I think I might be one of the only people I know to set anti-goals (consciously). So I want to share my anti-goals today, in the hope that you might want to set an anti-goal too.
What is an anti-goal? An anti-goal is something you purposefully don’t want to achieve.
I created my first anti-goal in 2017, when I decided NOT to go to the gym for an entire year. I had been trying to get myself to go to the gym for years, and every year I would set it as my New Years Resolution, and I always failed miserably. Having the goal every year wasn’t actually working, and on top of that, it was just making me feel guilty because I wasn’t going. So in 2017, I just decided that I would make a new rule: No gym allowed.
I felt LIBERATED.
Did it mean that I exercised more? No I didn’t. But it removed the guilt I was feeling. By making it a rule, an anti-goal, I wasn’t actually getting any fitter, but I had released myself from feeling bad about not achieving my goal.
But hang on, what makes an anti-goal different from a regular goal?
A regular goal achieves something. An anti-goal achieves nothing, on purpose.
A goal to not smoke is still a regular goal because it achieves something. A goal to not drink achieves something too. An anti-goal doesn’t achieve anything, it keeps you exactly where you are, except it changes the way you feel about the situation.
If you always eat doughnuts, and you feel guilty about it but you don’t actually think you’ll stop, you could set yourself an anti-goal of continuing to eat donuts. That way, you’re not changing, but you’re now fulfilling a goal so you can stop feeling the guilt.
This can be a dangerous tactic, as it requires you to really evaluate why you are setting the anti-goal. It’s not a good idea to set an anti-goal if it’s just an excuse to behave badly. An anti-goal is purely there to give you permission to not feel bad, and to focus on other things.
Other anti-goals I have:
To not go skydiving.
To not run a marathon.
To not write a book.
Some people probably will not understand the concept of anti-goals. I can almost hear my logically-minded cousin saying, “If you don’t want to do something, why don’t you just not do it? What’s so hard about that?”
But see, that doesn’t work for those of us who feel obliged to others, or to our feelings. The purpose of an anti-goal is to give us permission to do what we actually want, and will probably do anyway. It just removes the pressure. Now that I know I’m not allowed to write a book, I don’t have to worry about doing that. It’s totally gone from my list, and I feel so much freer than when I had a general sense of unease: “Should I be writing a book?”
More examples of potential anti-goals:
To not go to that party.
To not buy Christmas presents.
To not wear makeup.
To not make your bed.
What are your anti-goals?