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Thursday, January 8, 2015

4 Tips for Developing Healthy Expectations

There is an old proverb “curiosity killed the cat.” The meaning of this idiom is that being inquisitive about other people's affairs can often get you into trouble.

Is that really what gets you in trouble? In reality, the answer is no. What really “killed the cat” are the expectations that are important to others in your life and are put on you. Expectations unrealistically formed, you assumed you thought others wanted you to do, expectations you won't let go of even though they don't serve you as well as expectations others forced upon you.

Do you really know what old excepted expectations that are driving your life? 

What are expectations?

Merely an expectation is what is expected of you by others or yourself. They are driven by strong beliefs that something will happen in the future, is likely to happen or won't happen. An expectation might include an emotional attachment to a prediction of how responsive, successful, or right you or someone else might be in a situation which has not happened yet.

Expectations are future projections you form, requirements taught to you. or future outcomes placed upon you, by others who you have an emotional attachment to. Expectations are desired, looking forward to, projected or wished accomplishments, behaviors, beliefs, loyalties, performance or worth related to future outcomes. Expectations can motivate intentions or rob you of your self-determination.

You create expectations for yourself (“I expect to lose 20 pounds this month.”), others (‘She should know how much I am hurting.”), and situations (“I expect to get that job.”). If they are not fulfilled, expectations can create very deep disappointment.  The degree of disappointment or hurt corresponds to the amount of emotional attachment you formed to your expectations or others connected to those expectations.

3 tips on how to fix it

Get in touch with your expectations.

You are not always aware of the expectations you carry. Sometimes, you are aware of expectations you recently created, but others have been in your subconscious for ages and you are no longer aware of them.

Make a list, best you can, of all the expectations you either want to accomplish or have lived by. By making a list, you accomplish two things:  1) recognition makes them real, and 2) this helps you to organize them.

Declutter your expectations.

Now that you have a real list, study it. Determine which ones are yours, which ones came from other people whom you felt you had to obey and complete. Determine which ones you want or could realistically accomplish, and identify which ones are not what you want or were forced upon you (parent’s expectations) from long ago. Decluttering or cutting down your list will help you gain space in your mind. Cross out the expectations you don’t want, do not need to hold onto any longer, have no emotional investment in, or are simply not yours.

Emotional Attachment

Take your whittled down list and figure out what level of emotional involvement or attachment you have to each one. It is best to put a numerical value on each, 1 to five or 1 to 10. Actually seeing the numerical values will help you to rank them in order to see the ones you want to accomplish first.

While you are figuring out your involvement in each, determine which expectations have made you disappointed in yourself or someone else. Disappointment can consume a lot of our emotional energy and turn into depression or severe anxiety.

          Answer these questions honestly:

        Is it because you disappointed someone else?

          Is it because someone disappointed you?

          Is it because you could not control someone else or 
           a situation?

         Is it because you didn't reach an intended goal you set 
           for yourself now or long ago?

         Are you taking things too personally that you're attempting 
           to accomplish?

        Do you create goals out of the emotion of the moment 
           and then procrastinate?

       Did you over commit yourself?

       Did you say yes to an expectation when you really 
           meant no?

         Are you a poor manager of your expectations?

    What are the barriers that stop you from success and how have they contributed to you falling short of your of each expectation?

Stop holding on to the old expectations which don't serve you.

The best way to achieve this part is to forgive you. Wipe your mind clean of past expectations by letting go of all your disappointments, self-doubts and resentments toward yourself, someone else or long past situations. Do not use old disappointments or resentments as ammunition to keep yourself down. If you have been carrying tons of unfulfilled expectations, then recognize that there is no need to hold onto them. Create new expectations or reconfigure your old ones to better suit your current state of being.

4 Tips on developing an action plan for the future

Now it is time to make an action plan. So go over your finished expectations list.

      1. Make sure each are what you desire, want, need, or 
          desire and how much emotional sweat you are willing 
          to put into each.

      2. Make sure each expectation is specific and realistic.

      3. Make sure each expectation is measurable

      4. Make sure each one has a timeline or date for completion.

At the associated completion time of each expectation, go back to your #3 and check your measurements to determine:

      Have I reached completion of what I wanted?

      Do I want to drop this expectation?

      Should I extend the time of completion?


Remember, it is not curiosity that killed the cat … it was the expectations the cat had on itself that crushed, disappointed or sabotaged its chances for a happy and productive life.

          Coach Bill
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