Setting expectations, intentions and goals for yourself is a beneficial tool that supports you in creating the life you want. It’s something we all do. We work towards our goals and will all of our expectations to fruition. Providing clarity, direction, and accountability expectations offer us stepping stones to becoming our best selves.
It is natural that in a new year, we examine our year and set new expectations for the year ahead. We do not know about you, but for us, we feel like our list of expectations grows and becomes more elaborate as the years go on. We want it all! And while there is nothing wrong with this, there can be a downside to setting several expectations for yourself. Sometimes it is hard to determine whether the expectations we set are truly our own or that of others like family or friends. Our expectations can become difficult to manage when real life gets in the way and subsequently overwhelming. And if we are being frank, we are guilty of setting expectations that are sometimes completely unrealistic and attuned to someone else’s life. In the age of social media, we are inundated and overexposed to other people’s lives and their every day. We see lifestyles, achievements and accolades that these strangers receive and can begin to normalise the lavishness and excess of it all.
Don’t get us wrong expectations are beneficial and allow you to look ahead positively. Expectations, when fit for their purpose and managed well, help you strive towards your long-term goals and help achieve happiness and success.
Below are our top tips to ensure your expectations are helpful rather than a hinder to you!
Make Sure Your Expectations are Your Own
From the youngest age, people in and outside of our lives tell us what they expect of us. This continues throughout our lives, even into adulthood. We hear our parent’s expectations, our family’s and society’s expectations continuously, and it is a lot. We grow up knowing that everyone has an already formed idea of what we will do, who we will become and how we will live our lives.
Alongside this, with the increase in social media channels and postings, we are inundated with messages from people globally who seem to have it all and then some, and then by default, we begin to want the same. Everything is bigger, and everything is in excess.
It becomes all too easy to internalise these messages and subsequently find it difficult to determine which expectations are our own or that of others.
As WOC, we can become overwhelmed with the incessant expectations people have for us. The expectations may not even be what we achieve but who we are as people, how we behave, what we believe, and who we grow to become. It is so draining and overwhelming to have everyone tell you what they want from your life, and as a result, so easy to internalise. It becomes all too easy to believe that these expectations everyone has for us are what we should do, who we should be and what we should strive for.
We cannot stress the importance of making and determining your own expectations for your life.
You can do this by stripping back the expectations you have for your life and identifying where they came from.
Was it from you? Your parents? Society? Or something you might have seen online or elsewhere?
Take the time to consider how much of what you want is really from you and if it’s not, are the expectations of others something you want? Do you want to achieve those things, be that person, and live that life?
We implore you to consider yourself and your feelings a priority. Know that the life that you want for yourself is more important than the wants of others.
Having expectations that are your own will encourage you to work towards your goals, and importantly, it will feel even better when you achieve them.
We are all guilty of getting a bit carried away sometimes, and this can also apply to the expectations we have. We can sometimes buy into the overnight success messages, the self-made messages the I came from nothing messages. It is important to take what you see from other people’s lives with a grain of salt, as we never really know the full story.
All that you can do is be realistic and compassionate with yourself and the expectations you have for your life. You must understand that success doesn’t come overnight and that millions aren’t made in a day. Our expectations must be realistic and practical to leave room for the real world and its constant moving parts.
We urge you to consider whether your expectations are realistic, practical and healthy.
In being realistic with your expectations, goals and aims, you accept that sometimes things take longer than you’d ideally like, or that sometimes things don’t work out and that that is ok. Being realistic, you leave room for compassion and an understanding that you are human and that there is a lot in our lives that, for the most part, is out of our control.
Give Yourself Some Grace
With all the expectations that you may have for yourself, you must always show yourself some grace. You must give yourself kindness, compassion and understanding to ensure you don’t enter a vicious, destructive cycle of self-loathing and blame.
Remember that you are human and that life, regardless of you and your feelings, will continue to happen around you and as a result, not everything can be managed, controlled or willed to fruition. Sometimes, things will just not go your way, and that is okay. Setbacks happen, and there is nothing that can be done to stop them.
In showing yourself some grace you create a healthy healing and growing process. This ensures that the next time you strive to achieve your goals and expectations, you are willing to support and importantly show up for yourself.
Having expectations helps to set you up for success. Showing yourself some grace supports your well-being and encourages happiness, health and growth that will aid you in achieving your expectations.