New Years' Resolutions - Goals or Gales?

The Drake Strait refers to the body of water directly south of South America, separating that continent from the continent of Antarctica. It is known as one of the most dangerous stretches of water on the planet. Its danger lies not only in its high winds, very rough seas and wild temperature swings but, in the fact that it is completely unpredictable.

Having crossed it more than once, I have come to know why the Drake Strait can be equally recognized as the “Drake Lake” – unusually calm and the “Drake Shake” – violently rough. Goals in general, and New Year’s Resolutions in particular, often serve the purpose of making our life both more passable (improvement) and more navigable (predictable).

Sometimes in our enthusiasm for goals at the new year we are so aggressive in what we must change that we create unnecessary, unhealthy and unsustainable pressure on ourselves. When a goal gets tied to a specific date or period (in this case the beginning of a new year) we “narrow” the opportunity for change.

The primary contributor to the violence of the Drake Straits is “narrowing” particularly the narrowing of the massive flow of water from the Pacific through the massive size of the Atlantic oceans. At the point of confluence of those two massive bodies of water, the Strait is a mere 500 miles. Pushing water from one ocean (spanning the globe north to south) through another ocean (spanning the globe from north to south) creates the same effect you get when you put your thumb over the end of a running garden hose – a trickle of water becomes a violent spray.

As you set goals, especially those tied to very “narrow” constraints,  be careful that you don’t substitute one level of uncertainty and frustration for something far more “pressuring” and unpredictable.

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