Setting goals for what you want to accomplish is great, but what do you do when the things you want conflict with each other? How do you handle contradictory ambitions?
Picture: Quinn Dombrowski/Flickr
It's surprisingly easy for us to harbour views that are good separately but are at odds with each other. You want to work hard, but you also want to spend time with your family, or you want to take up a new hobby while cutting back on your expenses. As Gretchen Rubin from Psychology Today points out, the conflict that arises when you have two opposing goals or desires often results in a paralysis that leads to no action at all:
Often, if there’s something that I want to do, but somehow can’t get myself to do, it’s because I don’t have clarity. This lack of clarity often arises from a feeling of ambivalence — I want to do something, but I don’t want to do it; or I want one thing, but I also want something else that conflicts with it.
Here’s a conflict: It’s nice when my older daughter is around while she does her homework; on the other hand, it’s good for her to be in her room without the distractions of family noise. So do I nudge her to go to her room, or do I let her stay in the kitchen? I can never decide.
There's no definitive right or wrong way to decide which way is the right way to go. Most situations will be subjective and depend heavily on the person. What's your process? Do you seek advice from friends? Avoid making decisions for a few days to think? Flip a coin?
Paralyzed? When Two of Your Values Are in Conflict [Psychology Today]