Are Your Expectations Derailing Your Success?

I am a bit of a workout fanatic. If I go a couple of days without a solid workout, I feel sluggish, tired and just…off, physically and mentally. So I try to make working out a standard part of my day.

If I had time on my side, I would exercise for at least an hour a day and not have to sacrifice anything else to do it. But that is not the case. It’s a challenge to schedule an hour or even 45 minutes dedicated to a workout without any interruptions. Some days, it’s not just a challenge; it’s virtually impossible.

Being the Type-A, perfectionist kind of person that I am, this struggle and inability to consistently get in that hour a day could easily derail all of my good intentions. In fact, it has. I would start to think that if I can’t exercise for an hour, why should I bother doing 30 minutes? I would think in terms of all or nothing. It HAD to be an hour, and anything less was a waste of time.

Some days, I would end up not working out at all because the time available didn’t match up with my expectations. Then, the next thing I know, I had a crazy week and went five days without a workout. Not an hour, not 45 minutes, not even 10 minutes. Nothing all week.

After letting this happen a few times, I realized that the problem wasn’t time. Well, of course, I wouldn’t complain about having some extra time to work with every day, but my lack of time wasn’t the biggest problem. The problem was having unrealistic expectations and lacking flexibility.

For example, a really busy week may mean that I can’t spend an hour a day jogging on the treadmill, but I can take a few 10-minute breaks and do a quick weight training workout. Or, if I really wanted the time on the treadmill, I can do a more intense half hour run, or even two 20-minute bursts in between meetings. After all, something is always better than nothing, right?

This holds true with business, too. You may have something that’s important to you sitting on the back burner, not getting any of your attention, simply because you don’t have the optimal amount of time or resources to dedicate to it. You may be waiting until you have the perfect environment, an ideal amount of time, and all of the resources you may need. But guess what? The stars are never going to perfectly align and shine down on you as a sign that it’s the right time.

If you want something to happen, you have to take what you have available, make realistic goals and make it happen. Even if it’s baby steps, forward progress can build momentum, and before you know it, you could be halfway toward your goal instead of looking back over the past three months wishing you had just gotten started.

Does any of this sound familiar to you? Have you ever combated unrealistic expectations and pushed yourself forward, even when things weren’t as you expected or hoped them to be?

Photo credit: rachelg

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Alyssa Gregory
Alyssa is a digital strategist, content marketer, freelance writer and founder of the Small Business Bonfire. She's a team player, a team builder and not a bad leader, either. You can often find her on various social networks looking for remarkable people to collaborate with.


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  1. Brian

    Great post…now I have to run and squeeze in 20 minutes to write the one I have been putting off. Thanks!

    • LOL. Good luck, Brian! Just remind yourself that even if you only focus on it for 10 minutes today, it’s still 10 minutes more than you did yesterday. Baby steps are my favorite kind of progress!

  2. Pingback: 3 Ways to Increase Your Chances of Success | Small Business Bonfire

  3. Anita

    Alyssa, I can so relate with you regarding exercise. I too really beat myself up if I don’t maintain a consistent routine, and have that “all or nothing” mentality. I confess, I am a perfectionist! This translates into my business in a way that everything has to line up perfectly before I take the next step. Many times this has delayed, even derailed my ability to just take action and move forward. Slowly I am learning that baby steps are just as effective as giant leaps, they just take a little longer. However, they also serve as opportunities to savor the journey and appreciate the lessons learned while working toward the end goal.

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