Expectations – good or bad?

Expectations – good or bad?

This article is from today’s newsletter

Expecting is a state of mind where you are anticipating something to happen (or not happen).

It’s something everyone does and a lot of the time we don’t realise that we are doing it. Whilst expectations can be necessary for effective action taking, they are in themselves neither good or bad, but our judgement to the outcome make them so. 

To break that down a bit further. If the outcome matched the expectation, you will think that it was “good”, but if the outcome wasn’t what you anticipated you might end up disappointed or say that your expectations were “too high”. You might even lower them for a similar occasion in the future. 


Setting expectations on yourself will keep you working at your highest standards, which is a great trait to have and will keep you proactive throughout your life. But it doesn’t mean that success will be a walk on roses. Sometimes you can do “everything right” and still not move forward. But that doesn’t mean that you are unsuccessful in your efforts, only that the outcome didn’t match the expectation.


So there are two possible reasons to this. 

  1. You are off track and need to change your strategy. 
  2. You are not patient enough and don’t realise that things don’t always happen linearly.

I believe expectations are great when you are looking at the bigger picture, but not when you are stuck on details.

For example, when it comes to dieting you can expect that if you are consistent overtime your weight will reduce. But if your expectations is that it’s going to happen in a linear fashion every day, you are bound to be disappointed at some point. There are simply too many variables that plays a role in weight fluctuations, and if you have stuck to your diet, there is no reason for you to get upset if you have a higher reading on the scale one day.


When setting expectations on your efforts, being a perfectionist may also cause you to stress out and fall off the waggon, so be realistic here.

  • Expect you staying within your calorie target, not necessarily hit your protein goal with a 0.5g margin day in and day out. The bigger picture will tell you that when it comes to fat loss it is more important to be in a caloric deficit, than it is to nail your protein to the gram.
  • Expect that you train hard in the gym, not that every session is going to be the best one. The bigger picture is that progress in the gym is not always an increase in load, but also your ability to perform an exercise better is a huge progress marker.
  • Expect that your week will throw challenges at you and you’ll need to be flexible, not that you are always going to have it your way. The bigger picture is that consistency over time is key, perfection sets the bar so high you will eventually fail. 

So you can expect that you do your best in every situation, but you can’t expect that the outcome is exactly what you want. Just keep your head down and continue working, and know that there is not failure, only learning. 


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