Replace Your Expectations With Appreciation For A Better 2021

It’s not that easy to plan for your life or business when the world is this uncertain. You can’t organise that trip away or family gathering or even your next meal out. You’re making targets and forecasts, but they’re based on prayers and hopes instead of a solid base, leading you into a false sense of security. You revisit, reassess and revise them accordingly, but checkpoint after checkpoint, you’re still falling short. It’s a frustrating loop to be caught in.

Your expectations might be continually not being met. So what can you do?

Let go of certainty

Get comfortable with the feeling of not knowing what might happen. Let go of the need to control the future and resist the urge to make those plans. Fans of defined goals, concrete plans and schedules can hold off writing them, just for a while. Quit the expectations, the agendas and the hoping of a solid foundation.

It’s easy to focus your thoughts and conversations on what might have been. Where your business would be if it wasn’t for this year. What you’d be doing, who you’d be seeing, where you’d be traveling. I could tell you about 2020 in terms of cancelations and postponements and everything I couldn’t do; but what would be the point?

Recognise that expectations probably didn’t serve you during 2020. The playing field changed and the goalposts moved and it was less about expectations based on 2019’s metrics and more about finding our new feet and going from there. The past only existed to bring you here. The future is uncertain, now more than ever. Focus on being present. Stringing together good days and working with only what is right in front of you.

Goats that live on the side of mountains learn to balance on their sloping banks. Seafarers soon get their sea legs. Cats can sleep in any spot. Bands make their touring buses their home and the most committed of writers can write from any location.

Create “if this then that” maps of the future, but don’t hang your hopes on one outcome and keep your eggs in separate baskets. Let go of the need for a solid foundation that doesn’t exist. Let go of the need to be sure. Find the undeniable truth in any uncertainty. Don’t look for the stability; be it.

Appreciate more

Instead of setting expectations that might not be met, focus on appreciation. What do you have now that you didn’t before? What do you value that you once took for granted? What has been the silver lining of the dark clouds and how have you thrived in this crisis?

If you’re reading this; you are alive with the ability to think. You can choose how you spend your time. You have a voice that you can use. Maybe your business has disappeared and your income has taken a hit and you miss your friends, but digging deep enough gives rise to an appreciation of what you do have.

Write down your appreciation for the things you’ve gained and the things you haven’t lost. The connections you’ve made, the relationships you’ve nurtured. The plans you’ve cancelled that have created space. The obligations you’re now free from that you didn’t want in the first place. Anchor yourself to your gratitude rather than anything material.

At some point in the future, you’ll be back to rushing and pushing and not having room to think. You’ll crave the space for self-awareness and you’ll want it back.

Frame your situation better

We’re not all in the same boat, but we’re in the same storm. What if you saw 2020 as a test? Of your resilience, your resourcefulness and your patience? An (anti)social experiment. Where you were thrown in at the deep end and assessed on how well you swam.

Appreciate the challenge. Appreciate the unknown. Appreciate that everything has changed and it might never be the same. Appreciate that you’re part of a landmark year that will shape every future one. The end is in sight, but it might be your beginning. Appreciate every lesson and prepare for your comeback.