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Noble Ambition or Self-Sabotage?

We are currently discussing how New Year’s resolutions go wrong. It’s February and we’ve already failed, given up or forgotten the noble aspiration we chose just last month.

In this week’s podcast chat, Claudia and I discuss one type of resolution-maker, those who shoot for sweeping change. On the one hand, I want to tip my hat to those with high aspirations and aggressive ambitions. What a great problem to have, if you can even call it that.

The problem emerges when we observe (if we can take an honest look at ourselves) that we keep falling short of our ambitious goals. Do we make adjustments that will serve us better, or do we keep doing the same things (in the name of determination, of course)?

Today I want to wonder aloud whether the practice of setting out-of-reach New Year’s resolutions may not be a subtle form of self-sabotage.

Are we possibly shooting beyond our reach, so we can at least feel good about the scale of our ambition without actually risking failure at a more modest level? After all, if we fail to reach the moon, at least we were shooting for something impressive. If we fail to make a small adjustment, then we are without excuse and it hurts more.

But by limiting ourselves to out-of-reach goals, we inadvertently sabotage our own chances to effect meaningful change over time. We create a reach-and-fail cycle instead of a step-and-achieve cycle.

Believing that a big reach is better than a small step, we set ourselves up for failure rather than achievement. I say let’s set ourselves up for achievement and look for the steps toward change we can take today.

Listen to the entire conversation here. Or listen to the most recent podcast by clicking on the player in the right column.

What do you think? Am I being too harsh?



Here's My Thought...


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