Great Expectations

Recently I completed my first official race in two years (I had taken a break while pregnant and after having my son). I really enjoyed being back and the feeling of achievement after completing the race. I was very aware that I was only looking to complete the race and not to compete against myself for a time. That’s not how my mindset was at the start of the day though! I had entered the race in January to challenge and push myself to achieve a performance goal. But the reality was that I had not prepared or trained correctly in order to produce a good result.
So there I was on race day feeling nervous, anxious even, and getting myself worked up about what lay ahead (a very hilly and challenging half marathon). As I sat on the bus that took us to the start line I realised I was nervous because I hadn’t adjusted my expectations to match my training. In the back of my head somewhere I was expecting myself to do a good race but yet I had done no hill training and the bare minimum of road training! I had to really tell myself to cop on! Why had I not adjusted my expectations when I realised I had not done the training required beforehand? So here was my chance, sitting on the bus with the smell deep heat in the air and the sound of mostly male runners chatting about how they plan to tackle the terrain! I could allow myself to continue to get freaked out or I could adjust my expectations. So I decided that I knew I done enough training to complete this race but definitely not enough to compete against my past running self. Once I decided I only wanted to complete this race a weight was lifted off my shoulders. I was actually smiling now thinking I CAN DO THIS! as opposed to my previous thought CAN I DO THIS?
This experience made me think about how we all set a gauge of expectation of ourselves in our lives. The problem can be that some people expect too much of themselves by setting unrealistic goals. But likewise there is also a problem when setting no goals in your life to the point where you don’t expect anything from yourself. Each of these scenarios can create inner discontent as you are either consistently disappointed in yourself because of your perceived failures or you have no sense of what you are really capable of which can contribute to low self-esteem.
I believe it takes real time, effort and honesty to set realistic and meaningful goals in your life. By spending the time and effort creating these goals then you know your expectations of yourself are achievable and worthwhile to take the time to achieve. Meaningful goal setting is a skill that can be honed and once mastered can alter your approach in every area of your life. When applied it can also give you a sense of a fulfilment and satisfaction. So be honest with yourself, are you setting goals too high or too low in your life? Maybe you’re setting realistic goals that you are not following through on, if not, then why not? Call me today if you feel you want coaching to help you enhance your meaningful goal setting skills.