Each year many start with lists of things they want to accomplish and without fail, within the first four weeks, that so-called list implodes. It is not that the intentions are not genuine and the motivation is lacking, but what it boils down to is managing expectations and deciphering what is plausible and what borders on unrealistic.
There is nothing wrong with striving for greatness and I encourage people to push beyond perceived perceptions and challenge themselves to reach further and dig deeper. The only way to truly know yourself is to go beyond the norm and chase your dreams. Falling is not failure, it’s preparation; however, even preparation means having attainable expectations and learning to manage them. It is unrealistic to say I want to lose weight this year and expect to lose 50 pounds in the first month. Is it possible? Maybe, under some very extreme and dangerous circumstances, but is it realistic? Not in the least bit and that’s where people get discouraged and set themselves up for failure.
Additionally, the expectations we put on others is a recipe for disappointment every time. It is not that people intentionally set out to disappoint or let down others, but it is again unrealistic for anyone to possibly live up to the expectations someone else may have for them… especially if they are unaware of said expectations. In all facets of life, whether it is professional or personal, there certain measurements that people expect to be delivered. The tricky part, no matter how adept an individual may be, how good they are at their job, how in tune they are with their mate, it is virtually impossible to meet every expectation and fulfill every desire. If anyone expects someone to do this and holds him or her to the fire to do so, you are doing a disservice to them and yourself.
In the top 5 tips for 2014, the first tip stated, “stop expecting from others what you are not willing to give yourself.” This is the key to it all. You really want to manage expectations? Start in the mirror. The best way you can achieve the goals you have set for the new year is to put the ownness completely on yourself. If you want to advance in your career, work harder, improve your skill set, take additional courses, position yourself to be ready for when the opportunity presents itself. If you are waiting for someone to take notice, someone to retire, your boss to throw you a bone, you are living a fantasy. If you want to lose weight, slow and steady is the route. Quick fixes and miracle diets will only have you spiraling backwards eventually. Start walking around the neighborhood, curtail your eating, and incorporate a healthier lifestyle. If you want your relationships to be better, portray the better you are seeking. If communication is lacking, be a better communicator; if you want more spice in your love life, initiate it; if you want to mend the fence with family members and friends, reach out to them and apologize, even if you did not cause the rift. If you want change in your life, you have to be that change!
Let your life be a reflection of your expectations. No one person will be able to meet your every expectation, but how you carry yourself, how you interact with and treat others, is how people will see you and this is where they will attempt to meet you. They may fall short or they may be incapable of rising to every occasion, but it will be clear where you stand, who you are, and how you expect to be treated. That is the most we can ask of anyone, to respect who we are and if they so choose, to at least attempt to meet some of our expectations.
Managing expectations will remedy many issues and prevent much discord. It will also teach us about ourselves and help us to grow from within – spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. Once we learn to manage our expectations, we learn to develop the skills to navigate life and thrive within it.
“The expectations of life depend upon diligence; the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools.” ~ Confucius
“Don’t lower your expectations to meet your performance. Raise your level of performance to meet your expectations. Expect the best of yourself, and then do what is necessary to make it a reality.” ~ Ralph Marston
“Our limitations and success will be based most often, on your own expectations for ourselves. What the mind dwells upon, the body acts upon.” ~ Denis Waitley