Can you give yourself permission to ditch your own expectations?
Updated: Jul 20
Do you find that your expectations are too high to consistently, or ever achieve?
Are you always falling short of where you planned to be and frustrated with yourself or the things that get in the way?
Chances are that you like so many others have unrealistic expectations of yourself, are setting yourself up to fail and/or are unable to flex the plan when stuff comes up.
For some this could relate to things like work, life admin, cooking aspirations, chores, fitness plans or anything else.
There are two parts to getting out of this cycle of expectation and disappointment.
First, are our goals actually achievable?
There is so much out there on goal setting and if you want to do this in a structured way I highly suggest looking it up and taking the time to set specific goals. However for the vast majority of us making changes or commitments is a little less structured and more off the cuff so here are a couple of pointers.
Is it achievable in the mid/long term? - Rather than an all or nothing fad
Is there flexibility in it? – For example, committing to doing this most weeks
Do you actually want to do it? - This is of course essential if you are going to stick to it, when you think about doing it are you filled with dread or determination?
Secondly, when we have achievable goals but life gets in the way, can we be ok with that?
Now this is the interesting one.
Even if we follow all the goal setting advice, set achievable outcomes with flexibility and back ups are we ok with falling short of where we planned to be or with it being put on the back burner?
How do we feel when this happens?
Do we go into an anxious spin?
Do we get angry at ourselves or all the things getting in our way?
Do we feel like its all so unfair and feel beaten by it?
Or can we be ok with it, can we accept that we can’t always do it all?
There are often internal voices that come up when we try to do this, a ‘yeah but’ to our best efforts to give ourselves a break.
What does your voice say?
Do you recognise it as someone in your past or present?
Do you project this onto others? for example, ‘they think I’m failing’ or ‘I’m letting them down’
This is something I used to really struggle with but am now much better at catching myself going into these thought patterns and spotting the feeling of dread and shame washing over me and letting it go. In the last couple of months in my household we have had numerous illnesses and injuries and all plans and back up plans have been scrapped, I’m weeks later getting this blog out than I had planned and do you know what, I’m ok with that, I’m not beating myself up, I’m not thinking I’ve failed, I’m just going with it - mostly (I am still human)
Having a plan, aspirations and goals in life is at times helpful and the right thing for us, but there are also times when giving ourselves permission to ditch them isn’t just helpful, it’s the kindest and most productive thing we can do.
If you like this post you may also like 'On the achieving treadmill, is it ever enough?!?'.
I'd love to hear your thoughts on this or if you have any questions please do get in touch either as a public comment or as a private message to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.