Expectations are inevitable. They point the way, help us make choices, pursue our dreams and recognize when we arrive at our destination. They serve as markers and define us.

Of course, not all expectations lead to desirable outcomes. People let us down, life goes in directions other than we had hoped for, projects linger and fizzle, and timelines stretch.

It may be that our expectations are unrealistic or the timing is not right. Life throws a curveball and we lose our orientation. Disappointment sinks in and our enthusiasm dwindles.

For some people, that’s the call to making adjustments. Being flexible and changing our perspective can help us navigate obstacles. It allows for making the best of a situation even if it’s not what we hoped for. Not only that, but if we just let it be, the situation may even evolve in even better ways.

For others, adjusting is equivalent to compromise and that’s a “dirty” word. They want what they want and everything short of their expectations can make them miserable. Disappointment becomes a way of being and every little thing that doesn’t come their way leaves them feeling empty. What good is that?

How do we know whether it’s time to move on or push harder? It’s really personal. When things don’t go your way, evaluate. Ask questions.

  • What are some of the main obstacles I’m facing?
  • What do I have control over?
  • What can I do differently?
  • Is it a matter of timing or is this expectation of mine completely unrealistic?
  • What are my priorities? In this moment, what matters most?
  • How is my quality of life affected? Am I OK with this?

Once you have some answers, you can reflect even more.

What do you really need or want?

It may be time to evaluate your expectations. It may be time to change your course, alter your game plan, and reach out to your support system. Whatever you decide, you need to own it. As you move forward with your newfound clarity, you’ll grow more confident and self-assured.

As a life coach and retreat leader, Yota works with women seeking clarity, inspiration, and purpose in the midst of life changes. Her approach is intuitive and deeply influenced by her cultural roots, work and life experience, and her long-term practice of mindfulness meditation.


  • Carmen Lund

    Yota, It took me a long while to understand that word, “expectations.” I thought it was a given to “expect” the life we had as children when we were taken care of by our parents. Now I have found that having and doing what we once did, often does not happen. I am choosing to deal with the reality of my life, rather than the life I “expected” to have.

  • Yota

    Yes, expectations, when unexamined, can lead to all kinds of illusions. Good for you, for standing up to your expectations and not allowing them to rob you from the richness of your life, here and now.

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