5 Reasons to Set High Expectations for Yourself

Your ability to set high expectations for yourself will affect how you do things and what you accomplish.

Your performance and what you achieve often reflect the expectations you have for yourself. If you expect little from yourself, your performance and results will show that.

1-Minute Summary Video


What Does it Mean to Set High Expectations?

The term high expectations comes from the education field. It usually refers to any effort made to set the same standards for all students in a class, school or educational system.

The idea behind the concept is that by expecting more from students, their performance will rise, which means they will achieve better academic success.

Using the same concept, you and I can improve our performance, which means we can reach our goals faster and achieve greater levels of success.

An Example of High Expectations I have Set for Myself

As my health and wellness is a big priority, exercising regularly is a major part of it. For the past few years, I’ve focused on my core strength through various resistance and strength-based exercises.

An exercise I’ve struggled with is doing push-ups. My goal has been to do 100 push-ups without stopping. Over the years, I’ve consistently reached 75, but getting to 100 has been challenging. So, last year, I affirmed to myself, “I am a person who can comfortably do 100 push-ups without stopping.”

That was the expectation I set for myself. The first few times I tried it, I did not reach 100. I kept reminding myself, “I am a person who can comfortably do 100 push-ups without stopping.”

The breakthrough eventually happened a few weeks later. The first time I reached 100 was a pleasant surprise and a relief. That spurred me to continue strengthening myself.

Now, a few months later, I can comfortably do 100 push-ups without stopping. I’ve also set a new expectation of doing over 100 push-ups three times a day. That’s progressing well, and it’s something I hope to continue doing.

This is a simple example of what expecting more from yourself can lead to.

set high expectations

5 Reasons to Set High Expectations for Yourself

Here are five reasons to set high expectations for yourself, so you can challenge yourself to go beyond what you have previously, which means you will achieve new results.

  1. Your self-image will improve. Your self-image is how you view or what you think of yourself. When you expect more from yourself and achieve what you have set out to, how you view yourself will change. This means you will have a positive opinion of yourself and better self-esteem.
  2. What you produce will increase and be of a higher quality. Higher expectations mean you demand more from yourself. When you do, it also means you will become more efficient and produce better work and of a higher quality.
  3. Your personal standards will rise. The standards you have affect all aspects of your life. When you expect more from yourself and set high standards, how you do things will improve. This will encourage you to raise your standards even more.
  4. You will develop more of your potential. You and I have unlimited potential, which means there is no limit to what we can accomplish. That’s good news, because having high expectations will cause you to do things outside your comfort zone. This will require you to develop skills or gain knowledge you don’t currently have.
  5. Your self-confidence and how you relate to others will improve. Your self-image also affects your self-confidence. If you have higher self-confidence, you will enhance how you communicate and relate to others. This will make you a more attractive person, which can lead to other opportunities.

Steps You Can Take to Set High Expectations

Here are steps you can set high expectations, without putting too much pressure or overwhelming yourself.

  1. Give yourself simple daily challenges. For example, drinking a glass of water every hour.
  2. Plan your day with specific outcomes you want to achieve.
  3. Schedule reflection time daily to review what you accomplished.
  4. Focus on developing one positive habit at a time.
  5. Make adjustments if something you’re doing is not working the way you expect it to.

The Dangers of Setting High Expectations

It’s often said having expectations can lead to disappointment, stress, frustration and unhappiness. When your reality does not match something you expect to happen, that can affect your emotional state.

Therefore, it’s valuable to know the dangers of setting high expectations. The downside of high expectations includes having:

  • Fear of failure.
  • Perfectionism.
  • Low self-esteem.
  • Fear of change or being resistant to change.
  • Low self-confidence to pursue what you want.

Signs High Expectations Are Affecting Your Life

Here are signs you need to know that show high expectations are affecting your life.

  1. You overthink things and obsess over details.
  2. You constantly pursuing more without acknowledging yourself for what you have already achieved.
  3. You often feel let down by others.
  4. You have feelings of frustration or resentment towards others./li>
  5. You feel dissatisfied because you know you can do much better than you are.

Like with any self-improvement idea, there are positive and negative aspects to be aware of. The better you manage your expectations, the higher your chances of reaching the outcomes you want.

Final Thoughts

Having a healthy balance between low and high expectations will make a big difference to your life. Setting high expectations is a powerful way to bring the best out of yourself.

When you have high expectations for yourself, what others expect of you will not have as much importance as what you expect of yourself.

Action Step: Reflect on an outcome you did not reach. Recall the expectations you had for yourself and your ability to reach it. Identify how you can use that experience to expect more from yourself next time you pursue a goal.

Question: What are other reasons to set high expectations for yourself?

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