In today's world, our daily lives are consumed by unreasonable expectations. Unreasonable expectations that we set for ourselves, and that others place upon us.
Our society is obsessed with results. We are constantly seeking the fastest way to the finish line - both at work and in our personal life. Achieving the highest sales in the shortest amount of time - or loosing 20 pounds in 2 weeks.
Ultimately we are setting ourselves up for complete and totally failure.
Society tells us to shoot for the stars. And I'm not going to tell you that you shouldn't, but you do need to have a more reasonable mindset about the results.
Of course you can shoot for the stars. Honestly, I really hope you do. But you can't reach the stars in a day.
The truth is...all goals take time. Big or small. And too often we short change ourselves with the amount of time we allow ourselves, or others, to spend on reaching any set goal.
It is like thinking you can lose 20 pounds in 2 weeks.
You starve yourself nearly to death, and drop a few pounds at first. But you leave yourself weak, starving, and defeated.
You most likely will not loose 20 pounds, regardless of how little you consume. And instead send you body into panic mode. Until you inevitably snap, eat everything in sight, and give up. Likely landing yourself right back where you started, if not even a few pounds heavier.
We want it all, and we want it right now. All or nothing.
But this way of thinking will not get you far at work, or in your personal life. It will only lead you down a path of stress, self loathing, and inevitable defeat.
So how can we change the cycle?
Goals are important to help us moving forward. But we have to set realistic goals for ourselves and others. Or at least break down big goals into more realistic steps.
Many of you have heard of SMART goals. Specific. Measurable. Achievable. Results-focused. Time-bound.
The idea of SMART goals can be helpful for many people. But not every goal you have will fit perfectly into these parameters.
What is important to remember is that have parameters.
Keep your goals on a leash. Within reach. Make sure you break them down into reasonable steps, and be sure you can see your path to the outcome.
It may be helpful to think of things in tiny, incremental steps, leading you slowly to your end goal.
When it comes to the goals you set in your personal life, remember that you have full control over both the goals you set, and the steps you take to achieve them.
When it comes to work, you may have less control over the expectations put on you.
You may not be able to control the tasks your boss gives you, or even the timeline. But you do have control over how you respond.
When a task seems unreasonable - first try to break it down into more manageable steps or tasks.
Sometimes taking just a moment to break things down can help us transform the most stressful, overwhelming task into a simple list of 10 tiny accomplishments.
Above all else, know how to recognize when something is completely unreasonable.
And 99% of the time, we set the most unreasonable expectations on ourselves.
Your human. And because of that, you can only do so much.
So remember that unrealistic expectations aren't going to get you very far. But breaking down the impossible into reasonable, incremental tasks, can suddenly put the impossible just within reach.