By Jamie Kirk
First and foremost re-read the title. This little article is about when to potentially lower your expectations, not lowering your standards. Even though you may have communicated to others, written the goal down in your journal, and (sigh) posted it on social media. You just may have to step back and reset what you were committed to achieving. Not what you want to achieve, just relaxing the date assigned or the approach to get there.
When the time comes for resetting our goals, it can be a very dramatic process. We sometimes feel like a failure. Sometimes we can feel like we didn’t give it all we had. Sometimes we can feel like we didn’t have the support we needed. Sometimes we can feel like it is the end of the world. But we have to get over this negative self-talk, put on our big boy/girl boots and get back at it.
What I have noticed is often it is not the standards that we need to address, it’s the steps that must happen before we reach our goal. Our standards are developed over years and years of preparation and sacrifice. So to think that our standards may be too high is foolishness and out of the question. Our standards should represent who we are, what we deserve and what will ultimately make our life full of peace and joy. And no one can determine that but us.
When you lower your expectations many times, it is because the expectation is potentially controlled by someone or something else. An expectation can be adjusted when you realize it is not lining up with the standard. For example, if money is tight and someone close to you says “I am going to give you money for a brand new car,” and they don’t come through. You may have to adjust your expectation and settle for a bike. You are not lowering your standard of being mobile; you just are adjusting the steps and the expectations you once had for that person.
Lowering your expectations and lowering your standards are as different as night and day. The frustration comes in when we allow them to overlap and become dependent on one another. If it is important to us and it is part of the fabric of who we are; we won’t compromise the standard. If it is something we really and truly want to enhance the quality of our life, we will reset, extend or delay the when and the how, but we will not stop striving to hit the ultimate standard that we have set.
I know, I know, people automatically think standard(s) as it relates to material possessions or the type of individuals we date or become partnered with. Those are choices, not standards. Standards are 100% controlled and dependent upon our individual efforts because we want it bad enough. We will not allow someone else to get credit for it – it is that important. Standards represent the core authenticity of who we are.
The next time you realize that you have to adjust your expectations, don’t spend timing figuring out why you need to. Who let you down. Why you can’t catch a break. Use that time and figure out the new Plan B. Use the time to sit down, in a calming environment and inspect what you expect. The writing will be on the wall regarding how you need to get that standard met. Leave the standard where it is on your personal roadmap, just perhaps take a different route to get there.
Jamie Kirk works for a software company and is a certified spinning instructor. He also enjoys yoga, swimming, bicycling and running. He aspires to start a blog about what we put in our bodies not only fuels our body but our mind and spirit as well. Follow Jamie on IG @tysonsdad.