Published on April 15, 2021
(c) yayayoyo Fotosearch_k28590800
In his book, “The Truth: An Uncomfortable Book About Relationships,” Neil Strauss writes: ““Unspoken expectations are premeditated resentments.” I believe his statement contains some useful, practical information for all of us about the psychology of our expectations — especially since the most important relationship of all is the one we have with ourselves!
First, and this is a no-brainer, merely expecting something to happen will not make it happen. (Wishing and hoping doesn’t do it either.) If you believe your expectations alone will bring you what you want, you’re using magical thinking and setting yourself up for disappointment.
Second, human beings have a natural tendency to pin their hopes for happiness on fulfilled expectations. There is nothing wrong with this in and of itself, as long as we have good reasons to believe that fulfilling an expectation will make us happy, and we take the necessary steps toward fulfilling those expectations.
You expected to lose more weight by now, but didn’t.
You expected to be able to run further or faster by now . . . but aren’t.
When you expect one thing and get another, what you’re left with is an “expectation gap.”
And what fills those gaps? Disappointment.
When things don’t turn out the way we expect, it’s easy to get frustrated — especially when we’re talking about losing weight.
When you’re making what seems like all the right changes, all the right choices, but the weight still isn’t coming off, yes, it can certainly be de-motivating.
And when you continually set expectations that don’t work out as you planned, it’s easy to think: “I’m not good enough” or “This isn’t for me” or “I’m ready to quit.”
So if the problem is imagining an expectation that doesn’t come true, is the answer to not set expectations or to set lower expectations? I don’t think so. I think we need to set high expectations in order to push ourselves further than we thought we could go.
In my opinion, to set the right expectations they need to meet one rule: They should be 100% within our control. To manage disappointment, we need to differentiate between situations that fall within our control and factors that are beyond it. Being able to recognize the difference will help to deal with frustrations more appropriately.
You might not be able to control what you weigh when you step on the scale, but you absolutely can control the reasons why you eat as well as the what, how much and when you eat. So, to set realistic expectations, you first have to ask yourself what you have control over and focus your energy on those things.
Stop obsessing over how much weight you’re losing (or not losing). What you should be obsessing over is consistency. Worrying about things outside your control only takes your focus off of what you can.