Not so great expectations?
From the moment we can talk and understand we are programmed to aim high. “Study hard for a great career,” is the mantra in most people’s homes and mine was no exception. As soon as I came home from school, I’d get out my books and do two to three hours’ work to get the best grades possible. My path was planned out at a young age and I followed it to the letter, meaning I was working on national newspapers in London – my dream job – in my early 20s.
A *ahem* few years on and I’m proud of what I’ve achieved, a respectable career plus a family. I am happy and have always aimed high – pushing myself to be and do the best I can. But according to experts I might have been happier if I’d aimed lower. Researchers suggest, that way, rather than being disappointed at not achieving everything we’d like, we can celebrate the small – lower set – wins.
“Lowering your expectations doesn’t have to be a negative thing,” argues celebrity life coach Sloan Sheridan-Williams. “It can be very fulfilling and rewarding if done the right way.” The key, she says, is making sure the goals are challenging but realistic, so that you can be motivated but also feel like you are making progress. “To ensure you feel happier without selling yourself short, it is crucial that you lower your expectations while also raising your standards.”
So you do less but do it better, the experts insist. Personally, I will always aim high – where’s the enjoyment in lowering the bar just to tick things off a to-do list? If we’d all done that we’d never have discovered new continents, cures for worldwide epidemics or advanced over the generations. Turn to page 46 to read more on this – and let me know what you think.