Want To Set Realistic Expectations For Yourself? Try These 7 Ways!

Last Update on November 18, 2022 : Published on November 19, 2022

“I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations, and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.” – Bruce Lee

Wherever we go or whatever we do, certain expectations are placed upon us. Expectations can influence our decisions and even actions, but there are not only expectations that others place on us. Sometimes, it’s our self-expectations that can influence our actions and behaviors.

Self-expectations can give us clarity and even guidance but only when they are realistic and focus on our long-term goals. If you’ve ever been subjected to expectations from others, then you know how difficult it can be to navigate through those unrealistic expectations.

The same is the case with the expectations you set for yourself. When your self-expectations are unrealistic, they can cause confusion and fear or can even hold you back from reaching your goals.

Managing expectations set by others or self-expectations can be challenging, especially when they are unrealistic. Below, I’ve listed 7 effective ways to set realistic expectations for yourself and additional tips to help you cope with others’ expectations.

Take a look!

How To Set Realistic Expectations For Yourself?

1. Think About The Expectations

When you want to set realistic expectations for yourself, you need to think about the expectations or the direction you want to take with them. This can help you set the pace while keeping you responsible for your actions. Think about what you want in life and then consider your self-expectations around that.

2. Let Go Of Unrealistic Ones

Not meeting your self-expectations or even expectations set by others can allow negative feelings to fester so if you have some unrealistic expectations in your life, consider letting them go. This action does not mean that you are ignoring expectations or emotions, but it means that you’re acknowledging your emotions and choosing to change what caused them.

3. Try Improving Your Self-Talk

Another way to set realistic expectations for yourself is to work on your self-talk. When you engage in negative self-talk, you indirectly interfere with your capability and even accountability.

Negative thoughts can bring you down and when you rephrase your self-talk, you rephrase your mindset. Try writing down your goals, tracking the progress you make, or writing positive affirmations to keep yourself motivated and on the right track.

4. Take Breaks When Needed

Setbacks are bound to happen but it’s OK. You can’t expect to complete all your goals in a single timeframe (and neither should you). Taking breaks when needed can help you prevent untimely burnout.

Set deadlines but also give them a grace period. Don’t push yourself too hard, it’s not realistic and the point is to set realistic goals and expectations.

5. List Your Accomplishments

When you don’t meet your self-expectations, it can give rise to unpleasant feelings and emotions such as anger, shame, and frustration. This, in turn, can make you set even more unrealistic expectations for yourself.

Listing your accomplishments here can help keep your perspective straight. It can help you understand that you’re on the right track and that even if you’ve veered slightly off-road, you’re still moving forward.

6. Be Grateful For What You Have

Again, try to express your gratitude for what you already have. Another way to set realistic expectations for yourself is to take stock of what you have more instead of thinking about your wants.

Focusing on what you have now can help you stay in the present. Also, give yourself some time for your hobbies and hanging out with your loved ones. Try to keep your focus on the present instead of the past or the future.

7. Boost Self-Confidence

When setting realistic self-expectations, you need to work with confidence, you need to believe in yourself and your capabilities. Only having healthy self-confidence will help you set realistic expectations for yourself.

A recent study where over 600 students participated found that students with higher self-esteem got higher grades which in turn led to an increase in healthy self-confidence.

How About Coping With Others’ Expectations For You?

Not only your expectations for yourself can affect your well-being but also the expectations set by others on you can have a similar effect. Unrealistic expectations (Whether they are self-imposed or not) can be pressurizing and increase the risk of anxiety and depression.

If you have someone in your life who keeps setting unrealistic expectations of you, then remember that you don’t have to keep fulfilling those expectations or even accept them. But if you can’t, then learning how to cope with others’ expectations can help. Here are some tips for you;

1. Learn The Source Of The Expectations: Think about where the unrealistic expectations came from. Was it your family or society? Or are they your personal experiences? This will help you understand the perspective of the person who set the expectations and adjust them accordingly.

2. Are The Expectations Healthy? Healthy expectations are realistic expectations and can help with personal as well as relationship growth, so consider if the expectations are healthy. Try asking yourself, “Are they appropriate?” “Are they respectful or honest?” “Can they be productive?”

3. Be Careful: If the expectations set by others are healthy, think about whether you want to accept them or not. No expectation can be perfect. If there’s an unrealistic expectation set that you choose to accept, it can harm your well-being, so be careful.

What Next?

Setting realistic expectations for yourself can be a good beginning to set realistic goals and achieve them successfully. Be honest with yourself and be patient, even if you can’t meet your self-expectations in one go. No one’s perfect and neither can be your expectations.

Don’t set your self-expectations too high or too low. Keep them as realistic as possible. Any unrealistic expectations you set for yourself can bring you a step closer to burnout, anxiety, and depression. So be careful and heed the above ways.

I hope the ways mentioned in the blog will help you set healthy and realistic expectations for yourself. For more, you can write to us at info@calmsage.com or DM us on social media.

You can also share your thoughts and tips with us in the comments below.

Take Care!

About The Author

Swarnakshi Sharma
Swarnakshi Sharma

Swarnakshi is a content writer at Calm sage, who believes in a healthier lifestyle for mind and body. A fighter and survivor of depression, she strives to reach and help spread awareness on ending the stigma surrounding mental health issues. A spiritual person at heart, she believes in destiny and the power of Self. She is an avid reader and writer and likes to spend her free time baking and learning about world cultures.

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