Professional Development, Tips & Techniques

I just got introduced to Anti-Goal setting, here are my thoughts

Hint: The focus is different.

words by: Natasha Marsh
Aug 24, 2022

My friends refer to me as the manifestor of the group, and they’re not wrong. Call it hyper planning, or an obsession to get after it, but I manifest or goal plan every single month. Sometimes, I’ll split my goals into categories like career, spirituality, personal, fitness, and finance. Other months, I jot down goals weekly and compile a long list for the month.


Keeping a close eye on self-help books, entrepreneur podcasts, and interviews of founders for profile pieces on how they got to where they were, the inspiration and motivation to set a goal never ends. My want to achieve all my dreams continues to burn inside. Plus, the satisfaction of crossing off goals on my organized to-do list is too good of a feeling to miss out on.


However, a recent article on anti-goal setting and its benefits has made me rethink things. Now, I’m not sure if I will completely stop setting goals, but the study is certainly something to consider. Surprisingly, it yields similar results.


So, what exactly is anti-goal setting?

Inspired by Andrew Wilkinson’s mantra, “Problems are often best solved when they are reversed,” an anti-goal means to focus on goals that you don’t want. Wilkinson used Charlie Munger’s famous line, “Tell me where I’m going to die, so I’ll never go there,” as an example and jumping off point.


The approach was inspired by the amount of pressure one feels to know what they want to do with their life. It is a great method for those of us that aren’t quite sure how to determine if a goal is worthy or not. And think about it, we are told from a very young age to choose a career. That much responsibility given to a child is really difficult, and the pressure to make our elders proud can be suffocating.


My mom often reminds my siblings and I of the well-known scripture in the book of Proverbs: What a man thinks, so is he. A lot of the time, what you focus on will become true. This is true in all situations, whether what you focus on is positive or negative.


In this case, focusing on what you don’t want will help you figure out what you do want. It might be high time to get clear on what you don’t want in order to make room for what you want and deserve, and anti-goals could just be the thing to get you there.


If not becoming an entrepreneur is one of those anti-goals, here’s 4 tips for when you’re straight to cross it off of your list.