Beyond the Crest of a Wave | When Expectations Meet Reality

by Marianne  - April 7, 2013

Today, I want to address an issue that has been cropping up more and more, with both my online and offline clients:

Unrealistic Expectations!


When people get a new surge of motivation or flutter of excitement over a goal or new chapter in life, expectations become somewhat distorted.  Unfortunately, after a little time has lapsed, and the results aren’t showing [as expected], motivation wains and action winds to a hault.  

What goes up, must come down, right? Yes, but “down” doesn’t need to equal failure – we just need to adjust our expectations. 

It is so important that we understand that motivation acts exactly like a wave –> it will build up and then it will fall.  The crest of a wave is when energy is at its highest point (everything feels good here), but sooner or later, reality [of just how far you still have to go] starts to creep into the picture and often we fall flat on our faces out of shear disappointment and disheartenment … nobody likes waiting for something amazing!  

But did you know that where the wave breaks is exactly where the fun begins …

Are you going to drown from disheartenment, or ride that wave ’til you get what you want?


Here are some tips to help you stay on track and prevent your expectations becoming a source of heart-ache: 

Fly your own Kite (sorry about the analogies): Imagine you are flying a Kite … It’s very easy for a Kite to become overwhelmed by different wind currents or lose height in a light breeze, unless you have a good handle on how to fly it. The Kite will only be as good as your ability to fly it [from the ground].  So first, root yourself in your present situation and stay connected to it each time your mind wanders to your ideal.    You want a lower body fat %, a new home, a new job to make you more satisfied.  You hang all your hope on that future that hasn’t even happened yet.  When this happens, you are a Kite lost in the wind right before it crashes into the ground.  

Get a handle on your direction and begin learning how to steer your life toward your goal.  Expect a little turbulance and deal with it as it arrives.

No matter what your goal/dream is, you are where you are and you must become aware of the good things NOW. If you lack the ability to see the good things in the present, you will never recognise when you achieve your goal. It’s all very well imagining how you *will* feel, but it’s not so much about what you expect to feel, it’s about you being able to see the good in any given situation.  If you can’t appreciate now *now*, you won’t later.  Being grounded keeps you stay balanced so you can successfully navigate [fly your kite LOL] through the challenges along the way.  


Remember “Point A” – Never lose sight of where you have come from. Even if you haven’t achieved everything you wanted, there will always be things you learn along the way to help you, or discover wonderful bonuses to being on a certain path. For example, when you realise that strength training actually gets you leanner than hours of cardio.  Or, perhaps you’ve dated your fair share of frogs, before meeting that prince??  All of this is valuable in learning more about yourself and what is actually important.  Often, when we start out on a new journey, we are so excited about getting there that we forget about the travel part.  I know I do this every time I am about to leave for holiday. I’m all hyped up until I have a 5 hour layover in an airport, or get delayed.  It’s easy to become frustrated when we have to wait, but we have to remember that we are closer than we were, or we’ll drive ourselves mad in the waiting.  Celebrate each step by glancing back, then prepare to take the next.

It’s often said that the journey is actually more important than the destination.  In many ways I agree, so my final piece of advice ties in nicely with the last one:

–  Take the blinkers off and enjoy the view!  In other words, relax and follow your peace. If something is too stressful and causing you pain, something is very wrong and you start acting out of desperation, getting frustrated, being a pain to be around and becoming self-centred.  Examine your expectations and ask: “are they realistic?”.  Is the goal really worth all this heart-ache to get there?  There is a difference between challenge and heart-ache and it is often about our own ability to resolve our feelings and become rational.   Accepting the two antagonistic forces involved in achieving something amazing will help you live through the waves that come along the way and prevent you wasting energy living in a flux between “past and future” / “regret and longing”?


There you have a few of my thoughts on keeping the momentum going for those long-term goals that we never seem to get closer to.  I’d really like to hear anything you would like to add.  We each have things we want, or don’t want, so let’s open up the floor for discussion. Air your frustration, share your successes and help someone else find peace in the waiting 🙂










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  1. Hi Marianne,

    Really great post. I would just like to add that sometimes you get exactly what you ‘think’ you want and then with earth shattering energy you realise that you:
    a. weren’t ready for it or
    b. it actually wasn’t what your heart wanted in the first place.

    When this happens it gives us such an opportunity to grow and open into the person we truly are meant to be. It’s painful and sickening and you will cry 🙂 but now as I’m finally coming through the other side of this happening I feel blessed to have been thought such a lesson.
    Listen to your heart, it always knows what is truly good for you….it just takes practice (kind of like doing chin-ups…practice a little every day!) 🙂

    You’re an inspiration Marianne, thank you x

  2. Good post. I have excitedly been reading Bret and Kellie’s book and it is quite motivational and inspirational, it makes me want to drop everything and jump on board the Better Butt Train :). At the same time, I have been evaluating my progress. I have been lifting weights for about 6 months? I have not changed my diet (yet?), I am learning good form, I am learning consistency. I am enjoying how my body feels, and am seeing some progress in muscle definition. I think I am a bit of a turtle when it comes to striving for more or better results. I would like to feel what -this- feels like, seeing as I have never had a workout ‘vision’ before. And to be honest, I do strive for better results and a smashing hot body but I am OK with doing it slowly and experiencing what it feels like.

  3. Great article. And well done Roger. When we decide to move we can accomplish a lot. The journey is the expression of passion so I agree Marianne, enjoying the moments of that journey are very important. If we don’t we only strive and depend on the outcome. And the outcome may not be exactly what we thought we wanted.

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