Change as the Prelude to Growth and Your Expectations

Change as the Prelude to Growth and Your Expectations

If you are planning to make some personal changes, take a closer look at what you are expecting and how you plan to make the change. According to researchers Polivy and Herman (2002), there are some common kinds of unrealistic expectations that might set you up for failure when you try to change. They are usually in the following areas:

  • How much change: People often think they are capable of changing far more than they really can, as a result, they reject more modest and achievable goals. If you do have to make a large change, break it down into a series of smaller changes for more chance of success.
  • How quickly and easily you can change: People are often too optimistic about how long it is going to take and how hard it may be!  Try to be very realistic in your planning and think about obstacles and risks, and how you will overcome them
  • Effects of change on other parts of your life: People often overestimate how much they can improve their lives with just one kind of change.  And people often miss out because they don’t realize that you can learn a lot from the process of change and enjoy parts of the change.  You can then apply the learning to other changes you need to make.

If you can take these points on board and avoid unrealistic expectations, you give yourself a better chance at success. So, go forward with hope. Go ahead and believe in yourself and your plans for change. Reaffirm that you have the motivation and perseverance to achieve your goals. Remind yourself of all the benefits you will be able to enjoy. But, above all, be realistic in your expectations. This will help you to be patient with yourself when things are going slowly and encourage you when thing don’t go as smoothly as you first thought. With positive, but realistic, self-belief and realistic plans,  you really can become the person you want to be.

Wendy Mason is a career coach.  She helps people reach their goals and aspirations, without sacrificing their home and personal life.  Before working as a coach, Wendy had a long career in both the public and private sectors in general management and consultancy as well as spells in HR.  She now divides her time between coaching and writing. You can contact Wendy at and find out more at

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