What do you expect of yourself?

If you think about it, all of us have expectations – whether conscious or subconscious.

When we’re not feeling our best, we like to say that we don’t expect anything from anyone or anything, but if that was true we wouldn’t be feeling low. (Usually what we mean is that we don’t expect anything GOOD from anyone.)

Many times our not-so-good times stem from things others have done or said, how they made us feel, the promotion or project we didn’t get, the manner in which some loved one spoke to or treated us, neglect, embarrassment. In short, our unmet expectations lead us to disappointment, sadness and anger. Likewise, when our expectations are met we feel light, happy, celebratory; unless, of course, our expectations were negative. In that case, when that negative thing happens we don’t celebrate it, but we do feel a certain sense of satisfaction from being right.

We all have expectations – whether they are unrealistic or too low or bred from entitlement. That simple fact makes them very important.

So, what do you expect of yourself? What do you really think you can achieve in your lifetime? Are your expectations yours, or are they a compilation of others’ expectations of you? Do you even know what you expect from yourself?

Grab a pen, pencil, marker, whatever is close by, and write one expectation beside each of the following categories, then add your own categories and continue to do the same.

  • Family relationships
  • Partner
  • Friendships
  • Health and fitness
  • Talents and skills
  • Career
  • Finances

Be honest.


Put a checkmark beside the ones that require work of you. Put an ‘x’ beside those that require work of others. We’ll focus on the checkmarks. You can voice your ‘x’s and hope they’ll be met, but they are out of your control. No one has to do what you want. You only have control over the actions you take if they are not met.

Back to you and those checkmarks now. It’s time to elevate your expectations. Make them more about what you desire for the future, than what you will settle for in the present. In other words, push yourself, and give yourself tangible goals to reach for.

Revisit your list in a few months and see how many of your expectations have been met, how many you let go because they didn’t reflect you, and how many you still have to work on. Then add whatever new ones you find yourself with.

Your expectations are important. Treat them so.

There is no medicine like hope, no incentive so great, and no tonic so powerful as expectation of something tomorrow.

Orison Swett Marden

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