January 25th 2019
You can do anything, but not everything~
At the start of every new year, many of us sit down and cook up a thousand and one cool and exciting goals in our heads. By the end of the year, we want new, high-paying jobs, to lose 30 pounds, to read 50 books, master the recipe for the perfect chocolate chip cookie, travel every weekend, adopt 3 dogs, and find love. However, when we go into a new year with such high expectations, we often feel ourselves be let down by the lack of expected progress.
I saw this in myself this month when I wrote into my schedule that I wanted to have a book review done for today. I thought that writing a review into the schedule would convince me to get the book done, however, life got in the way and I wasn’t able to complete the book or even make a really large dent. But that “failure” was what inspired this post entirely. In my mind, I could uphold my active social life, work, write 3 blog posts a week, practice yoga 1-2 times a day, and clean and prep the house to be moved, all while completing a 300 page book. For some people, this can be done, but not with me.
With so much going on, reading honestly slipped to the back of my mind quite often. And with so much going on pertaining to moving, my head was often all over the place which made focusing on more than 10-20 pages of a book at a time, nearly impossible. Despite not being able to get the review up as I wanted, this was really a big lesson in managing my expectations of what I can accomplish in a year.
Ironically enough, when I was first coming into this realization, Kalyn Nicholson posted an episode of her Coffee Talk Podcast that was all about this. The episode touched on the importance of focusing on one thing at a time for the sake of productivity. When you try to multitask, your productivity often takes a nosedive as a result.
So my realization and this podcast combined inspired me to really pin down what I want to accomplish this year or what changes I hope to see out of this year. So I encourage you to follow along with me with a sheet of paper or even your phone notes! First, I am going to write down all the things I would ideally love to accomplish this year in order of priority.
- Find a new job by my new home
- Practice yoga at least 5 times most weeks
- Keep up with my 3 posts a week schedule
- Lose 20 lbs.
- Save up to move into my own apartment
- Try to read 6-12 books this year
So when I took the time out to sort through my priorities, I came to realize that reading actually fell to the bottom of my list. It is not that it isn’t an awesome goal to have, but it definitely isn’t as important to me as finding a job or fine tuning my yoga practice or writing in accordance to my blog schedule. Since those 3 things are my top, I think it is pretty realistic to say that those are the things that will almost definitely get done this year.
If we look at 4-6, we see the things that could get done this year, or there could just be progress. Maybe I won’t be able to manage to lose 20 lbs by the end of the year, but if I stay on a decent track, I could lose 10 lbs and still be in a good place with the goal. If I start saving, I may not be able to afford an apartment by December, but I will have racked up a decent amount of time at my job and can start looking into moving into an apartment. If I can’t read 6-12 books in the year, then hopefully I can at least get through 3 or 4. If I can just work myself up to reading more and more and making it a part of my daily schedule, I’ll definitely be in a better place when it comes to making reading a goal for 2020.
This is the art behind managing expectations. By managing your expectations, you become aware of your end goal, but also aware of what a realistic goal is based on everything else you’re doing. Managing your expectations is allowing yourself to not hit a goal, but instead, recognizing the progress as a step in the right direction and understanding that there are only 24 hours in a day and one person can’t do everything.
This year, I plan to focus on managing my expectations and making as much progress as I can in reaching the goals I would like to reach.