When we have an internal representation of how we believe it should be, if our expectations don’t match to reality, we will immediately receive a negative emotional response – frustration, disappointment, lack of self-belief etc. The degree of this emotional response will depend on how far the expectation is from the truth.
To manage our expectations and avoid experiencing a negative emotional response we need to be realistic when it comes to setting our goals. We need to understand that the journey to where we want to be will not be a straight road but one that bends unexpectedly.
This brings us back to that perfectionist mentality and how creating ridged structures with no flexibility will inevitably end you in a negative frame of mind. Life isn’t perfect and we will all experience setbacks and unexpected changes on both micro and macro scales. It is how we respond to those setbacks that will determine our success.
We have three different options when it comes to dealing with unexpected changes along our journey, whether that be illness, injury, change of job, house move, finances etc.
Option Number One – this is the option that we habitually go to, it is to blame and complain by only focusing on the negatives or what is missing from your expectations. The problem with this option is that there is little movement for progress and the longer you keep your expectations and reality apart you will maintain the immediate negative emotional response towards your health journey.
Option Number Two – Is to change an external factor within your control, be proactive and tackle the outside world to change the life factors that have caused this immediate emotional response. This will ensure you will get back on the track you were supposed to be on (in your expectations). However, until you have got the new job or relationship or recovered from injury you will still suffer that negative emotional response. Using terminology such as “I will be happy when …”
Option Number Three – Is to change your internal world, by changing your current expectations of what it should have been you will release the negative emotional response and allow yourself to progress despite this change of circumstances. Goals are created from internal feeling’s; therefore, our expectations can be managed by internal processes.
Ideally, we use a mixture of options two and three to maintain consistency in an imperfect journey to health.