Over ambition, and why it sucks.

It must be spring.  Suddenly I want to finally do the dozen or so odd projects sitting stagnant in my mind. Problem is, there are still the same number of hours in the day and no amount of creative organization is going to change that.  I’ve tried so many ways to be more productive; to do lists, yoga, phone reminders, rewards, timers, you name it, that it’s starting to feel like dieting.  I’ll go at a new plan with everything I’ve got for a week, sometimes two, and then get tired or burned out or bored or something will happen and everything will return back to how it’s always been, lots of plans and the inability to organize my life to do them.

It’s very discouraging.  I’m not doing any better with dieting.  Today, it’s the “don’t eat unless I’m hungry and I can have as many low-calorie beverages as I like” plan.  Judging by how I feel right now, tomorrow will be the “eat all the Easter candy so it will no longer be a temptation” plan.  Judging by what Mr. Internet has to say, it might not be that bad of idea.

chocolate dietIt’s a vicious cycle.  When I finally get fed up enough to change and work toward goals I’m super motivated and work really hard to do those changes 100%.  Then, I miss a goal or don’t complete all of my to do list even after giving my best effort and I get frustrated. When I’m being kind to myself, I’ll tell myself that it’s no big deal and I can always try again the next day.   After several days where, even when I do my best, I can’t do what I set out to do, that’s when reality kicks in.  I’ve once again bitten off more than I can chew and give up.

Now a well-adjusted person, or at least a smarter one than I am, might do the rational thing and adjust their goals to better fit their life.  If there are too many things on the to do list then a few projects are dropped until space opens up. Some people call it prioritizing and I would do well to try it someday.

The thing is, failure hurts on so many levels.  It makes me think of training a dog.  If do good they get rewarded and praised.  However if they are naughty they get reprimanded so that they don’t want to repeat the action.  When I am “naughty” and don’t complete my goals I reprimand myself.  Then, when it comes time to set goals again there is reluctance because the last time resulted in something negative. After so many tries it’s too easy to put my tail between my legs and promise to never do it again.

Now don’t get me wrong, I still think setting goals is an important and even vital part of growing and learning and becoming the person I want to become.  However, if those goals are too out of reach, then they are doomed to failure unless more attainable goals are reached first.  Also, I’ve learned that you can’t have too many of these goals at a time.  If you’re goal is finishing writing a book, now’s not the time to start an intense diet and exercise plan, coupled with a home organization plan, hitched on to a finish the yard plan, along with a improve the kids behavior overhaul plan.  It’s simply too much.

For now, I’m taking one step at a time, one day at a time.  What gets done, gets done, and what doesn’t, I won’t beat myself up over.




About Jodi

Jodi L. Milner is a writer, mandala enthusiast, and educator. Her epic fantasy novel, Stonebearer’s Betrayal, was published in November 2018 and rereleased in Jan 2020. She has been published in several anthologies. When not writing, she can be found folding children and feeding the laundry, occasionally in that order.
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6 Responses to Over ambition, and why it sucks.

  1. Your “For now” plan sounds perfect! Improving is a lifetime process. All we should expect of ourselves is to do our best everyday. Words I struggle to remember. Keep up the good work Jodi, you’re a wonderful writer, wife and mother, giving care to everyone and everything around you.

    • Jodi says:

      You are the sweetest Barbara – these two weeks with the kids off track have been more frustrating than I bargained for, and there’s no guarantee that things will be better when they go back to school. I have to keep reminding myself that I can only take one step at a time, one hour at a time, one day at a time.

  2. ericjbaker says:

    I think you just have to pick a thing, not everything. I should talk, but all you get from over-complicating your life is insomnia.

  3. clarbojahn says:

    Remember tis the journey that matters not the end result. 🙂 IN life anyway. 🙂

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