The New Year brings with it hope that things are going to be better. As a result, we create goals or set New Year’s resolutions in order to create significant changes in our lives. I understand the deep motivation to make these changes quickly but quite frankly too many people have unrealistic expectations. Not so much with the goals they are pursuing but rather with the time frame in which they want to accomplish them. The seemingly slow pace at which they are progressing toward their goals causes people to become frustrated and lose patience with themselves.
Being patient with yourself is an important aspect of self-improvement and personal growth. It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life and set unrealistic expectations for yourself. You may want to improve your health, relationships, career, or personal skills, which are all admirable goals. The huge problem is that most people want it to happen overnight. However, it’s important to remember that these things take time and effort.
Sometimes your plans will fall way short of the results you are getting. You will make mistakes. Things will happen that are beyond your control. All of this is par for the course. Instead of getting discouraged and frustrated, learn to see these experiences as opportunities to learn and improve.
Here are three ways in which you can begin to be patient with yourself:
Set realistic expectations There is a popular quote that reminds us that there are no unrealistic goals, only unrealistic timeframes in which to achieve them.”
By all means, you should set challenging goals and do everything in your power to achieve them. However, as stated earlier, recognize that it will take time to do so. Expecting to shed the twenty extra pounds you packed on over the course of a year in a matter of weeks is setting yourself up for failure and frustration. Give yourself a chance by setting smaller, intermediate milestones that you can reach over time. Achieving those smaller goals is more sustainable and will give you a boost
When things don’t go right as they most certainly will, resist the urge to belittle and berate yourself. Instead, start practicing self-compassion. Learn to be kind to yourself. Encourage yourself. Remember that you are only human.
Value progress over perfection As expressed before, our ideal is ultimately achievable, but it will take time. Being consumed by the end goal could leave you spinning your wheels because you have the sense that it is taking too long to achieve. However, focusing on the process—the steps you need to take to achieve your goals as well the progress—the tiny steps you have actually made in the direction of your goals could prove quite invigorating and rewarding. Don’t lose sight of the fact that you may not be where you want to be but you are definitely closer than you were
Focus on the present The present moment is where your center of power lies. Don’t get caught up in what happened in the past or allow yourself to bedistracted by what might happen in the future.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the things we want to achieve or fix, but it’s important to remember that we can only work on one thing at a time. Try to focus on the task at hand and do your best in the present moment.
Keep On Pushing!