Three Ways to Establish Realistic Expectations

There is a silent quarrel within me. On one side of the battleground is understanding, compassion, and patience the other side stands failure, intolerance, and passion.
They push they pull they struggle, they throw fits they call names they hit scratch and punch. Each one of them little soldiers struggling to win the fight, yearning to come out on top. The battlefield fuels them further, egging them on. Who is the master of this stadium? Who is this master of these great forces? And why does she wish for them to fight rather than flourish together? Expectations. Yes, expectations is the ruler of this twisted rivalry and silently from within me she often charms the battle onward to another battlefield which is a disappointment. An arena I wish to never visit. 

If you followed along with my heavily metaphorical story featured above you might get the sense that my struggle with my own expectations have plagued me, as they do many others. It took me many years to realize that expectations were the source of countless disappointments and mounting impatience experienced towards myself and others. I felt and sometimes still feel as though I live in a bubble, often not knowing that it is my own expectations and sometimes not reality that causes these disappointments. So how does one figure it all out? How do you change the stadium of expectations to a coliseum of realistic exceptions? Well, these questions got my thinker thinking…

So thinking I am, about my own unrealistic expectations in life. What leads me to this
type of disappointment?

Well, it always seems to be a matter of people that I struggle with. I seem to have a difficult time knowing what other people are capable of and how that works into my own life. Do not fret my friends, I have gotten better. Although I still need to work out my expectations and take a step back to ensure I am viewing things realistically, I am happy to report that with the help of these three tricks below I have been able to better analyze my expectations and the expectations I have of others in my life.


Outline your goals and the potential steps to achieving those goals

If it is a raise you are looking for or a new car, outline the object of your desire and the steps to achieving it, even if you just do this in your mind. Try not to only envision one result, and look at things as a series of steps to the result. This makes waiting much more enjoyable and helps clear off disappointment.

So if you want that raise you to need to recognize that you may not obtain it right away, understand that there are steps to achieving most anything in life and it is up to you to remain realistic about your goals. Reach for the stars but beware of engine trouble!

Practice empathy and patience

Exercising empathy and patience has been particularly important for me when I am dealing with people. I often put people I care for on a pedestal, being guilty of expecting too much. This causes me disappointment when they fail to follow through on the things that I unintentionally and unannounced to them set out for them to do. Sometimes friends are able to give %100 other times only %50.

Try not to take things personally when someone can’t deliver what you might expect normally from them. Be patient, be kind, with everyone as often as possible. That includes you, you are allowed to fail and disappoint also, try not to beat yourself up when that happens. Be patient and then push forward.

Be clear about your wants and needs

This ties into the first point quite a bit. It is important to be clear with the people in your life and yourself about what you need and what you want once your own goals and expectations have been established. Sometimes it is hard to tell a friend, a parent or partner how you feel when it comes to your expectations. Perhaps you feel worried that you will be disappointed if they reveal they are unable to deliver what you need. However keep in mind the disappointment you will feel as time passes, it may be much worse. Resentments could grow to push you further from the people you care for or yourself and both relationships and you could suffer a great deal. In that situation, it is only yourself you can blame.

For example, if you want to get married one day and in the beginning of a new relationship you are not clear about that, then who can you blame when your partner reveals that they don’t wish for the same? It is a very real notion and it is your responsibility to know what your own expectations are and to be clear with others if those expectations involve them.

So create a plan and goals, be patient with yourself and others, and be clear about your needs. Seems simple enough really, but take it from me if you struggle with expectations especially high unrealistic ones then practicing these tricks may be a struggle.



  1. lakeafton | 25th Jan 16

    I agree that you must be clear in what you want from others. But also, that if they can’t deliver it does not change a relationship. Set your goals high, but know that everything takes time. Don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t accomplish everything. Enjoy the ride.

    • StephJ | 25th Jan 16

      Wise words! So very true, I hope to keep that in mind and practice more patience myself 🙂

  2. live_a_life_less_ordinary | 25th Jan 16

    Thank you… I needed this.

    • StephJ | 25th Jan 16

      I am glad you enjoyed!

  3. Nícia | 26th Jan 16

    I used to worry about not achieving all my dreams, but it came a time where I’ve come to peace with it. I didn’t need to accomplish them all to be fulfilled, I just need to be sure of the ones I really wanted to become real, and focusing on them.

    Have the best day ever,

    Nícia <3

    • StephJ | 26th Jan 16

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts! Cheers!

  4. Nícia | 26th Jan 16

    Reblogged this on and commented:
    I’m copying the comment I’ve left on the blog itself. Because it sums up really well what I feel about this post:

    I used to worry about not achieving all my dreams, but it came a time where I’ve come to peace with it. I didn’t need to accomplish them all to be fulfilled, I just need to be sure of the ones I really wanted to become real, and focusing on them.

  5. timelesswheel | 28th Jan 16

    I think we shouldn’t keep expectations even after being clear as to what we want from a relationship. Because people change their minds all the time. Sometimes, it doesn’t really matter what we want, people do what they want even if it contradicts what they said they’d do or want. Maybe we should just keep no expectations at all and be ready for everything…

    • StephJ | 28th Jan 16

      I like your point. Perhaps having no expectations is the goal I should try and set. Especially when it comes to people! and relationships!

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