My father — the most disciplined person I’ve ever known — always quips that his “only goal is to climb a low mountain.” As an over-achieving kid, I never understood this assertion. Why would you only want to climb a low mountain?!
Turns out, low expectations can be a key to happiness. Sometimes we expect too much from our spouses, our children, our jobs, and ourselves. When our expectations are unrealistic, instead of inspiring greatness with the high bar we’ve set, we’re more likely to foster disappointment, or resentment, or even hatred in ourselves.
It’s not that we shouldn’t ever have high expectations; it’s just that we need to be aware of how our expectations can sometimes make us unhappy.
Take Action: This week, reset an expectation: what is a more realistic and joyful goal? Then, refocus on the journey rather than the destination. What mountain can you climb that you will truly enjoy climbing, whether or not you ever make it to the top? How can you focus on the present moment — whatever you are doing right now — rather than setting big goals and high expectations for the future? And if you are itching to do more, why not get into an unambitious habit that down the road can pay big dividends?