Saturday, July 31
Self-expectations: The Good, The Bad, and The Impossible...
Typically, having high self-expectations is seen as a positive character trait. It's admirable to set the bar high and strive to maintain a standard that reflects your aspirations in life; but sometimes we can create unwanted anxiety when we set the bar higher than we can realistically reach.
While I'm all for setting goals, it's important to keep in mind the delicate balance between not enough and too much. Most of us want to be the best we can be, myself included, and because of this I've pursued a life/career based on positivity and overcoming adversity.
Don't Just Survive...Thrive! is my motto!
But this has, from time to time, caused me to put expectations on myself to remain positive all the time.
While I enjoy being Little Miss Sunshine most days, I am no Pollyanna 24/7...no one is, and if they are, something's wrong. Even those in the most ideal and pleasant circumstances, with seemingly nary a trouble in the world and loads of money in the bank will get discouraged from time to time, for any variety of reasons. It's called "being human."
But because of the expectations I'd self-imposed (and perceived others had of me) I felt as if I were letting the world down if I had an off day. It was time to readjust what I was expecting from myself.
I know we've all heard the sayings like "Shoot for the moon and if you miss you will still be among the stars." (Les Brown) -- I've actually used that quote numerous times to try and motivate myself or others, but consistently setting unachievable expectations, only to miss the mark can lead to low self-esteem and feelings of failure. These emotions bring about nothing good. When we feel worthless, we're more likely to just give up completely before trying again.
Another perfect example was when I got it in my head that I was going to hit the gym every single day, 7 days a week. Now this may be an entirely attainable goal for some, but for many reasons it's just not something that's going to happen in my life. Week after week I "let myself down" because I only made it to the gym between 3-5 times, doing 1/2 hour of cardio and 1 hour of weight training. Did I forget that a little over 2 years ago I never went to the gym? Apparently so. Had I set a more reasonable goal, rather than set the extreme (for me) goal of 7 days a week, I'd have met and probably surpassed my expectations of myself, and felt good. Instead, I repeatedly beat myself up for missing the mark I'd set way too high in the first place.
I'm not saying we should set the bar low. Always set them high enough to challenge yourself, but recognize that delicate tipping point between high and unreasonable.
Goals are simply tools to focus your energy in positive directions; these can be changed as your priorities change, new ones added, and others dropped. As long as you're moving forward, you're going in the right direction.
Posted by Team Chastain at 10:25 PM