So, you’re motivated to make some changes and you’re willing to do anything you possibly can to achieve these goals. I would love nothing more! But, anytime you start a journey to make a lifestyle change, it can be tough. You can expect some bumps along the way which is why it’s important to set real expectations. For the long run.
Hey, I’m not perfect, you’re not perfect… and no one expects us to be. Because they’re not perfect either.
Set Real Expectations in the Face of Challenges
Sustainable change is all about learning how to set real expectations in the face of life’s challenges. If there’s one thing you can expect in life, it’s that things will always come up: parties, birthdays, anniversaries, life-altering events, stress, work, travel, sickness…COVID-19. Challenges will always be there whether we like it or not.
Don’t run from challenges. Anticipate them.
Challenges are part of life and unique opportunities for learning more about ourselves.
Research shows that while our behaviors may seem “spur-of-the-moment,” when it comes to over-eating, for example, the groundwork is laid several hours, days, months…years, in advance by our daily rituals, habits, mindset and automatic thinking. Your actions in the face of a challenge are simply the last link in a long chain of decisions.
The goal of today is all about recognizing your actions in the face of a challenge:
- What is the root cause of those actions?
- How can you learn from those events?
- … and most importantly, How can you move forward?
According to James P. Leahy, author of Bridging the Expectation Gap: The Key to Happiness, unrealistic expectations create an expectation gap which leads to unhappiness and feelings of failure.
If you’re in this for instant gratification, don’t expect your changes to last. On the other hand, if you’re in this to embrace life-long, healthy habits that you can learn from, you can expect some amazing things to happen now, next month and even more the following year at your annual physical. That’s why if you make a mistake, it’s important to be nice to yourself.
Don’t let one mistake derail an entire day or a whole week.
Set Yourself Up For Success with Real Expectations
Expectations have an enormous effect on our outcome, energy, drive.
In fact, multiple studies show that the way we manage our expectations can heavily influence our ability to experience happiness in life, work and even health outcomes.
When life gets crazy and you end up making a mistake, the one thing that you can control is how you RESPOND in that moment. Remember, you are in charge of your own actions, choices and reactions, regardless of any circumstance.
Letting emotions control you is the easy way out. It’s easier to do (or say) things in the heat of the moment… that you may regret down the line.
But, it takes internal strength to pause, breathe, and make a sound decision by staying calm under pressure. And that starts with setting realistic expectations for yourself in the face of a challenge.
“When we can no longer change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” ~Viktor Frankl
Rather than focusing on perfection, anticipate challenges to occur and then pour all of your energy into simply committing to doing your very best every day with the hand you are dealt.
Common Mistakes and Their Fixes
Here are a few common mistakes many people struggle with and their common “fix.”
You deter from your normal way of eating and indulge in something outside of the norm, feel guilty and then proceed to eat everything in sight.
Remind yourself that slipping up a little is not the same as slipping up a lot. Own up to your choices and move forward.
Eating portion sizes like a 5 year old during the day and then binging at night.
Of course you feel ravenous.
Of course you feel hangry.
Of course you feel out of control.
Your body is trying to do everything it can to signal to you that it needs to fuel itself. Instead, by eating balanced meals full of animal protein, vegetables, fruit, nuts, and seeds throughout the day– you will reap the benefits of feeling satiated, full of energy, sleeping sound & through the night, and saying ‘goodbye’ to feeling ravenous late at night.
Waiting until 9pm to realize you still have 1,000 mL of water to drink.
Plan. Ahead. Do the math based on how much water you need and spread it out throughout your day. Rubber bands on water bottles, water app, giant jug…whatever set up works best for you, embrace it and just be ok with the fact that you’re going to probably be going to the bathroom a lot more than you were before. Just don’t let it interrupt your sleep by waiting until night to chug a liter.
Set Real World Expectations
For the next few weeks, focus on making deliberate choices that reflect reality.
There is so much outside of our control.
Focus on what you can actually control and let go of the things you can’t. Set real expectations for yourself, expect challenges to be there and use them to grow stronger.
Ask yourself these two questions:
What’s one thing that I can expect to get in the way of achieving my goals?
And what can I do today to help me keep going when I face that specific obstacle?
To learn more about making important improvements to your nutrition and exercise program, give us a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org.