Life isn’t a competition.

Realistic expectations – wait, does such a thing even exist anymore? Yes, but it may involve re-training the way you think.

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It’s so easy to compare yourself and every aspect of your life to the hundreds, maybe even thousands, of people you follow on social media. So, not only are you dealing with your parents’ expectations or your professor’s expectations, but you’re also setting your own unrealistic expectations based on what you see on social media, whether you realize it or not.

This is where the problem comes in.

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People are only showcasing you the best part of their lives – their highlight reel! They’re not showing you their many failed Tinder dates before becoming engaged to the one and they’re not showing you the 50+ job applications they sent out before landing their dream job.   

But all you’re seeing IS the engagement ring, the new full-time job, the vacations and the new apartment. It’s overwhelming when you feel like you’re falling behind. And that’s when the unrealistic expectations start.

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It’s important to realize that it is unrealistic to expect your life to follow the path of another’s. It’s never going to be the same and by comparing yourself to everyone’s highlight reel, you’re only setting yourself up for disappointment.

Instead, learn how to set yourself realistic expectations in your school, professional and personal life that will help you on your own journey to greatness.

In your student life

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Expecting to get straight A’s may be realistic for some, but it’s not realistic for everybody. Everyone learns differently and not everyone excels at tests or exams – and that’s okay.

Especially coming out of high school, everyone warns you that your grades are likely going to slip during your first year of college or university. It makes sense. College and university are completely different from high school, so it will likely take some adjusting.

And after that adjustment, the most realistic goals to set for yourself are to simply improve each and every time. If you didn’t do as well on an exam as you would have liked, then look at ways to improve your study habits. And there are so many resources, like the Writing Centre, to help you succeed. Don’t be afraid to use them!

Keep track of your progress and you’ll see the improvements!

In your professional life

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Everyone dreams of landing a full-time salary job in their field immediately following graduation. THAT’S NOT REALISTIC! Sure, it happens for a lucky few and that’s amazing, but it’s not the norm. It will likely take some time to gain some experience to land your dream job and you’re going to have to put in a lot of work to get there.

If your program included an internship, then you’re already one step ahead of the game! Look into gaining additional internship experience post-graduation, working part-time, or even freelancing to build up your resume.

Set realistic expectations to help you reach your end goal. Write out your resume, update your LinkedIn profile, draft a cover letter and dedicate just a couple of hours a week to search and apply for jobs. Those are realistic goals to help you land the full-time job you dream of!

In your personal life

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Whether you’re single or taken, make sure your expectations for your love life are realistic.

The only expectation you need to have for yourself when it comes to relationships and romance is that you’re happy! It’s that simple. And if you’re not happy, then look for ways to change that.

If you’re single and you want a relationship, then put yourself out there! Try some dating apps, but be upfront about exactly what you’re looking for.

And if you’re in a relationship, but not happy, make sure you talk to your partner. Communication is key and is definitely a realistic expectation! Only together can you find ways to improve your relationship.

But regardless, don’t expect a whirlwind romance like in your favourite Hollywood blockbusters and don’t let those Instagram engagement photos get to you!

Love is different for everyone.

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No one’s journey is the same, so stop comparing your life to other people’s highlight reel. After all, what you see on social media is, in fact, just a highlight reel.

You’re on your own journey.

Trust in yourself, be realistic, and your time will come.

Help set realistic expectations for all your relationships by learning the importance of maintaining healthy relationships in your school, work and social lives.

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