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Why You Should Give Up On Ambition
What are your goals for 2019? Studies show that 33% of people want to lose weight, 9% want to stop smoking, and 15% want to learn a new skill. If you have an ambition for this year, such as dropping a dress size, getting that promotion or running a marathon, have you considered whether it’s really worth it?
What is ambition?
For many people, especially in the workplace, ambition and goal-getting is a positive personality trait. However, ambition can be a compulsive behaviour or an excessive desire. Ambition can even be seen as greed. This is because ambition can demonstrate that you are not satisfied with what you have and who you are and that you are continually striving for more.
Is ambition a good thing?
Ambition can be incredibly admirable; it shows your drive, perseverance and energy to achieve goals and make the changes you want to see in your life. However, ambition can be exhausting. With an ambitious personality, there is usually little time to stop and enjoy the achievements you already have.
Does ambition leave you feeling empty?
Some people notice that they feel empty even after they achieve a huge goal. Similarly, if you are unable to fulfil your ambitions, it can leave you empty and goalless, which takes an emotional toll.
It is neuroscience that creates this feeling of emptiness when it comes to ambition. When we work towards goals, the brain releases the chemical dopamine. Dopamine boosts our motivation and happiness. However, the chemical is only released in anticipation of a reward. So, every milestone you reach you get another, addictive, dopamine hit. But, once you’ve achieved your goal (or it is now out of reach), the dopamine hit doesn’t arrive.
As a result, we’re left feeling worse. To counteract this feeling, most people dive into their next challenge so that they can enjoy the dopamine hit once again. However, this mentality can be exhausting. It leaves you unable to appreciate what you have, or take your time to enjoy the process of changing your life for the better.
Is it time to give up on ambition?
Giving up on ambition does not mean you have to give up on your goals, but it’s about enjoying what you have and what you achieve. It is important to appreciate every milestone and value the incredible achievement you have worked for. So, how can you reframe your goals to get out of the ambition cycle?
Why are you doing it?
If you have a goal to achieve, you need first to understand your reasons behind it. Will losing a few more kilos help you? Will that next promotion finally be the one to make you happy? Can running that extra mile bring more enjoyment to your exercise plan?
Is it making you happy?
It is easy to have tunnel vision when it comes to ambition. We are so driven to achieving the goal, that we don’t stop to appreciate the journey we make and realise the long-term and ongoing benefits. Every goal needs to be mindful. For example, if your focus is losing weight or eating healthier, do you sit down and enjoy the food you are eating and noticing the benefits it provides such as more energy, brighter skin and improved mood?
How do you determine success?
So often, people do not quantify their ambitions, which means it is impossible to see the success they are making. If your goal is to exercise more, then how will you know when you have achieved the goal? Similarly, if your goal is to learn a new language, when will you see success? Is it when you can use your skills while on holiday or when you are completely fluent?
Quantifying your goals can help you to realise success rather than being stuck in a never-ending cycle.
If you do achieve your ambitions and feel that you need a new goal to strive for, then try restructuring your goal to focus on how you will get more enjoyment out of the activity. For example, if your goal was to go to the gym twice a week for six months and you’ve achieved it, how can you progress this goal to bring you more happiness? It could be that you’ll try a new exercise class, switch up your workout or perhaps treat yourself to personal trainer sessions.
Take a break!
It’s no bad thing to sit back and take stock of what you have achieved. After every goal, you should give yourself some time to enjoy your gains. Taking a break can also prevent you from getting sucked into an addictive ambition cycle too. By resting, you can start to uncover new opportunities and take time to really think about the direction you want to go in.
Are your goals causing anxiety?
If your ambitions leave you in a tiring addictive cycle or are causing stress and anxiety that you are not good enough, then hypnotherapy can help. I have helped many clients to understand the real reason behind their persistent goal-setting attitudes and assist with reframing goals into healthy, enjoyable and achievable targets.
Find out more about my unique approach to hypnotherapy and how I can help you and your ambition by booking your free 15-minute consultation. Book your first free consultation by calling 0207 971 7677.
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Eysenck, J. (2019). The most common New Year’s resolutions – and how to stick to them. [online] The Telegraph. Available at: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/health-fitness/body/common-new-years-resolutions-stick/ [Accessed 14 Jan. 2019].
Inc.com. (2019). Why You Might Feel Empty After Reaching a Huge Goal (and How to Move On). [online] Available at: https://www.inc.com/wanda-thibodeaux/why-you-might-feel-empty-after-reaching-a-huge-goal-and-how-to-move-on.html [Accessed 14 Jan. 2019].