Invert Your Goals to Find All the Bad Habits You Should Avoid

By Eric Ravenscraft

Sometimes reaching a goal means adding new habits or learning a skill, but other times it simply means getting rid of some bad habits. If you want to identify what’s keeping you from your goal, invert it.

As personal finance site Ten Factorial Rocks explains, inverting your goals gives you a new perspective on what you’re trying to accomplish. Say you’re trying to lose weight. Ask yourself, “What do I have to do to gain weight?” Any answer you get is probably a habit you should avoid. The site gives some other examples:

Q2: How do we remain healthy?
IQ2: How do we become unhealthy?

Possible answers to IQ2:

1. Eat whatever you want, whenever you want and how much ever you want.
2. Don’t exercise…ever
3. Don’t do any household chores that require physical activity (have someone do them for you)
4. Don’t play any outdoor games.

By not doing the above (that is, opposite of the inverted question’s answers), we answer the original question.

You may already be doing some of the bad habits that keep you from achieving those goals in the first place, so identifying them is a good first step towards change. Eliminating bad habits and creating good ones are two sides of the same coin, but they each require their own attention.

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