Wellfie Wednesday: Anti Goals

Wellfie Wednesday: Anti Goals

This week’s Wellfie Wednesday: Anti Goals is an intersting one.

Happy Wellfie Wednesday! Welcome back! This week’s post is brought to you by @AaronPerezPT. Enjoy!

2017 is winding down, and so the time for reflection and planning for 2018 is upon us. One question I love to ask patients is “If you could do one thing next year to make it the best year ever, what would it be?” I love this question for lots of reasons, and it certainly seems like an appropriate time of year to be asking that of ourselves and others. However, I’m always trying to find ways to ask better questions. A recent EIM Leadership Podcast with Daphne Scott about Anti-goals got me thinking…


(I STRONGLY recommend listening to that podcast as Daphne describes these concepts far better than I can).

For better or for worse, the majority of us are more motivated to avoid loss or discomfort than to seek additional benefits. This is especially true when those extra benefits are long-term results while the discomfort is a short-term consequence. We’re hard-wired to focus on things we despise. So, why then do we set goals for things we desire? Would reverse engineering our goals motivate us more to take action and achieve them?


If next year were the worst year ever, what would that look like? Did you find this question easier or harder to answer than the previous question about “your best year ever?” Perhaps the long-term nature of these questions is difficult to grasp. So, let’s bring a factor of immediacy to the question. “What about yesterday did you love?” versus “What about yesterday did you hate?”

I think asking both case scenarios, and comparing that to our “default future” or what is likely to occur if nothing changes, can be powerful. The worst case scenario might evoke feelings of discomfort or anxiety which motivates our short-term behavior. It might also bring about a perspective of gratitude for the present moment. The best case scenario may evoke feelings of excitement and hope which are also important motivational fuels. The default future might connect the dots in realizing how well are current behaviors align with our desired experiences. What, if anything, needs to change?

So, as we’re setting goals for 2018, I encourage us to set some anti-goals. What about your day do you despise? What are your pet peeves? What does your worst day look like? What does it feel like? Write out a list as long as you’d like. But, don’t stop there! The absence of what you don’t want does not guarantee the presence of what you do want. So, next ask yourself what behaviors are needed to avoid those despised experiences, and make your desired experiences more likely. Then, voilà, you’ve created anti-goals.



Setting anti goals may be as important as setting goals. I am going to take this week to ponder some.

Welfie Wednesday: Anti Goals
Welfie Wednesday: Anti Goals

Leave a Comment