Ambition is dynamic. It means something different to all of us and comes in all shapes and sizes. It’s worth taking a moment to figure out why having an ambition – or several – is definitely a good thing.
For most of us, ambition is intrinsically linked to an achievement of some kind. It can be the motivating force that keeps us along the journey, ticking off milestones as we reach them. For others, ambition is represented as a touchstone of reaching the destination we’ve set for ourselves.
Ancient Wisdom and Ambition
Ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle was instrumental in shaping our modern concept of ambition in his seminal text, Nicomachean Ethics. Ambition, in the view of the ‘Father of Western Philosophy,’ can be a positive attribute, a destructive iniquity or simply absent. Aristotle’s view was that while ‘proper’ ambition could be harnessed for good; pure ambition was a vice, and the absence of ambition could be considered to be a deficiency.
You don’t have to look far for examples of people being described as ‘ruthlessly ambitious’ or ‘lacking in ambition’ to realise that there’s a modern-day tendency to stick to Aristotle’s narrative.
That’s why ambition is a very personal thing. There’s no point in adopting someone else’s: only you can decide what your ambitions are and how you plan to achieve them.
Being true to yourself when it comes to setting out your ambitions is key. Know yourself. Trust yourself. When it comes to making that decision to stop drinking alcohol for a year, how do you plot that journey? A series of steps? A personal checklist of milestones along the way? Or do you prefer to view achieving OYNB as a single, major achievement?
Authenticity is almost always your friend: do it your way. Sometimes, clichés can’t help but hit the nail on the head. When it comes to setting, striving for and realising your ambitions, be true to yourself.
Don’t Be Afraid to Tweak and Rethink
So where to start? With OYNB, the goal is defined. 28, 90 or 365 days without drinking alcohol. When you’ve hit that goal, you’re going to feel pretty amazing, no doubt about it. But many of us need to feel some of those ‘amazing’ vibes during the voyage to keep us going to the next milestone.
Plus, life has a funny way of throwing things at us. Soul-destroying, hair-pulling-out days at work. Exhausting weeks with the kids. Days that grind us down. This can go either way. Sometimes, cracks start to form in our carefully nurtured resolve. Other times, it can make you put a line through where you thought your next milestone lay and decide that getting through today with your goal intact is worth celebrating.
In other words, ambitions don’t have to be immovable. Be prepared to tweak or rethink them along the way.
Sharing Your Goals
Here’s another thing: how much do you want to share about your ambitions? Maybe you’ve talked about OYNB with friends and family. If it works for you, having supportive people in your corner rooting for you as you strive to achieve your goal can be fantastic.
Other people hold their ambitions a little tighter to their chests and carve a quieter, more private pathway upwards through their milestones. Again, it comes back to being true to yourself and knowing what spurs you on.
Positive Changes With OYNB
OYNB will almost certainly start to prompt positive changes in your life that you didn’t reckon with. You might well find that you develop interests and hobbies that weren’t part of your life before. Many people, once they’ve embarked on OYNB, take up a sport or physical challenge that might previously have felt out of reach.
Tying a new activity into your OYNB ambitions can be a particularly effective way of motivating yourself. Once you’ve cut out alcohol from your life, you might drop a few pounds as a result. Feeling a bit more body positive, you join a gym for the first time in years. Running on the treadmill gives way to early-morning outdoor runs before work. Before you know it, you’ve got your eye on running a local 5k event.
Suddenly, you have a whole new ambition that’s tied right into your goals with achieving OYNB. That's some pretty serious motivation right there!
Success Can Be a Game Changer
Succeeding at the ambitions we set for ourselves can be a game changer in terms of improving self-esteem and boosting our confidence as we move through the different stages of life. We’ve rounded up a few tips to keep in mind as you aim for the next milestone:
- Know someone in the same boat? Having a buddy for mutual support can be invaluable.
- Don’t be disheartened if you have a bad day. Accept what’s happened and move on. Tomorrow is a fresh start.
- Do whatever makes you feel good about achieving your milestones. Punch the air; treat yourself to a slap-up lunch, share the news with any trusted cheerleaders or quietly cherish the magical, golden moment alone.
And then keep going. You’re doing brilliantly.