There’s an Old Russian proverb that says, “If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one.”
I suppose this jumped out at me because it succinctly captures a dynamic I hear so many times over the course of my work week.
I want to lose weight, and I want to eat whatever I want.
I want to be healthy, and I want to ignore self-care.
I want a loving and satisfying relationship, and I want to ensure my needs are all met.
I want to be financially secure, and I want to be able to purchase whatever I want.
Of course, people don’t usually say those statements so clearly to me. If they did, they might hear them and begin to question themselves. Instead, we utter the first part of the statement, and then act out the second part. It’s human nature.
Neither part of the statement is inherently right, wrong, good or bad. But both parts of the statements are in direct conflict with each other. Thus, trying to achieve both is like two rabbits one is trying to catch. Both options require considerable energy moving in opposing directions. But the rabbits have the advantage. Each has to move in only one direction while we have to move in two. They outrun us and we lose both. One of my favorite examples of this is the original Bridget Jones’ Diary. She began each day focusing on and recording her weight. Then she lived out the day ruining her diet. By year’s end, she had gained and lost about 100 pounds (up 3 down 2), finishing at relatively the same weight as when she began.
Are you chasing two rabbits? Or more rabbits? That’s the thing about rabbits; they seem to multiply pretty easily. Where is your focus? Do you have a clear set of goals? Not a wish list, but actual, defined goals? If you do, they include time tables, and plans for how to achieve those goals. Without a path towards achievement your ideas are merely a wished for fantasy of something you someday hope, will somehow happen.
Another important step in goal achievement is building in accountability. Ask someone to check in with you about your progress. Make commitments to knocking off steps along the way. Use outside resources to help you figure out when you get stuck how to work around or through the obstacle instead of simply giving up in frustration.
And finally there is the importance of letting go. You may have to spend a little time deciding and acknowledging to either someone else, yourself or both that, you are going to let one or more other rabbits go. Let someone else chase those or let them simply be free. You weren’t going to capture the anyway.