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Tips for Letting Go of High Expectations

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In my last post I shared the intentions for 2012 that I felt would allow me to let go of more control in my life.  A key one was  “moderate my expectations.”  As I have mentioned before, unrealistic expectations propel us to try to control vital aspects of our lives such as family, intimate relations, friendships,  and work affairs, often leading to disappointment and resentment.

It is Important to Moderate our Expectations

While it is important to form clear intentions, it is equally important that we pursue them in a realistic manner.  Once we start expecting too much or too soon, we start pressing, pressuring, resisting and the like, and that disrupts the natural flow of events (“life’s natural currents”) that are the best means of fulfilling our intentions.

My High Tennis Expectations Set Me Back!

An intention I formed last fall was to faire better in seniors tennis tournaments.   I thus began taking lessons and playing more often.   I made good progress and became very excited—and my expectations soared.  Maybe, I thought, I could even start winning some tournaments.   I decided to enter two major January tournaments in the Palm Springs area.

Then, three weeks ago, I injured my back because I continued playing after my back muscles tightened from serving too hard.   After chiropractic treatments for two weeks, I felt better, but still had a lot of discomfort and had to withdraw from the first tournament.    I was disheartened and even depressed.

I soon realized that my maintaining such high expectations had undermined by tennis intentions.   I reflected on how I could moderate my expectations to make them more realistic.   Below are some of the ways that I found very helpful in moderating my tennis expectations–and which I believe will improve my chances of fulfilling my tennis desires.

Tips for Moderating High Expectations

*Don’t press to make your intentions happen. Let them happen organically–plant the seeds, if you will, and water them throughout the year, being careful not to “flood” them.   In my case, I pressed too hard and was injured.

*Don’t strive for perfection.   This invariably leads to disappointment, frustration, and resentment.   Consequently, don’t set the bar too high.   I clearly set my tennis bar too high, setting myself up for disappointment.

*Accept setbacks.   Don’t expect linear progress.  It likely took many years to form the habits and patterns that you wish to change, and as such, most are deeply ingrained.    Hence, accept that there will likely be relapses along the way and don’t be discouraged.

*Be grateful for partial successes. Honor and appreciate partial successes in fulfilling your intentions.   Small steps lead to larger ones.

My Revised Expectations and Intentions

This Sunday I play in the largest seniors tournament in the United States and my opponent is the 5th best player in the nation in my age division.    Here are my expectations/intentions with respect to the tournament.

1.   To enjoy the experience and be grateful for the opportunity to learn from playing against a top-notch player.

2.   To try to incorporate what I have learned in my lessons.

3.  And, to enjoy the beautiful desert scenery, meet new friends–and have a lot of fun!

In the meantime, remember to

Let it Go!

Danny

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