But the highest expectations we have often come from ourselves. That overwhelming stress you feel when you wake up to face a new day - the one that reminds you of all that you have not completed and all that needs to be done - those are the expectations I am talking about.
The ones that make you feel like a failure.
Placing high expectations on ourselves comes naturally and can come without much work. They pile up in our thoughts and quite often bring the stress to our days.
In order to not let those expectations take over, you can do a few things to control them and to eliminate that amount of stress on yourself.
1. Write Them Out. It takes time and effort to go through those expectations, sort them out, and organize them by importance. However, by spending the time to do this you are already taking away some of the stress you are holding inside by making them visible through the physical act of writing them out.
2. Eliminate. Cross out all of the expectations you have set for yourself that are unattainable, unreasonable, or simply too much. Remind yourself that you can't do everything - you are not superwoman! :) If some of them are tasks that still need to be done, think of how you can delegate.
3. Set Goals. For the expectations you have left, set goals as to how and when you will accomplish them. Some will be short term and could be finished within a week. Some might take a year. If some expectations are about cleaning the house, or cooking a meal - make a goal to set up a meal plan or a cleaning schedule. If some expectations are about waking up every day at a certain time, set up a plan. If you have a goal to start a new hobby or to begin an Etsy shop, make sure you set a realistic amount of time to complete that goal with a daily plan to help you reach the end.
These goals are not meant to add more stress to your expectations. They are meant to help you focus on attaining these expectations in a way that is reasonable and doable. Remember to make your goals specific and realistic. Read my post on 5 Ways to Fail at Goal Setting for more of an idea as to how to do this.
5. Give Yourself Grace. Whether this is about setting goals or planning your days, be sure to give yourself grace on those days when things don't turn out how you wanted. You may have a day with extreme low energy, or a day where 100 things seem to be going wrong. Allow yourself to stray from your personal expectations and goals on days like these. Perhaps, take the time to reassess your plan in the middle of the day to make it more applicable for that day.
Be reminded that you cannot do everything -- no one does everything. Allow yourself to be okay with this.