Goals vs. Expectations

It’s not everyday a Hollywood hottie says something that actually resonates with me and is relevant to my blog, but upon Googling my new celeb crush (Ryan Reynolds) I found this awesome quote he said in Men’s Health not too long ago.

Here’s the context from the article, Ryan Reynold’s Purposeful Life:

“Whether he’s talking about inhabiting characters or running races, there’s a theme that arises frequently in Reynolds’s conversations: goals versus expectations. He has plenty of goals, both professional and personal, but as much as he can, he tries to avoid having expectations — simply assuming that something is going to happen without doing the work.”

“When you have expectations, you are setting yourself up for disappointment,” Reynolds says. “I didn’t expect to finish the marathon; I trained to finish it.”

“I didn’t expect to finish the marathon; I trained to finish it.”

How I love that quote, and I’m going to take it a little further. All too often, I feel my expectations (whether worked for or not) are unmet and that I’ve “failed” as a result.

Likewise, I often feel disappointed in others when they don’t meet my (often sky-high) expectations.

This causes a lot of internal strife for Type A/perfectionists like myself; perhaps you can relate?

Adapting this kind of attitude — not one that dismisses having goals, but rather one that focuses on goals versus lofty expectations — is something I know I could benefit from, personally.

Here on my blog in particular, I can apply it to recovery, binge eating or overcoming emotional eating — but it ca be applied to anything.

I think I’ve said all along — I don’t expect to never chew/spit again. Or never overeat.

But every day I don’t c/s, I’m stronger for it (like someone training for a marathon, or saving money) — I have a goal: to overcome a particular (ok, in this case, anxious) behavior.

I’m proud of the more-than-three months c/s free. But I know the second I make a finite statement like “I’ll never do X or I’ll always do X” suddenly, the opposite comes to fruition. It’s Murphy’s Law.

I like the idea that I’ve been adapting this mentality without ever having heard his quote, but hearing it reaffirmed what I’m feeling right now.

Because relapses are common in recovery, I think the fact that I’ve been turning down the notch on my expectations and focusing more on my personal goals is going to help me as I go forward personally and professionally.

I also think an attitude like this keeps us modest, keeps us in check … even when we’re feeling success or the brink of success.

Confidence is good and desirable … but cockiness just crosses the line.

How about you? How do you feel about Reynold’s view of goals vs. expectations?

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10 thoughts on “Goals vs. Expectations

  1. I think that one belongs on the quote board! 😉

    I love it, and especially after our conversation earlier, feel like it’s especially relevant. I set such high expectations for myself that I’m exhausted trying to get there the fastest and to be the best instead of enjoying the journey. The training part should be a bit more fun.

  2. this is awesome! im going to use this in my yoga class. we always encourage students to release expectations, but i hate to think that means to just flop down and give up. Reynold’s puts it so well with the goals vs expectations example. thanks for posting lissa, awesome awesome!

  3. Ahhh, Ryan Reynolds. 🙂

    I fully agree with that. There are so many people who set specific goals: I WILL run a marathon in this time, I WILL have this many kids, I WILL weigh this much and maintain. And sometimes, specific goals are great. But what happens when things pop up that we couldn’t have predicted? Life gets in the way, and then we’ve let ourselves down because we didn’t reach that EXACT goal.

    I loved Ryan before, and I love him more know!

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