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Managing Your Own Expecations To Achieve Your Goals
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Managing Your Own Expecations to Achieve Your Goals

Have you noticed how often people are dissatisfied with certain aspects of their lives? It might be work related, their home life, their social life, their health and fitness ... The reasons behind their dissatisfaction will vary but you can guarantee that part of their unhappiness will be because their expectations do not match their reality. Do you recognise that in yourself? Managing your own expectations is one of the key factors in achieving success in different areas of your life.

Let me give you an example of what I’m talking about. I know quite a few people who are keen to make a success out of internet marketing. Many of them are trying to hold down a full time job, manage their family life, a social life at the same time as trying to set up a new business. Many have dreams of resigning from their day job and in the long term making their online business their full time work.

It’s not easy to try and juggle competing sets of responsibilities whilst trying to learn a whole new set of skills and make a success of a new business. However, it’s clear that many people expect instant success and they expect that the amount of work they put in will match their rewards. Of course that would be nice if it happened but it’s not as simple as that and not only do some see their dreams dashed, some get extremely resentful. Part of the problem for both the failure and the disappointment is a failure to manage their own expectations.

In order to achieve your goals it’s really important that you manage your own expectations:

Can you really have it all?- You may think that you can manage competing priorities as long as you are organised and manage your time well, but if you do then you will be setting yourself up for failure. If you’re trying to achieve a specific goal you will undoubtedly have to sacrifice something else that you really want to do. It’s your choice to balance your life as you see fit but don’t expect to be able to have it all.

How much time do you have? Be realistic – If you only have an hour a day to put into a new project that’s absolutely fine – over a week you will certainly be making progress, but how much progress? Obviously it will depend on what you’re working on – but you need to be realistic about what you can expect in terms of progress for the time you’re putting into something.

Where are you now? Be honest about where you are when you start a new project or task. Ask yourself whether you have the skills already to complete it. If you haven’t then you must factor in the time that it will take you to acquire them and you can’t expect to achieve immediately at the same level as you would if you already had those skills.

Will your enthusiasm be enough? Make sure that you are realistic about how you will manage the journey towards achieving your goals. It's better to anticipate drops in motivation or have strategies to manage when something goes wrong rather than just expecting your enthusiasm to carry you through.

Will your achievements satisfy you? However well some people do in making progress towards their goals or achieving them they are never satisfied, always thinking they could have done better, done it more quickly, made more money .... If that’s what you find yourself doing all this negative self talk will do is make you feel miserable. View your achievements fairly within the context and environment in which you operate. There’s nothing wrong in wanting to stretch yourself but if your expectations of yourself are unreasonable you will cause yourself unnecessary stress and unhappiness.


In order to achieve your goals it’s important that whilst stretching yourself you don’t set yourself up for failure or cause yourself unnecessary stress by having unrealistic expectations. There are all sorts of issues that can impact on your progress and it’s important that you’re able to manage that. Be realistic about your circumstances, your skills, your time and remember to cut out any negative self talk that you should have done better.

How realistic are your expectations?

Street Talk


Oh man, you speak such sense. I guess I haven't been overly realistic, I just never think I'm learning fast enough.

  about 1 decade ago

You and me too! But I know by being unrealistic you actually achieve less - so I try to keep control of it.

  about 1 decade ago

It's definitely a work in progress and try to be nice to myself and remember how far I've come. Thanks!

  about 1 decade ago
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