Managing High Self-Expectations
Updated: May 9, 2019
The final year of school can be extremely stressful. Expectations on exam results and the pressure to figure out what your next steps should be. It is reported that two in three students are found to be worried about getting a high enough score to get into college or university.
But, having high expectations can in fact be a really useful personality trait in life. It keeps us reaching for our personal best. However, we need to ensure that we don't push ourselves too hard to the point of burning out.
How can we manage this? By using time management tricks and setting clear expectations on the amount of effort we put in.
Time Management Tricks:
Set aside time to study (and try your best within that period) and time to rest. As long as you know you have put in your all within the given timeframe then this is a 'healthy' self expectation.
The problem often comes when we believe that other's expectations are higher than our own. It's great to have support and encouragement from parents, teachers and friends; and they usually only want the best for us, but if you feel their expectations are making you worried or anxious, try and come back to knowing that you can only try your hardest.
It might even be helpful to talk to them about how their expectations are making you feel. A lot of the time people don't realise their comments are overwhelming.
If you don’t feel you can talk to them about this directly, tell your friends how you feel, or keep a journal to express them. Both outlets are proven helpful in reducing anxiety levels.
In the below clip you can listen to a student talking about their experience of managing high expectations.
Are you feeling overwhelmed by the pressure?
Try these stress-free tips to slow down, take stock and recharge your batteries:
'Actions to take' & 'Attitudes to adopt' to help you reboot and shrink your worries!
Actions to Take:
• Talk it out – Share it with someone else. Others will welcome your trust.
• Write it out – Put it on paper. It's easier to see it in perspective.
• Shrug it off – Raise your shoulders then drop them. Relax your whole body.
• Breathe it away – Inhale and exhale deeply a few times. Calm your thoughts.
• Sort it out – List practical options. Weigh, decide and the ACT.
• Delay it – Fix a 15 minute worry session and put it aside until then.
• Work it off – Do something physical. Clear your head. Divert your energy.
• Reverse it – Consider taking an opposite approach. Explore alternative angles.
• Slow down – Tell yourself something reassuring. Slow down, you will be more effective.
Attitudes to Adopt:
• Laugh it off – Lighten it with humour. Be generous with smiles.
• Distance it – Imagine a few years from now. How much will it matter then?
• Balance it – Consider the good consequences and feel glad about them.
• Cancel it – Think positive thoughts. Don't let the negative pull you down.
• Exaggerate it – Picture the worst that can REALLY happen. How likely is it?
• Win through it – Imagine yourself being successful and feel good about it.
• Hold it – Say "STOP", pause, steady your thoughts. Now take a fresh look.
• Escape it – Notice something enjoyable around you. Get into the present.
• Maximise your strengths – Do more of what you are good at.
• Praise and congratulate yourself and others – Be aware of what you and others have done right. Let it be known so as to encourage it to happen again.
If you need a little more help rebooting, here are some additional websites you can check out below:
• www.reachout.com.au • www.sane.org