How to Stop Expecting Too Much of Others

Human relationships are incredibly complicated. When we start relationships in any area of our lives, we often expect perfection. You may become irritated if others fail to meet your expectations. If you are constantly disappointed by people in your life, it is possible that you are not setting clear and timely expectations. Work to communicate your expectations to others and to set realistic goals for yourself. Rather than striving for perfection, practising self-awareness and acceptance can lead to a more balanced life.

Part 1. Setting Realistic Expectations for Employees

1. Recognize the people with whom you are collaborating. You may set expectations for a spouse, partner, or child. However, if you are in management, you will most likely set expectations for a wide range of people. When setting goals in these situations, consider each individual’s personality, work patterns, hobbies, and passions. You will be able to set more realistic expectations if you have a sense of the person. Inquire of the individual: What work tasks cause you concern?

What work activities give you the most energy?

What are your professional objectives?

How do your professional and personal objectives align with our expectations here?

How can I assist you in achieving your various objectives in a strategic and efficient manner?

2. Be clear and specific in your expectations of others. Make certain that contracts thoroughly explain duties as well as the employee’s specific role in your organisation. Employees should be made aware of their job responsibilities. Outline the individual’s responsibilities, duties, and goals.

When making a new request, consider whether it is realistic. Consider whether you can see your employee doing what you want. If the person has previously completed the task, your request is most likely reasonable. Consider whether your employee can complete the task with the time and resources available when the assignment is new.

If at all possible, assist in making the task easier. For example, if you need your employee to write a critical report, provide her with a quiet office in which she can work.

3. Establish time-bound expectations and goals. Be specific in your expectations while remaining flexible in your timeline. Make a schedule that works for both of you. When possible, offer your assistance as well.

Set regular goals with your employees. Divide projects into smaller sections, each with its own set of goals.

4. People should be followed up with. Set up regular check-ins to assess progress. If people aren’t living up to your expectations, have an open conversation with them. Nobody can read your mind. In some cases, your expectations may be unrealistic. In other cases, it is possible that you did not communicate your expectations clearly. In any case, it’s a good idea to check in with people about their expectations on a regular basis.

5. Keep an eye out for colluding expectations. You might, for example, have high expectations for yourself. Perhaps you work long hours or are a supermom who accomplishes everything but sleep. Just because you have these kinds of expectations for yourself does not mean you can expect others to behave similarly. Make an effort to distinguish between your expectations of someone and the manner in which the person completes the task.

6. Acceptance rather than perfection should be practised. If you are a perfectionist, it is very likely that you expect perfection from others. This can be extremely damaging to your professional and personal relationships. Make an effort to practise acceptance. When someone (including yourself) makes a mistake, remember that it is human to make mistakes. No one is perfect, and accepting the flaws of others and yourself will allow you to set more realistic expectations. Your employees will appreciate it as well if you are a more understanding boss.

Acceptance has its bounds. If an employee consistently fails to fulfil his work responsibilities, it is entirely appropriate to have a serious discussion with him.

Part 2: Communicating Expectations with Family and Friends

1. Discuss your expectations openly. If you need or want your partner or a loved one to do something, express it politely and directly. You are setting yourself up for disappointment if you are vague or unclear, and you are likely to frustrate the other person. Request a one-on-one meeting when you have a particularly important request. This will help to avoid the confusion that can occur when requests are made in passing.

For example, if you want your partner to do something (for example, drive the kids to school), make it clear. Do not imply, “Wow, it’s really stressful for me to take the kids to school before work.” You work from home…” Instead, ask, “Mike, could you please take the kids to school?” It would make my commute much easier.”

Remember that unless you are a manager, you are unlikely to be able to tell someone (especially your partner) what he must do. Instead, say, “I’d really appreciate it if you could clean the garage before Thanksgiving.” How are we going to make that happen? Let’s take a look at our free weekends.”

2. Making expectations a habit. It is frequently necessary to establish a routine when setting expectations for children. Putting chores on a weekly schedule for specific days will help your child remember to do them. Consider creating a checklist that people can check off as they complete a task.

For example, instead of telling your son to take out the trash, try saying, “Hey, Logan. Every Friday morning before school, please take out the trash.”

3. Make a system of rewards. Small incentives and accountability systems for children can help them meet expectations. Offer a small reward after a child has completed a certain number of tasks or weeks. You can also reward your partner on a regular basis for keeping her or his commitments.

A movie night could be used to reward a child for successfully completing monthly responsibilities.

4. Inquire with loved ones about their expectations of you. Although you may be accustomed to expecting certain things from others, what do others expect from you? Talking about your partner’s, children’s, or friends’ expectations will help you become a better person. Knowing the level of expectations placed on you by others may also assist you in determining what normal expectations are. However, if others have unreasonable expectations of you, such as babysitting your grandchildren every weekend, be honest about your own limitations.

5. Thank others for what they do for you. It’s possible that other people don’t always live up to your expectations, but what do they do right? Make a list of all the good things your spouse, employee, or child does.

It’s possible that a positive trait your partner possesses is linked to a negative trait. For example, your partner may be very generous with his time but not always complete tasks on time. Consider someone’s actions as a reflection of their distinct personality.

Part 3: Setting Realistic Goals for Yourself

1. Find out what motivates you to achieve your goals. When considering what goals you want to achieve, whether short-term or long-term, try to understand the source of these goals. People with higher self-esteem set realistic goals and expectations. You can start by asking yourself the following questions:

What is the foundation of my goal? When did it begin?

Why do I want to accomplish this goal?

Is it motivated by my own desires or those of others (e.g., partner, parent, teacher)?

Based on my personality and previous experience, can I realistically achieve this goal?

What is the goal of achieving this objective?

2. Prioritize what is important. What is the most important thing to you? Perhaps it’s your job or a relationship. Concentrate on the top three things that are important in your life and devote your time and energy to those activities. If you have the time and energy to do more activities, incorporate them gradually. Strive for a healthy balance.

For example, you could say that your family, job, and choir are your top three priorities. Make time for quality family time at least once a week. Make sure you get enough sleep to perform well at work. On choir nights, make arrangements for a babysitter.

A university student’s other priorities may include getting into medical school, being a good student government leader, and staying fit. In this case, schedule your MCAT study sessions. Also, make a note of your student government meetings on your calendar ahead of time. Make a schedule for your workouts. It is possible that you will need to focus even more on one priority at times, such as the week before your MCAT exam.

3. Set attainable objectives. When you set goals or want to make changes in your life, remember that change does not happen overnight. Instead, strive to set mini-goals as you work toward a larger goal. Also, keep in mind that while achieving your goal will almost certainly have some consequences, it will not necessarily have a long-term impact on your life. For example, if you want to lose weight, prioritise the health benefits of weight loss. Do not assume that it will automatically improve your personal relationships or overall happiness.

Instead of saying, “I’m going to lose forty pounds this year,” try losing one pound per week for one month. After this period, reassess your situation and set a new mini-goal.

Set mini-goals and tasks, such as enrolling in organic chemistry, anatomy, molecular biology, and other courses, if your goal is to gain admission to medical school. Then, concentrate on doing well in your classes. Finally, include the goal of passing the MCAT. Following that, you can add tasks such as writing essays, receiving recommendation letters, gathering transcripts, and so on.

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