Do you set unrealistic expectations on yourself?
Have you ever said to yourself that you’re going to try and do it all? Whether it’s change your job, lose 10 pounds, run a half marathon, write a book, volunteer and… whatever it might be. And, all at the same time?! Or perhaps it’s one big thing like losing weight. But your plan is to cut out sugar, wheat, dairy, caffeine and alcohol, and exercise five times a week, and all this from a place of having not done much exercise and eating what you want, when you want.
I totally have. There was a time when I wanted to start my own business, lose a certain amount of weight by following a strict paleo diet, start a supper club, write a book, fall in love, and I wanted it all to happen within the next month. I’ve also done the ‘go from one extreme to another’ to try and achieve a new goal for myself. I can tell you, I didn’t do what I set out to do, or if I did, it only lasted a few weeks at most.
Throughout a lot of my adult life I’ve gone through phases like this – where if I was going to do something I had to do it all at once or there wasn’t any point in doing it. I believed it was purely down to sheer willpower and I just had to keep strong, keep to my perfect plan, and everything would happen according to how I wanted.
Now, I am all for having dreams and goals and setting the bar high for what you want in life – I truly do believe we can have anything we set out to achieve. But, looking back at my plans for how I wanted to achieve these things, I have tended to be a bit unrealistic in my expectations on myself.
It’s natural as humans to want change to happen overnight. We live in a society which favours things moving at lightning speed and if anything takes too long we’re not interested any more. We also think that all it takes is a ‘can do’ attitude and ‘to do’ list the size of your arm, to get anything done. But often we don’t take into consideration that life is stressful and busy and that we are only human, yes, we are only human! We have ‘on’ days and ‘off’ days and can’t always predict what might come up. Also, if we are trying to live from one extreme to another and expecting a lot, we are naturally going to get tired and possibly burned out leading to the opposite of what we want happening.
This year, has been the first in my life where I haven’t pushed myself to change everything I want changed in my life, in one go. Slowing down and dealing with one thing rather than having these high expectations and radical changes I want to implement is soo much more manageable and hence achievable!
For the first few months of this year I decided to only focus on one thing I wanted to change, which I also knew would have a positive effect on other areas of my life (my weight, my moods, my emotions, my sleep and more), and that was to stop drinking alcohol. It was a personal choice and one that has been coming for me, for a while. This time I didn’t try to drastically change other areas in my life at the same time, such as my diet and exercise routine, as based on past experiences I would then not do anything or only last a couple of weeks at most.
Now I am at a place where not drinking is second nature to me, I am ready to move on to the next thing which I want to deal with personally – and that is my chocolate addiction. I have a little bit of an unhealthy relationship with chocolate and find it hard to stop eating when I start.
That is where I am at moving forward now. It feels manageable and even better, it feels sustainable and lasting. Slowing down and pulling those expectations waaay back will get you much further than you think.
So, how about you? If you gave yourself permission to just focus on one thing that you want to change in your life, what would it be? I would love it if you want to share…(please reply in the comments).
Have a wonderful rest of the week.
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Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash