Beware of the Trap of Ambition!

I see it happening around me all the time: runners and moms, falling prey to the Trap of Ambition!

'I only ran forty minutes today,' a runner will say, sounding like she just heard Walmart went belly-up. 'I didn't even make it to sixty minutes.'
I ask them: 'Who said you had to run for sixty minutes?'
They look at me dumbfounded. 'Huh?!'
The same tragic faith can hit moms: 'I set out to build the Statue of Liberty from toothpicks, with my two year old. But it collapsed when we put on the final touches. I feel terrible! I'm a big, fat failure as mom!'

Hey, where did the fun go?!

The Trap of Ambition sucks out all the fun, and makes you feel hopeless. Worst case scenario: the victim decides to throw in the towel.
'I stopped running, because it became so hard,' a victim of the Trap of Ambition might say. 'What's twenty minutes of running? It's nothing. I might as well quit all together.'

Faulty reasoning

It's the same faulty reasoning people, who can't keep their mits off the candy, use: 'I don't really like mars bars, so this one doesn't count!' Or: 'If I eat this bag of chips really fast, the calories won't matter.' But believe me, the calories will matter. Just like twenty minutes of running matter!

More doesn't equal better

So beware of the Trap of Ambition! 'More' doesn't always equal 'better'. You know what? Sometimes less is more. Running a half hour, three times a week, is better than running 90 minute once a week.

So don't set the bar too high, because nothing sucks as much as being doomed to fail. Let the bar be a nice challenge, one you can make with a bit of effort. Set it too low, it'll cost you your feeling of satisfaction. Set it too high, it will be detrimental to your motivation.

Do you ever fall victim to the Trap of Ambition?
As a mom, or as a runner? Or both?
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8 comments:

  1. Thanks for writing this! It really hit home today! It's sometimes tough reading these running blogs where these super athletes are running 10 and 11 miles a DAY at a pace I can't sustain for a mile. Then I have a day where I struggle to run 2 miles and I get that old "Why bother doing this?" feeling because I know I'll never be fast or whatever. At the end of the day, who cares but it helps to know other people struggle with the same issues! Thanks again!

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  2. New follower-kport207 from the Relax and Surf Sunday blog hop.

    Would love for you to come visit and follow my blog.

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    Thanks :)

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  3. Oooooo... I used to fall prey all the time...

    Now that I am older and wiser, I usually know better :)

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  4. Really great post - a wonderful message for all! Following you (can't WAIT to read more!) :D

    I really like your blog - I'm trying to get mine off the ground and was wondering if you could come check it out and consider following.

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    Hope you have an *amazing* day! :)

    Alex

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  5. THanks for the reminder. I did fall prey to this Sat. when I cut my run short and had to walk part of that! BUT - I showed up and sometimes that is all that matters.
    I rarely fall into this trap as a mom, but when I do..I fall ALL THE WAY IN and usually have to have help getting out!!
    Great post. REally.

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  6. Hello! newest follower on GFC from the relax and surf hop! Would love for you to stop by and follow back and say hello!
    http://www.bragallaboutit.com

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  7. I just read an article about this! I'd been notoriously setting the bar too low for myself UNTIL I started running. That was something that really scared me so I ponied up and committed. And got results I never imaged in my wildest dreams.
    Running is hard and like you said, ANY is better than NONE. There's a fine balance between being challenged and overwhelmed.

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  8. Love this post! I set the bar too high today and was down on myself. I wanted to run 3.5 miles, and only made it to 3. Then I reminded myself, I have only been able to run 3 miles for a week!

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