Yes, we should hold ourselves to a high standard. Monks should not eat meat ever (unless there is some medical necessity) but we who can eat meat should never overindulge in it.
What I do when I read things like the Ladder is try to understand what I can do to improve my situation now, and bring it closer to what is presented in the text. I know that I am not going to make it all the way any time soon, but what matters most is staying the course, and keep trudging along. Christ judges us based on a lot of criteria, and only He can tell if we have progress...only He knows our hearts. So just take it one step at a time.
These texts show us how utterly low we are, so that we will never brag about the small victories we might have. For instance, if you get to the point where you keep Lent completely: So what? Now try not eating until 3 pm every day at all
The idea is not to crush you, but to say, "Hey, when you do something good, thank God. Don't let it go to your head." Keeping humble, and loving and trusting in God, is what will get you saved.