Beginning of a new year often comes with new goals, aspirations, and expectations. In order to make 2020 the best it can possibly be, here are some tips coming from Todd and Stephanie Craig of Journey Bravely. Todd Craig was a pastor at Asbury for many years, and recently he and his wife Stephanie, a Licensed Social Worker, started Journey Bravely in order to help coach people along in their journey. www.journeybravely.com
Tips to de-stressing new year goals and expectations:
- Sort your expectations into two categories: healthy and unhealthy.Healthy expectations are reasonable, gracious, encourage growth, and don’t result in shame. Unhealthy expectations are idealistic, unreasonable, perfectionistic, involve trying to control others, and result in feeling ashamed. Reducing stress begins with getting curious about what you are expecting of yourself and others. Are you trying to present a perfect image of yourself? Are you trying to get someone else to be who you want them to be? Are you trying to get an emotional need met from someone who is not likely to meet that need?
- Consider what you fear will happen if you let your unhealthy expectations go.Most often you hold unhealthy expectations because you fear loss of control, when in reality, you didn’t really have control in the first place. Admitting that you only have control of yourself can set you free and empower you to manage yourself in healthier ways.
- Identify unhealthy expectations that others may have invited you to fulfill. Maybe you’re still seeking approval from your parents, or hustling to live up to social expectations of friends, or exhausting yourself trying to keep your kids happy. If you find yourself resenting someone, it’s often a sign that unrealistic expectations are present in the relationship.
- Set boundaries with yourself and others. Adjust unhealthy personal expectations and allow time to realize your worst fears will not be realized as a result. Try giving yourself permission to say no to unhealthy requests of others even if someone will be disappointed. They will survive the disappointment and so will you. Boundaries are usually uncomfortable initially and then all involved get used to them over time. In the long-term, such boundaries create oxygen for life.
- Decide how you will fill the space that results from letting go of unhealthy expectations.When you think about what feels healthy and meaningful, do that and enjoy it deeply.