reward for yourself.

Before I tell you about DAMN, let’s take a step back and review SMART goals.

SMART goals

George T. Doran gave us SMART in 1981.

SMART goals are – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.

SMART is a great method to help you set a goal. But, SMART leaves out some key points. The DAMN mentality fills the gaps.

What is the DAMN mentality?


It takes discipline to achieve a goal. Distractions are everywhere. Achieving a goal involves a trade-off. For every hour spent working on a goal, there’s an hour less for something else. Turn “free time” into “me time.” Use some of your free time for personal development. Make your goals a priority. You only have so much energy each day.

Do the hard stuff first. Work before play. Set a schedule and commit to it. Then, use the distractions as a reward for getting it done.


Ah, here we go. Here’s the kicker. This is what they don’t tell you. You see, you have to take action to achieve a goal. Planning is great. Setting a SMART goal gets you on the right track. But, until you take action – that is, until you get off your ass and do something – your goal isn’t going anywhere.

Break down a difficult goal into smaller, incremental steps. Go for quick wins to build momentum. Keep your eyes on the prize. Reward yourself. Figure out the next target and how to move forward.


Here’s the other thing they don’t tell you. The only person that can motivate you – is you. Real motivation comes from within. Another person can’t drive you to do something – you have to want to do it.

This step takes a different mindset. But, the slight change in thinking can be huge. Maybe a goal failed in the past because you couldn’t stay motivated. (Or, perhaps the target was too easy or too hard.) What’s your motivation? Have a clear reason why you want to do something. Knowing the “why” helps when you start to slip and dip.

Nicholson…wait, what?

OK, this is a name, not a word. But, think of the famous actor, Jack Nicholson, and some of his movies. He can be pretty intense. He tackles an acting role and makes it his own. He has a certain quality that seems to be the perfect recipe for achieving a goal.

Jack Nicholson isn’t the person for you? That’s fine. Pick an actor, musician, historical figure, fictional character, or heck, even an alter-ego. Try to channel their spirit when working towards your goal. It’s a fun way to put a different perspective on it and give yourself that extra “oomph”!

Better yet – share your goal with a friend or mentor. Have them share a goal with you and keep each other accountable. Having someone hold you accountable might be the push you need.

DAMN your goals

DAMN your goals! SMART goals set the plan, but the DAMN mentality helps get it done. The right attitude is everything, dammit!

About the author – Jason S. Sullivan is an aspiring writer. Jason is working to build his writing, blogging, and social media experience. Connect with Jason on LinkedIn and check out his other articles!

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