How do we deal with this problem of hidden expectations?

One of the greatest stresses we face is actually self-created

I heard you were expecting.

No, not a baby.

A life that matched your expectations, whether you were even aware of them or not. One of the greatest stresses we face is actually self-created, and we might not even be aware of it. If you stop and think about it, I am willing to bet that you will be able to come up with several popular ones around this topic.

Expecting life to be fair. Thinking rich people are happier, (or famous people, or popular, or fit, or skinny, or lean, or fat or younger or older, etc.)

The fact is, we are always expecting things and then either happy or sad depending on the outcome.

“Good is not good, when better is expected,” said Thomas Fuller. Ooh, that’s a big one!

We see this all the time and it is fascinating! Meeting with someone who has dropped some body fat, 6lbs, 13lbs, 21lbs, doesn’t matter.

Any of those are great unless you expected more. Then it’s a let down.

You eat perfectly and exercise for a period of time, a week, two, three, it doesn’t matter. You expected a certain result, then step on the weigh scale, and it is different than you planned.

Have you ever watched an Olympic athlete bawl and collapse in total grief over a silver medal?

I mean come on!

It is a silver medal in the Olympics!

Yes, but the expectation was gold (ouch!)

Have you ever booked a vacation and arrived at the location only to realize the photos of the place were taken in the perfect light, from the perfect angle and happened to miss the actual reality of the situation?

Suddenly the vacation is ‘ruined’ and you are miserable in Hawaii?

Expectations of family or spouses – there’s another one that can get you! Ever accomplish something absolutely amazing, and when you around family or relatives, nobody even mentions it.

Getting married and expecting that your spouse will have the same spending habits as you (or sleeping, eating, intimacy, cleanliness, etc).

I think that’s why people date for so long before marriage – to try and figure out all those details first. Problem is, people change.

I am not the same man my wife married nearly 26 years ago, and neither is she the same woman.

Ever go to a doctor after months of waiting for a diagnosis from a specialist, get there, and hear that the test results didn’t reveal anything, and nobody knows why you have had all those symptoms.

How do we deal with this problem of hidden expectations?

What can we do to wade through all of this? One popular (often humorous) idea is to lower your expectations, but I don’t think that is wise.

I subscribe to the philosophy of, ‘When you expect the very best, you often get it!’

And I have found that to be true.

That said, the start is to try and identify your own expectations around things. When you set a goal, try to write out what things you want to have happen, as well as what you think might happen.

Then write out the worst that could happen (and how that would feel), and try to create a range from best to worst case scenarios.

If you can truly cover these on paper, or even in your mind, then when the reality comes true, you aren’t as shocked by it all.

In the moment, unplanned, and when you didn’t even know you had expectations, the best thing you can try and do is accept the world for what it is.

Accept your responsibility for creating it, both the result and the expectation and then move forward.

If you set a goal of dropping 10 pounds in two weeks and dropped nine, then accept that it is a measured fact first off. Then accept that you did as much as you could do pertaining to healthy eating, exercise, water intake and rest, in your life, with all that was happening at the time.

Accept that your body has things going on that you may not be aware of, or be able to control.

Then set new goals and keep at it. And for the love of Pete, celebrate the nine!

Aim for the moon, land among the stars (but don’t pout about the moon!)

Whatever comes your way, take a good look and see what you can change, what you can accept and what you can do differently moving forward.

Scott McDermott is a personal trainer and the owner of Best Body Fitness in Sylvan Lake.

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