Anti – Goals . . . design your future away from what you don’t want

Goal setting can really suck . . . especially if you are not good at it.

There is a stack of information on how to do it . . .

When setting goals traditionally you think about the things you want . . . more money, big house, travel etc. then you write them down (don’t forget to make them SMART), read them out load, visualise them . . . you know what I am talking about!

With the way some experts talk about goals and goal setting you should feel like you’ve been electrified with inspiration!
Some of us . . . those a bit like me, don’t feel a damn thing!

I believe goals are very important but I like to think about them in reverse, you could call it Anti-Goal setting.

10 years ago, I sat down and designed my business and life by fixating on what I don’t like and don’t want with particular emphasis on what I don’t want my work weeks to look like.

Back then I was jet setting a LOT with an outrageous amount of frequent flyer points and constantly feeling out of control. So I set about designing goals to stop and/or avoid my ‘don’t like’ list. It is a very powerful exercise and here’s a snippet of my process.

STEP 1: My worst work week (List the things you want to stop and avoid):

  1. Working with people I don’t like or trust
  2. Everyday packed with face-to-face meetings
  3. Having to be in the office all day, every day
  4. Travelling away for work
  5. No time focused on business growth & strategy
  6. No time for family and friends


STEP 2: My Anti – Goals (Take the list above and design a set of anti-goals)

  1. Only work with people I and my team would have over for dinner . . . clients are like family
  2. Where possible schedule phone or video meetings and face to face coaching meetings are no longer than 3 hours
  3. A flexible office where I can work from home, a café or sit outside on the laptop
  4. No more than 7 days in a month working away and travel happens during work time
  5. Never schedule face-to-face meetings on Mondays and Fridays are fee from face to face meetings so  the days are dedicated to working on the business.
  6. Lock in all holidays (school holidays) and family commitments before anything else . . .


STEP 3: Share the anti-goals list with those that can he​​​​​​​lp you implement the changes, such as your partner, family colleagues. My wife, daughters & work team are very good at helping me stick to my list.


The example above is just a small insight into my anti-goals. These anti-goals have become a backbone to how we operate at Business By Design and although we have the odd unavoidable commitment, 99% of the time I have great work weeks.


This process is insanely simple and very powerful. In fact, it was the genesis of my 9/9/9 formula that I encourage my clients to aspire too. ​​​​​​​What is the 9/9/9 formula I hear you ask?  . . . stay tuned to our blog and I will share it with you soon.


A lot of success in life and business comes from knowing what you want to avoid: early death, a bad marriage, etc.,” Charlie Munger


If you are feeling stretched and living to meet the constant demands of your calendar why not try ‘Anti-Goals’. Here is a template to help you follow the steps.


Reverse the traditional goal setting process and reap the benefits. It could be your key to achieving all you want from work & life.


Sean Martyn

Phone (02) 6658 0775