The Importance of Anti-Goals - Deepstash
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antigoal (plural antigoals) An undesirable state to be avoided, the opposite of a goal. 

The concept is grounded in inversion—a mental model that says that big problems are often easier solved backwards vs. forwards.

With traditional goals, we aim for optimal outcome. We then build systems that will—hopefully—lead to that outcome. This is important and still necessary—but it’s incomplete. Anti-goals leverage inversion to complete the picture.

i.e. Rich, and successful but not be unhealthy, stressed and unhappy.


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How to set anti-goals

The generalized process involves four steps:

  1. Choose your area
  2. Set-up your goals
  3. Mark out the negative outcomes - either as final outcomes or along the way.  Do this by inverting the initial goals.
  4. Set-up these negative outcomes as Anti-g


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Choose your area / arena?

The area is the project, or plan you are working on. 


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Set-up your goals

A goal setting process forces you to think about the journey instead of just the end destination.

1 - Ask yourself the following questions

  • Is this goal something you truly want? 
  • Is it important enough to pour hours of time and effort into it? 

2- Be SMART 

Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-Bound.

SMART goal setting is to make your goal specific so you can track your progress and know if you met the goal. i.e. I want to lose 10 lbs by 14th Aug 2022

3- Write your goals down to make them real

4- Create Action Plan

5- Create Time-line

6- Take Action

7- Re-Assess (weekly) and evaluate


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Invert the Problem

In the pursuit of these goals

  • What’s the worst possible outcome?
  • What systems would lead to that?
  • What daily actions would I regret?
  • In short, what would you view as winning the battle but losing the war?


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Establish Anti-goals

Now work backwards to establish your anti-goals.

Expanding on James Clear analogy: If traditional goals are the rudders that set your direction, think of anti-goals as the map that tells you where the rapids are.


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Where to use this frame-work?

Use this to;

  • Plan for new projects
  • Design your life
  • Create self-improvement plans


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Think of anti-goals as being about avoiding the "Pyrrhic victory”—a victory that takes such a terrible toll on the victor that it might has well have been a defeat. (Sahil Bloom)


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