Goal Setting: Expectation v. Reality
Have you ever set goals expecting a very specific result only to have reality deliver you something completely different?
I know I have! And honestly, it isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes the detour we end up on is where we are meant to be. But, for the majority of us it’s important to get realistic about where our goals might lead us so we don’t end up disappointed with our results.
Today I’m going to share with you a little about expectations v. reality and how we can be kinder to ourselves on our journey to our goals.
Goal setting always seems more straightforward in concept than it is in execution. For me, dreaming up the goals is the fun part! It’s exciting, it’s motivating and it can cause us to set some really high expectations. Which is why I’ve learned to slide my rose colored glasses down my nose after I’ve set my goals. If not, I may end up with a major dissonance between my expectations and my reality.
Dreaming up what we want to do and how we want to do it is exciting, motivating and the perfect place to begin. But once we have that dream we need to start mapping out our action plan to get there. *If you want help mapping an action plan to your goals visit my Coaching Services page or send me an email about my self paced program about goal setting WDYW* My number one tip for this is to take your big goal and break it down into TINY TINY BITE SIZED goals. Make them as small as you need and be kind to yourself while you do it – life is not a race.
If you miss a step, you get stuck somewhere or you miss a few days of your new habit be kind to yourself. Don’t quit, don’t start backtracking, don’t give up on your desired change; instead of restarting take a moment to see how far you have come, celebrate the steps you have taken and see if there is an even smaller step you can take towards your goal.
Slow change isn’t sexy but it’s stable and effective.
Sounds easy on paper but I know managing our expectations of ourselves is hard work. I’ve noticed that many of us either over or underestimate our ability to change quickly. We view a mistake or a missed day as a failure instead of a chance to get better at change and then we use the failure as an excuse to quit or be mean to ourselves.
So instead of being mean to ourselves we need to learn to embrace adapting. It’s time to remove the expectations and get in touch with our reality.
When we get stuck it’s a sign that our approach isn’t working. It does not mean we should quit, it just means we need to try something new or change our desired outcome. Next time you get stuck on a goal setting journey check in with yourself. Try asking yourself the following:
- Do I still want the goal I’m going after? What is it about that desired result that I am after?
- Are my expectations of this process not being met?
- Is there a way to approach this step differently?
Answering the questions above will help you figure out your next step. Getting super clear on what we want before going for our goals is important but even the best laid plans need to adapt at times. Sometimes we fall more in love with the idea of completing a goal than the goal itself. Occasionally we set ourselves up to expect a result that isn’t directly tied to the goal we set. It gets messy.
It’s Ok to Change Your Mind
It’s ok to have to change things up; you are not a work project you are allowed to change your mind. Keep your goal setting human and check in with yourself (or have a coach help you!).
I hope this helps you get a bit clearer on your expectations v reality as we head into the goal setting season. And if you are still exhausted from 2020 it’s ok to hold off on setting goals until you are ready. You do not have to start your goals on January 1st – you can start making a change today, next month, or later in the year. Take care of you first.
** please do not use this post to replace mental or physical health care from a physician. Always work with a licensed professional when it comes to your health.