McDermott: Great expectations

Scott McDermott’s weekly column about health and wellness

We are all weighed down by expectations – mostly self-created, some by society, some by friends and family. There are so many ways this can manifest in the world of health and fitness both in our favour, and against us.

It’s not only the expectations we are aware of, it is the hidden ones that really get us.

Let’s say you set a goal of dropping 20 pounds or improving your body fat by 5 per cent in 6 weeks. That’s a pretty clear expectation, and well managed and measured. Now…. what about the hidden expectations that you have, that maybe you are not even aware of? You could even reach the above goal of 20 pounds dropped and be horribly disappointed, because you failed to match up to the hidden expectations. That is not to even talk about the stress of missing the goal altogether, which would be another totally different set of missed expectations.

You will know if this is happening to you when you say to yourself: “This isn’t how I imagined it to be!” Let’s say you succeeded to drop 20 pounds, and all your friends are thrilled for you, impressed and amazed and you get accolades from stranger, but, When you look in the mirror, you still see areas you expected to look: (fill in the blank) smaller, bigger, more defined, less round; or you expected to have: (fill in the blank) more energy, better sleep, washboard abs, a smaller butt, etc)] as a result. Everyone is different, and your expectations are yours and yours alone. Maybe you missed the mark entirely and have all sorts of emotions around that.

You can do this next assignment with any aspect of your life that you set goals for, where that effort turned out…however it turned out.

Take a pen and paper and write out all the things that you thought this goal or process would create for you. Remember what you felt when you started the journey – what were the things you thought would happen as a result? Where was your life supposed to head? Describe it in as much detail as you can. Work to think of all the things you thought would happen or how your life would change as a result.

Then, on another piece of paper, write out how it actually looks. Make it a long description, not just “it sucks” or whatever you feel about it. Write out as many details about how it actually is, why it’s this way, and what you now have to deal with. Try to stick to facts about how things actually are.

Then compare the two pieces of paper. The gap between what you thought would happen, and what actually happened is where your hidden expectations are. If you look carefully enough, you can see that the real problem is not the results, it is your hidden expectations and how you feel about them that is the problem. You could be totally blind to some amazing successes, growth and learning, because some hidden expectation was missed. Chances are the big problem is not the result you got, but rather, it is the blow your ego took when things did not turn out as you thought they should.

“Seek not that the things which happen should happen as you wish; but wish the things which happen to be as they are, and you will have a tranquil flow of life.” Epictetus

Instead of getting all mad that things didn’t go as planned or to your expectations, work to accept them as they actually are. Now you are in a very powerful position to deal with them and learn from the experience. If you set a big goal and missed, that may actually be appropriate, and possibly for reasons you can’t even figure out yet.

Perhaps you have more to learn yet, perhaps things got in your way that you didn’t predict, and you just need more time. If you achieved your goal easily, then perhaps you needed a bigger goal, or perhaps this is simply a springboard to the next goal.

The point is to be aware of our expectations, both visible, and hidden, and then set forth to do our best. Once you have completed the task, work to accept things as they actually are, and if required, set new goals.

“Set a new plan. If it succeeds, celebrate! If it fails, recalibrate!” Gary John Bishop.

Happy Training!

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta children whose only symptom of COVID-19 is a runny nose or a sore throat will no longer require mandatory isolation, starting Monday.
477 new COVID-19 cases confirmed in Alberta on Thursday

Changes being made to the COVID-19 symptom list for school-age children

Three young Sylvan Lake residents are asking for lights to be added to the walking trail system to make them safer and less scary at night. Photo by @workinonmyfitness72
Young Sylvan Lake residents ask for lights to be added to walking trails

Three young Sylvan Lake residents appeared before Council recently to present their ask

Agriculture Minister Devin Dreeshen (Alberta government photo)
Town of Sylvan Lake recieves funding to help with COVID-19 related revenue losses

Minister Devin Dreeshen says the funding will help the Town pay staff and provide services

There were 410 COVID-19 cases recorded in Alberta Wednesday. (File photo by The Associated Press)
Alberta records 410 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday

Central zone dropped to 160 active cases

Shaun Isaac, owner of Woodchucker Firewood in Trochu, is awaiting a new shipment during a firewood shortage in the province. All of the wood he has left is being saved for long-time customers who need it to heat their homes. (Contributed photo).
Firewood shortage in central Alberta caused by rising demand, gaps in supply

‘I’ve said “No” to more people than ever’: firewood seller

Royal Alexandra Hospital front-line workers walk a picket line after walking off the job in a wildcat strike in Edmonton, on Monday, October 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta labour board orders health-care staff who walked off the job to go back to work

Finance Minister Travis Toews said in a news release that he was pleased with the labour board’s decision

Pilots Ilona Carter and Jim Gray of iRecover Treatment Centres, in front of his company’s aircraft, based at Ponoka’s airport. (Perry Wilson/Submitted)
95-year-old Ilona Carter flies again

Takes to the skies over Ponoka

Children’s backpacks and shoes are seen at a daycare in Langley, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. Alberta Children’s Services Minister Rebecca Schulz says the province plans to bring in a new way of licensing and monitoring child-care facilities. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Alberta proposes legislation to change rules on child-care spaces

Record-keeping, traditionally done on paper, would be allowed digitally

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shakes hands with US Vice-President Joe Biden on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, December 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle
A Biden presidency could mean good news for Canadian environment policy: observers

Experts and observers say even a U.S. outside the Paris agreement may ultimately end up in the same place

People take a photo together during the opening night of Christmas Lights Across Canada, in Ottawa, on Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019. The likelihood that most Canadians will enjoy a holly jolly Christmas season of gatherings, caroling and travel is unlikely, say public health experts who encourage those who revel in holiday traditions to accept more sacrifices ahead. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Ho, ho, no: Experts advise preparing for a scaled-back COVID holiday season

Many of the holiday season’s highlights have already been scrapped or are unlikely to take place

Sen. Kim Pate is shown in Toronto in an October 15, 2013, file photo. The parliamentary budget office says a proposed law that would give judges discretion on whether to apply a lesser sentence for murder could save the federal government $8.3 million per year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Colin Perkel
Judicial discretion for mandatory minimum sentences for murder would save $8.3M: PBO

The result would be fewer people in long-term custody at federal correctional institutions, experts say

Husky Energy logo is shown at the company’s annual meeting in Calgary on May 5, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Husky pipeline spills 900,000 litres of produced water in northwestern Alberta

The energy regulator says environmental contractors are at the site

A raccoon paid a visit to a Toronto Tim Hortons on Oct. 22, 2020. (shecallsmedrew/Twitter)
Who are you calling a trash panda? Raccoon takes a shift at Toronto Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons said animal control was called as soon they saw the surprise visitor

Most Read