Expectations are a belief or bar that we are trying to reach. Sometimes we put expectations on ourselves that are really high, low, or “just right.” It is good to have expectations of ourselves because they give us something to reach toward. The problem comes in when we, or someone else, puts such high expectations that it leads to a bad outcome.
Making and Missing Them
Expectations are like goals in the way that it is something to strive for. However, expectations are usually not specific and often end up putting more pressure on us than goals. We are more comfortable to adjust our goals than our expectations. Moreover, expectations are put on us by others as well, so we feel more obligated to meet them. When we do meet expectations, we feel excited and relieved but when we miss them, it feels horrible. The worst part is that we don’t always realize the pressure it is putting on us or the way it is altering our mindset.
Steps to Maintaining Realistic Expectations
- Check in with yourself frequently on the standard you are holding yourself to. Are you expecting more than possible? Can you put the effort, time, practice, etc. in to meet the expectation?
- Talk to those you trust about the expectations you put on yourself. When you share with others, it is easier to recognize when you are putting extremely high expectations on yourself.
- Talk to others when they are putting too high of expectations on you. Sports are supposed to be fun, even with high goals and expectations. So, if others are putting expectations on you that make you uncomfortable or negatively impact your mental well-being, then stand up for yourself.
- This step can be really difficult. It is okay to have a supporter with you when standing up for yourself.
Expectations and Mental Training
We often put a lot of high expectations on ourselves, which often leads to high pressure. When you have a lot of high pressure on yourself, it can lead to negative self talk, burnout, or feeling like a failure. Mental training can help adjust your mindset and your expectations. Having high expectations isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but you need to learn how to handle yourself when you don’t meet those expectations. Mental training can help you learn to adjust your expectations when needed, learn to avoid negative self talk, avoid burnout, and not feel like a failure. Furthermore, mental training can help you talk to those in your life that are putting too high of expectations on you.