We are often told to reach for the stars, to set big goals, and to dream big. But what if I told you that setting balanced expectations can actually lead to more success and fulfillment? Let’s explore the power of finding the sweet spot between aiming too high and settling for less.
As a society, we are constantly bombarded with messages encouraging us to reach for the stars and aim for the impossible. We are often told that anything is possible if we work hard and dream big enough. While having high aspirations can be motivating, it can also lead to feelings of disappointment and failure when those goals are not met. Have you ever given up on something because you set your expectations too high and didn’t get anywhere close to meeting them? Yeah, me too.
On the other hand, settling for less than we are capable of to avoid failing can also be detrimental to our growth and fulfillment. So, how can you find the middle ground and set balanced expectations for yourself? This blog post will delve into the power of finding the sweet spot between aiming too high and settling for less. Together, we will explore how this can lead to more success and fulfillment in all aspects of your life. So buckle up and get ready to learn how to set balanced expectations for a more fulfilling life.
Are Your Expectations Reasonable?
We all have expectations for ourselves and our lives. We want to achieve specific goals, have particular experiences, and feel certain emotions. But sometimes, our expectations can be unrealistic or unhealthy. Setting your sights too high or too low can negatively affect your mind, body, and soul.
So, with that said… How do you know if your expectations are reasonable? How do you find the balance between challenging yourself and accepting yourself? And how do you avoid setting yourself up for disappointment or settling for less than you deserve?
Keep reading to explore these questions and find tips on balancing your expectations.
Too High or Too Low?
Expectations are the beliefs we have about what will happen in the future. They are influenced by many factors, such as our past experiences, values, personality, culture, and environment. See Merriam-Webster’s definitions of expectations below.
Some expectations are helpful and motivating. They can inspire us to work hard, learn new skills, and pursue our dreams. They can also help us cope with uncertainty and change by giving us a sense of direction and purpose.
However, some expectations are harmful and stressful. They can make us feel anxious, frustrated, or depressed. They can also prevent us from enjoying the present moment and appreciating what we have.
One way to tell if your expectations are reasonable is to ask yourself: Are they realistic? Are they flexible? Are they based on your own needs and desires or someone else’s?
If your expectations are too high, they may be unrealistic. This means they are not based on facts or evidence but on fantasies or ideals. For example, you may expect yourself to be perfect in everything you do or your life to be always happy and exciting. While it’s perfectly fine to expect some happiness in life, it’s unreasonable to expect to never encounter misery. Doing so denies the natural variety of circumstances and emotions that make up the human experience.
Unrealistic expectations can set you up for failure and disappointment. They can make you feel inadequate or unworthy when you don’t meet them. They can also make you ignore or reject feedback that could help you improve or grow. Unrealistic expectations are not a part of balanced self-development.
On the other hand, having expectations set too low can cause just as much damage and are sometimes referred to as “limiting beliefs.” A limiting belief is a form of subconscious conditioning to keep us safe. These beliefs are commonly formed in early childhood and control us more than we realize. For example, you may expect yourself to fail at anything you try or for your relationships to fall apart. You may believe you are too much for others to handle or not talented enough to deserve a raise or promotion.
Limiting belief expectations can restrict your potential and make you miserable. They can make you feel hopeless or helpless when you face challenges or opportunities. They can also make you avoid or resist new experiences that could enrich your life, even when that very opportunity is what you’ve been dreaming of all along. At the root of every act of self-sabotage is a limiting belief. The good news is these belief sets can be changed. Click here to learn how.
Setting Balanced Expectations
So, how do you balance your expectations holistically? How do you create realistic and flexible expectations that challenge, accept, motivate, and satisfy you? It’s more straightforward than it sounds.
Here are some tips to help you set balanced expectations:
Be aware of your expectations. The first step is to recognize your expectations for yourself and your life. You can reflect on your thoughts, feelings, and actions to determine what those are. You can also ask yourself questions like: What do I want and need? What do I value? What do I believe? Each time you answer a question, ask yourself why until you arrive at the emotional core of the response. This is one way to dive beneath the conditioned mind. For more on determining what you really, truly want out of life, click here.
Evaluate your expectations. The next step is to assess whether your expectations are reasonable or not. You can do this by comparing them with reality. You can also ask yourself: Are they based on facts or assumptions? Are they achievable or impossible? Are they flexible or rigid? Are they mine or someone else’s? Hint: Get the perspective of some trusted friends, colleagues, or family members as well as your own. We tend to over or underestimate our abilities, and getting a variety of perspectives can help you more accurately assess them.
Adjust your expectations. The final step is to modify your expectations if they are unreasonable. You can do this by setting SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound). You can also ask yourself questions like: How can I make them more realistic? How can I make them more flexible? How can I make them more aligned with my needs and desires and the life I am called to lead?
Balancing Expectations Takes Work
Balancing your expectations takes work. It requires self-reflection, self-awareness, self-evaluation, and self-regulation. But it is worth it. It can help you achieve harmony between your mind, body, and soul. It can also help you live a more fulfilling and meaningful life.
Now it’s your turn. What are some of your expectations for yourself and your life? Are they reasonable or not? What can you adjust to make them more balanced? Share your thoughts in the comments below or join the online sisterhood for more support and guidance.