Reverse Goal Setting
21st June 2017
Reverse Goal Setting
Instead of working out what you want (goal setting) try and write down all the things you don’t want (reverse goal setting) and then begin to eliminate them.
We are continually told to work on your goals, set your goals, measure your goals and asked: “What are your goals?” Sometimes this can be frustrating. There are times in your life when you don’t have it all figured out. When you are at that stage your goals are distant, undefined or not even on your radar.
Depending on where you are in this journey a more simple exercise could be to work on your reverse goals. You do that by getting more clarity around what you DON’T want in life as this then helps you shape what to do about it.
When entrepreneurs start their own company and begin thinking how the business will look like, they tend to ignore what impact it will have on them. They fail to imagine the outcomes of these early decisions and the long-term implications that they will bring.
Many entrepreneurs hate commuting to an office, but then start a business that requires office space or travel to and from a place of work. If one of the key drivers was to remove the commute then this is a reverse goal – something you don’t want to do. If this is a key priority then you need to ensure that you build your business around this.
Here are a few examples of things that may be important to your lifestyle choice.
I don’t want…..
To leave my dog at home every day
To spend more than 20 minutes travel time to and from the office
Have a team bigger than 3 people and have to manage them and their expectations.
To work more than 35 hours a week (Maximum) and ANY weekends
Work from home. I know I will not be as productive each day and will be distracted.
To have face to face meetings. I will conduct all my meetings virtually.
To spend more than 2 hours a week on the financials. Statistics bore me so the 1st contractor I hire will be responsible for this.
Own a business that does not allow me to travel 6-8 weeks each year. The business will need to be able to function if I am away for any length of time.
To work with people that don’t share similar values to me or that are difficult to work with.
The Dinner Game
We will use the dinner game with the partner as an analogy to emphasise how this sometimes works better than a defined goal.
Honey, will we go out for dinner tonight?
Yes sure sounds great. What do you want to eat?
Oh, I don’t mind, anything.
Okay, what about Chinese? No, we had Chinese takeaway last week?
Okay, what about Mexican?
No I don’t feel like anything spicy? Alright, how about Italian? Maybe.
Would it have been quicker to ask – Honey what foods have we had recently or name something you don’t feel like. Now you have eliminated the easy options. When you present your choices they are far more likely to meet with instant approval, rather than instant rejection. Why? Because the don’t wants have already been identified.
You get the idea. As you continue to work on the negatives you being to flesh out the business lifestyle that you always dreamed of. By using this method of reverse goal setting you become more aware of your true desires. This way you don’t end up replacing the things that you didn’t enjoy as an employee when you become an entrepreneur.
So now you have an idea of what you don’t want you still have clarity. Done correctly it is almost easier that focusing on what you do want.