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Knowing what you don’t want is as important as knowing what you do want

Set some ‘anti-goals’ to cleanse your life of the things that aren’t working
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Do you have a list of goals that you regularly check in with? Perhaps you have a vision board that articulates what you want your life to look like. Awesome! Well done you. Setting goals is so important and the first step towards achieving success.

Now thinking about your goals, do they only cover the things you want, or do they also cover what you don’t want? Most people tend to focus more on what they want, understandably, but working out what you don’t want and what’s not working can be a great place to start if you’re feeling stuck and want life to look and feel different.

Perhaps you don’t want to commute to the office anymore (you’re not alone: three-quarters of the world’s employees want to continue working in their pyjamas for at least part of the week). Maybe you don’t want to work long hours. Perhaps you don’t want to skip any more dinners with your family. Maybe you’ve missed travelling so much that you don’t want to go another year without having a trip scheduled. Maybe you don’t want to be so busy all the time. Perhaps you don’t want to maintain certain relationships because they drain your energy or compromise your values.

Just as we set goals to take control of our lives and establish a target to work towards, we should create ‘anti-goals’ – identifying the things, people and behaviours that we should get rid of to lead a happier, more balanced life.

Here are some coaching questions to help you figure out what it is you don’t want:

  • What do I know I need to stop doing?
  • What am I doing and who am I with when I feel most unhappy?
  • Are there some people in my life who take advantage of me?
  • What isn’t working well?
  • What are the stories, relationships, beliefs, attitudes and habits that are going to stop me from getting where I want to go?
  • What do I need to unlearn?
  • What mess do I need to clean up?
  • What do I waste time worrying about?
  • What would my future-self challenge me on?

Take some time over the next day or two to establish some anti-goals. Just like your regular goals, they’re a moveable feast and should evolve as you do. We get that it might seem counterintuitive to invest your energy thinking about things you want to avoid but believe us when we say that it’ll help you create a more holistic version of your ideal life.

– The Coach Place Global

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