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.'
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?