The Covid-19 Diaries: The Trap of Unrealistic Expectations

We’ve all been there. That moment before you embark on a new goal. Motivation levels are at their peak. Expectations are sky high about all you’re going to achieve. Targets are written down with deadlines in the diary. The plan is carefully designed and ready to be executed to perfection. It’s all there, laid out in front of you.

And then life happens. Something goes awry. Initial progress stalls or in some cases is completely thwarted. And so you give up and admit defeat. You punish yourself mentally because your quest for perfection led you to a place where you became unable to deal with inevitable failure.

Best Laid Plans…

I say “inevitable” because…LIFE HAPPENS! What’s the saying? “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry” or “The devil fools with the best laid plans”. Whichever you associate with more, the sentiment is the same.

We’re living through a period in time where we’re all just trying to do our best. When facing huge areas of uncertainty in one area of our life, we often turn our attention to the areas we CAN control. The danger here is that we set ourselves unrealistic expectations. Those feelings of failure creep in, often followed by guilt, shame and helplessness.

Focusing on things inside our control rather than things we have no influence on is an excellent tool to relieve stress and put things into perspective. The problems occur when we become too focused on a perfectly executed plan rather than simply enjoying the process and what we’ve learnt along the way.

Premier Performance?

Let’s say you’ve set yourself the goal of eating a healthier diet. I recently heard an excellent analogy to use in this context. Say you play for the football team who are favourites to win the Premier League this season. You know the goal is to win the league within a set time frame and it’s more than achievable. And then you lose a match. What happens then? Well, you don’t pull out of the league. Instead, you pick yourselves up and reflect on your performance. You applaud the things you did well and fine tune the areas you need to improve.

Then you MOVE ON to the next match. Still chipping away towards that goal. You take things one game at a time.

Lockdown Goals and Unrealistic Expectations

You might be using this time to focus on your fitness, nutrition, career, homeschooling, or embarking on a new hobby. All these are an incredible use of your time, and anyone choosing to pour their time and energy into something new in a period of huge uncertainty should be applauded.

None of these plans need to be perfectly executed. In fact, if you do achieve perfection, would you learn quite so much along the way?

Think back to those sessions in the gym. You may have been hoping for the perfect training session but then you missed a few lifts. It didn’t mean that you ditched the next day’s training.

The same applies with nutrition: one meal of overconsumption doesn’t need to lead to a domino effect of poor nutritional choices.

The Value of LiftOff

Part of our value at LiftOff comes from our coaches’ ability to work with you to build your own specific, realistic and achievable goals. We’re here when things don’t go as well as you’d hoped, helping you to reflect on the reasons why. Whilst compassion is something we all need to practice giving ourselves more readily, our coaches have it by the bucket load.

Don’t do yourself a dis-service by setting yourself unrealistic expectations on the pathway to your goal. Accept the mishaps, the slip-ups, the days/sessions/meals that don’t go to plan. They are the ones in which we reflect, learn, and ultimately grow.

If any of these issues resonate with you and you would like to discuss them further, please get in contact.

Coach Amy