How to Overcome Unrealistic Expectations as a Millennial: A Detailed Guide
What is the source of all the misery? I asked someone I respect a lot. He said having Unrealistic expectation from yourself or from someone. What is unrealistic expectation – I asked. Something which is just not possible. But aren’t we suppose to set our targets higher so that we feel motivated? I got no answer.
This was the point where I asked myself should we have expectations or we shouldn’t? How much is too much to expect? How do we know that, prior to setting our expectations so that we don’t end up hurting ourselves?
To explain all of the above questions in the article I’ll be using two scenarios ‘One where you expect too much from someone and how to avoid that’ and ‘Another where you expect too much from yourself and how to avoid it’
Also, to explain this concept better I’ll be using a personal story of mine where I had unrealistic expectations from someone and one where I had unrealistic expectations from myself.
First things First – Not having unrealistic expectation is an unrealistic expectation in itself so don’t read it with a mindset that you won’t have unrealistic expectations after this article. Because we’re all humans and we tend to set unrealistic expectation consciously or subconsciously, what’s more important is awareness and working towards it.
Setting Unrealistic Expectation from Someone
Be it a relationship with your parents, your partner or your friend. We all tend to set unrealistic expectations from the opposite person but we just don’t seem to meet our needs because no two minds are the same.
In the august of 2018, I had the pleasure to meet one of the smartest minds I ever came across in Mumbai. We met in a Seminar and soon a professional contact became one of the best friends I ever had.
Soon we started hanging out together at the coffee shop and movies and even dinner. However, in the mid July of 2019. I started developing some expectations. Those expectations were – You must be available 24X7 as and when I need you. You must know what I am trying to say. You must agree with me or at least don’t tell me if you disagree.
Kind of a jerk, wasn’t I?
Now I did not say all these things to that person but my actions did speak that this is what am seeking, which became my expectations.
What was the result of all this? A good relationship was scarred. Now comes the first step of getting rid of unrealistic expectations.
Awareness – At least I was aware that my actions were not right and what is it that I am behaving this way for? Answer was Unrealistic Expectation!
How did I manage to overcome that?
Steps to overcome unrealistic Expectations from someone else
Step 1 – Awareness
As you could understand from my story, I was well aware of my actions and my behavior. I knew that I was expecting way too much and hurting my own self. So, I was the cause of all these problems
“The acknowledgement of a single possibility can change everything”
Once you are aware of this and have a concrete proof of your actions go to Step 2
Step 2 – Turn your Expectation into Appreciation (Very Important)
Once you are aware of the situation it is now time to change your Expectation into Appreciation. That’s what I had done and it really helped me. Since my expectations were unrealistic what was happening was, I was hurting myself and the relationship.
So a scarred relationship was no way better than the relationship I had in Mid-January. That’s what I told myself. So, how did I turn my Expectations into Appreciation?
By asking questions!
Here are the few questions that I asked myself and you should too if you want to change your Expectation into Appreciation –
Question 1 – What was the need to develop this expectation in the first place?
Question 2 – Was this my expectation or did I learn this from somewhere? (Chances are in such cases you tend to develop expectations by looking at others)
Question 3 – Should I force my behavior on that person to meet my needs or was it met naturally earlier?
Question 4 – Am I happy with how things are? Was I happier with or without this expectation?
Question 5 – What all things I liked about that person back then? (In my case- what all things I liked in the august of 2018) (Things that got your attention in the first place)
Question 6 – Would it be ok if I don’t get to feel that feeling altogether?
These are the few questions that will help you to start removing those expectation and replace it with Appreciation.
Step 3 – Empower the new mindset
Once you have all the reason noted it’s time to empower that mindset. Because chances are bad habits don’t go away easily.
“Repetition is the mother of all skills”
The more you keep reminding yourself the more likely it is to get rid of the behavior.
This was to address the unrealistic expectations that you have from someone else but how do fight the mindset where you have unrealistic expectation from your own self?
Let’s find out!
Setting Unrealistic Expectation for oneself –
Being one of the most innovative generations in the history, Millennials feel that if we set our targets high enough, we will reach it. No doubt we will but how much is too much? How do we know that before setting our expectations in the first place?
To make you understand this better we can divide this into two parts –
Part 1 – How do we know beforehand that our expectation is too high and if not met we might feel down?
Part 2 – What do we do when we’ve already set our expectations too high and we feel down about it?
First will summarize part 2 in short as the steps used in these are similar to the steps, we showed in How to Overcome Unrealistic Expectation from Someone Else-
- Know that you did made some wrong calculations and Its time to revisit your expectations and make some changes
- Appreciation > Expectation
- Appreciate that at least you tried. Change your Expectation into appreciation. Give kudos to yourself to at least have tried it out.
- Empower the new
- What I mean by changing your mindset is you have to keep telling yourself about the new opportunity you have to get achievable results. Empower that mindset
Steps to overcome unrealistic Expectations from yourself (How do you know beforehand that your expectations are much high to be met)
Before getting an admission in my final year college I was very pumped up to get the body of my dreams. I did not think twice and directly went ahead and got a gym membership just because I was too excited to get the body I want.
However building muscles and endurance requires proper amount of nutrition and back in the days, I had little to no clue about it.
What happens next?
I was certainly not the kind of person who goes on a diet and follows a particular diet plan.
I ended up leaving the gym and felt miserable to not having full knowledge and the right mindset before getting into it.
Because of lack of information about what I wanted I did suffer from a terrible
Step 1 – Know Yourself
When we buy a new product from the market, we tend to check what all it can do and what all it can’t. Is it capable to do so and so task? What if you over use it? We ask that questions before making a purchase, right?
Then why don’t we spend some time knowing ourselves? What all are we capable of?
Now, by no means I am saying that we aren’t capable to do stuff but I am just saying what all we are capable do at that moment with the expertise and experience we have?
To know yourself ask these questions before setting an expectation for yourself –
Question 1 – Have I done this before? How was the experience? Was it exhausting or fun?
Question 2 – Do I know of someone who got it done with the same level of expertise that I have?
Question 3 – Do I know a way to keep moving if I got stuck?
Step 2 – Build yourself first for the task
Let’s say you would like to Run 200 meter within 20 seconds. You just don’t lace your boots and start running, right? You must first prepare yourself that is in this case you must build your leg muscles. You must learn to breathe properly so you don’t run breathless. You just don’t do it blindly.
Similarly while planning your expectations towards yourself, you must first know whether or not your capable to do meet that. How can you learn more about it? What sort of a skill is required to achieve the desired expectations?
Step 3 – Enjoy working on yourself
Not only you must find out about your level of expertise to achieve the desired results. You must be willing to put it in the work and while putting in the work you must enjoy the process.
If you don’t enjoy the work that you’ll do than it makes no sense to keep doing it as there would come a breaking point and you would not know how to handle it.
So this is how we as a millennials can overcome unrealistic expectations from ourselves, set our minds free and just do the work that needs to be done.
Hey, y'all I'm Faisal!!👋
I’m SO excited you’re here! I’m super passionate about improving ourselves and the daily challenges we Millennials go through, gives me hope to change our lives for good!