Monday, October 21, 2013

Realistic Expectations

In the month of October, each Monday, I will be writing a post on gaining peace of mind.

Your goals should always be slightly out of your reach … offering something for you to stress and strive for. However, they shouldn’t be so far out of your reach that you cannot possibly attain them. Unachievable goals set you up for failure and discouragement. In fact, it makes achieving any goals that much harder and having these kinds of goals wreaks havoc on your peace of mind.

I call it, The Biggest Loser Effect. On The Biggest Loser, it isn’t uncommon for people to lose five and even ten pounds in a week. So when we diet and exercise for that same week and only manage to lose just a pound (which is a healthy rate of weight loss), instead of feeling happy, we often agonize!

These people have devoted their entire days to losing weight. They work out for hours, they aren’t working, they are away from their families. Even the ones who get sent home, still have the powerful motivator of cameras chronicling their progress and the possibility of returning to the show in front of a national audience.

This is NOT the situation for you and me. We have jobs. We have lives that include cakes and cookies at work, dinners out with friends, church pot lucks and a host of social engagements, not to mention family and friends that aren’t into diet or exercise. We have busy schedules that don’t normally allow for hours of exercise every day.

Yet, we compare our success to this small, group of people who are going an extraordinary transformation with extraordinary circumstances.

You can apply The Biggest Loser Effect to any situation where you are looking at completely unrealistic expectations and wanting those kinds of results for yourself. Real life couples argue and go through rough patches. All office drama isn’t funny and inconsequential as it appears on a sitcom.

There is a quote from one of my favorite talk show host, Dennis Prager, and he is quoting a friend’s mom. She said, “The only happy people I know are people I don’t know very well.” Does this mean there are no happy people? Of course not. What it means is that truly happy people have a realistic happiness, there are still obstacles. There are still struggles but they have happiness in spite of those things. They aren’t living in paradise. They live in real life.

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