Unmatched expectations the path to unhappiness

Once more I return to the ten features that make up a resilient mindset according Robert Brooks and Sam Goldstein. This week I am reflecting on the characteristic of realistic goal setting and expectations.

If you live in the UK you will know that this summer has been one of the wettest on record and many of us have suddenly started having discussions about the position of the jet stream!

Many people have reported to me a feeling of unhappiness, depression and general grumpiness about the weather this year. I have to confess I’ve felt some of these feelings myself.

However when I reflect on why these feelings seem to be so common there seems to be a pattern. We have an expectation that we will get some warm, dry, sunny weather in the summer. In the UK we recognise that there will also be some unsettled weather and yet we still have that expectation of good days.

This summer our expectations have been completely dashed and it is the mismatch of our expectations with what actually happens that creates the less than positive response.

Consider this, the same weather in October would scarcely be commented on. Why? We expect rain in October so our expectations are matched.

This mismatch of expectations happens in other areas of life too, our relationships, jobs and holidays to name just a few. Sometimes we are buying into a story book version of what life should be like and then get disappointed when the reality does not match.

In some instances we stop taking responsibility for our end of the bargain expecting positive outcomes without effort. Unrealistic expectations then lead to unrealistic goals which of course we fail to attain.

In order to be resilient we need to do a reality check. What can we realistically expect in life and our experiences? What do we need to do to manage our expectations? What goals can we realistically hope to achieve?

On first glance my points may seem quite negative and perhaps pessimistic. I would argue that the opposite is true. We can have lofty goals we just need to reality check what is required to achieve them. We need to manage our expectations and understand what needs to happen in order to achieve our goals. We need to make plans that we can realistically complete and we need to constantly “check the compass”. Are we still moving in the right direction?

By taking more responsibility for our life experience we are more likely to achieve amazing things. When we own our destiny and make it happen we are more likely to reach our potential. When we live in a fantasy of unrealistic expectations we set ourselves up to experience unhappiness and disappointment.

So how do we handle the problem with the weather? Actually our discussions about the jet stream are the start. Once we become better informed about a situation we can modify our expectations based on fact and data.

So what is the good news as regards the weather? I understand the jet stream has started to move north! Now we just need to make sure we don’t start expecting more than is realistic.

The path to a resilient mindset involves checking your expectations to make sure they are grounded and setting yourself realistic goals on this basis.

In business we talk about SMART goals and in NLP we talk about well formed outcomes. Both of these tools can help us manage our goals and create the motivation necessary to achieve them however success comes when we have realistic expectations of ourselves, others and the relevant factors.

How do you recognise realistic expectations from the unrealistic? How do you make sure you are setting goals that are achievable and yet challenging? Let me know your thoughts.

Quick reminder we have several workshops coming up and we’d love you to join us:

September: Transactional Analysis for Coaches, Trainers and Leaders

October: Free 2 day NLP 101 followed by NLP Diploma

October: Hypnotherapy training up to Master Practitioner level

For more information follow the link below!







About Melody @ GWizlearning

Melody spent fourteen years gathering experience of the business world working in banking, telecommunications and the public sector before co-founding The GWiz Learning Partnership in 1993. Melody has a Masters Degree in Applied Positive Psychology, a degree in Psychology and a diploma in Psychotherapy. She is an NLP Master Trainer which allows her to run NLP Practitioner, NLP Master Practitioner and NLP Trainer Training courses certified by the Positive School of Intrinsic Neuro-Linguistc Psychology. She is also a qualified Myers Briggs practitioner and EI practitioner and added to all this is five years Transactional Analysis training, meaning she is able to help organisations access the hidden potential in their staff. She is also in demand for her work in transforming average or even troubled teams into high performers. Melody is a visiting lecturer at University of East London, teaching "Wellbeing and Positive Psychology" to undergraduates. Additionally, she is a member of the CIPD and is ILM accredited. Melody's interests are many and varied. She has a keen interest in personal development, canine and wolf psychology, conservation, movies and running. She also enjoys western horse riding, walking the GWiz dogs, nature watching and stage combat (particularly sword fighting).
This entry was posted in Life in General, Metaphor, NLP Master Practitioner, NLP Practitioner, NLP Trainer's Training, Perception, Personal Development, relationships, resilience and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Unmatched expectations the path to unhappiness

  1. How do you recognize realistic expectations from the unrealistic?
    My husband! I am the queen of unrealistic expectations. Thank God my husband keeps me grounded. But he does it in a way that does not crush my dreams or my spirit. I think that’s important too.

    How do you make sure you are setting goals that are achievable and yet challenging?
    The fact that I set a goal is challenge enough for me! I have to start slow. Step by step. Change I want to lose weight to I want to lose 30 pounds. Then break it down further. I need to do A. B. C to lose 30 pounds. It would be nice to do them all at once but if I dont pace myself I let myself down and don’t do anything. 1. I will make sure to eat healthy today. Then add on 2. I will exercise in the house today. I even have to break the exercising down to I will do stretches and sit ups or I will go walking.

    • I like it! Sounds like you understand many important steps in the path to resilience.

      One way to develop your own strategies can be to notice patterns from your past. Become aware of times in the past when you were unrealistic and save that learning as data for future decisions.

      Thanks for joining in the discussion


  2. ANITA says:

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