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How to Cope with High Expectations

It can be hard dealing with people who always expect you to be working at 110%. Luckily, there are some ways to cope with that pressure safely.

Talk about what your limits are. Some people can happily work 70 hr/ week; others can't. There's no shame in either.

Make sure you understand exactly what people expect of you. Their expectations might not be as bad as you think.

Shoot for long-term, but plan for short-term. It's great to have high ambitions for the future, but don't ignore now.

Learn from your setbacks. Just because you've 'failed' once doesn't mean you can never achieve again.

Give yourself credit for the steps you take towards complete success. The small successes add up!

Keep a goal journal. It will help you gain insight and understand which are realistic and which are not.

Delegate whenever you can. There are some things you can't control-- let go and allow yourself to relax.

Acknowledge your successes, no matter how small. Even if all you manage to do is get out of bed, value it.

Call a help line if you're having trouble coping. They're there to help you, big problem or small problems.

Give yourself a break. Don't let your mind settle on what you could be doing but instead see value in relaxation.

Know where your expectations come from; yourself, your family, or society. Decide if they are worthwhile goals.

Research. Taking time to understand what others have done can really help you make the best decisions for you.

Know that reaching your highest expectations will not make you happy. Be satisfied with your personal best.

Adjust to circumstances. Maybe one D will make an A in your class impossible, so try for a high B instead.

Make sure your high expectations are driving you to try harder, not making you feel bad. They should motivate you.

High achievers who use stress to succeed tend to think that works for everyone. Explain to them that it's untrue.

Know that failure is always a possibility. Think of your 'failures' as steps on the way to success, not the end.

Choose a goal that you can reach safely. If an A takes all your energy, but a B makes you happy, aim for the B.

Understand why you want to achieve high expectations. There are ways to get approval that are more easily maintained.

Don't just lower your expectations. Focus on how ambitious you are and how you can spin the negatives into positives.

Try talking to the person with high expectations of you. Start with... "When you expect me to ___, it makes me feel ___".

Different cultures and age groups have different values. They might not realize the difference. Talk to them about it.

Understand that those who place high expectations on you want the best for you. Ironically, it can do the opposite.

High expectations make people happy but the end result usually isn't as exciting. The anticipation is what people like.

High expectations can make you try harder, but don't forget that the highest ones are also the hardest to achieve.

Challenge your expectations. Would you expect the same of a friend? If not, how can you expect it of yourself?

Make sure other people's expectations don't burn you out. Find ways to cope with stress and guilt safely.

Setting yourself up for failure? Make sure the goals that you are striving towards are ones you actually want to reach.

Focus on what you can do moving forward, not what has happened in the past. Keep moving forward.

Talk to a neutral party. They can help you figure out how to best manage others' expectations and your needs.