Setting the bar too high: Misery or Motivation [reflection/blog]

Setting the bar too high: Misery or Motivation [reflection/blog]

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We can have it all! At least that’s what we’re told. But what does that mean? Most of us define “having it all” as having a spouse, kids, successful career, education, ideal physical fitness, financial abundance, and domestic perfection. But no matter how you define it, what is the cost that you’re willing to pay for it? Sometimes the cost can outweigh the reward. Just because we can set high expectations, doesn’t mean we that should. There does come a point when setting the bar too high can make us more miserable than motivated.

Okay, I know what all of you overachievers are thinking, but hear me out. Let’s face it, our mindsets have shifted over the years. We’ve transformed our opportunities into mandatory requirements that somehow validate our success, happiness and self-worth. But pressures tend to mount when we set high expectations within OUR self-imposed deadlines without calculating setbacks, obstacles or life getting in the way of OUR plan. Thus, our quest to reach these ‘required’ goals turns into a painful journey of stress and disappointment.

If you find yourself feeling the pressures of overambitious goals, give yourself a break and lower the bar! Don’t continue to listen to the part of you that expects too much. It is possible to go overboard with setting your goals. Having a massive ‘to do’ list doesn’t lead to happiness. So it’s okay to loosen the grip on the bar, even just a little, to give yourself some breathing room.

According to Matthew 11:30, Jesus said, “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” When our expectations line up with God’s perfect will for our lives, it isn’t a burden. The yoke is easy. Sometimes we forget that God didn’t put us out here to be superstars for our own glory, but for His. Maybe we’re right where God wants us to be, but God can’t bless us with anything more because we’re missing the beauty of our current situation.

So how can you lighten your burden? Here are some things that work for me:
1. Celebrate your small victories instead of always seeking the big ones. You miss the journey if you focus too much on the finish line.
2. Recognize that you are doing a good job. Instead of kicking your butt for what you’re not doing, give yourself a pat on the back for all the things that you are currently doing.
3. Lighten the load. If you set goals and then get mad because they weren’t accomplished, maybe they weren’t attainable in the first place.

If you have other ways of loosening the grip on your bar, please share them. We’d love to hear from you.