When Is It Good to Set High Expecations for Yourself (And When Is Not)?

The main character and narrator in Charles Dickens’ “Great Expectations” was Pip, whose great expectations were to rise above his poor, uneducated existence to become a gentleman worthy of marrying his true love. Despite his high expectations, he doesn’t end up with a girl for a variety of reasons.

High expectations aren’t always worth setting. But when should you set high expectations? And when should you set your sights a little lower?

In every situation that calls for expectations, your guideword should be “reasonable.” Adjusting your expectations to the right height can help you set realistic goals, balance your achievements, save yourself the disappointment, and find contentment in your life.

When to Set High Expectations?

The setting of expectations is highly personal. Rule No. 1 is to not set them for others over whom you have no control. When people disappoint you, it’s usually because you set unreasonable expectations for them.

Say you’re looking forward to a magical New Year’s Eve celebration with your crush. You’re planning to express your love, so your crush must be, too—right? When that doesn’t happen, you’re devastated because your crush didn’t live up to your expectations.

Magical thinking is defined as the belief that one’s ideas, thoughts, actions, words, or use of symbols can influence the course of events in the material world. Magical thinking is the athlete who wears the same dirty socks every game since the team started winning or the person who expects extra cash when his palms start itching.

Magical thinking leads to phenomenally high expectations, but does it work? Studies have shown it gives true believers more self-confidence which, in turn, can improve performance. But if you interpret it strictly—that simply thinking about an outcome causes it—you’ll be sadly mistaken.

Instead of magic, you should rely on setting high expectations for yourself where attainment would result in a meaningful improvement in your life. Situations that call for high expectations include:

1. Your Job

Your job is one area of your life where you want to excel. You want to be better than others at what you do and to be rewarded for it. Striving for upward mobility prevents stagnation in your profession.

While having high expectations for yourself at work can be stressful, it can also make your job more engaging. Taking pride in your work, helping others grow, and delighting your clients are great ways to remind yourself why you do what you do. Providing value makes showing up to work every day fulfilling and worthwhile.

2. Your Health

Nothing in life deserves higher expectations than your health. Without it, everything else in life will feel like a struggle. Setting high standards for your exercise, diet, and nutrition keeps you physically capable. Exercise daily, and make sure every meal includes a fruit and a vegetable.

Treat your mental health the same way. Making time to meditate is a lot easier if you have high standards for your emotional well-being.

Of course, there are some health issues people can’t avoid, like getting certain cancers or autoimmune diseases. But setting high goals for treating or managing them is still important for your quality of life.

3. Your Treatment of Others

Even if you’re not an avid reader of the Bible, you’ve probably heard of the “Golden Rule”: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Respect for others is one area where you should never make compromises.

Whoever you are, you owe others your time. Phil Stover, a venture capitalist and CEO of gaming community PvP.com, is unusual among VCs in his willingness to help entrepreneurs with things like pitch preparation. While VCs are busy people, Phil knows the importance of treating others well.

Maintaining high expectations for how you treat others isn’t always easy. After all, there are a lot of people whose actions and words make it tough to respect them. Next time you have to deal with someone who’s being difficult, remember that respect is returned in the proportion it’s given.

One of the best ways to earn others’ respect is to treat them with respect. Perhaps in the attempt, you will help someone else figure out the importance of holding others in high esteem.

What if you don’t quite measure up to your expectations for your job, your health, or your treatment of others? You would still have done better than if you had not. That alone is a reason to hold high standards. But sometimes, it’s okay to let them slip.

When to Lower the Bar?

In a 2014 MRI study about happiness and expectations, neuroscientist Robb Rutledge noted: “Our basic finding is that happiness depends not on how well things are going, but whether things are going worse or better than expected.”

Unmet expectations often result in pessimism, lack of motivation, and apathy. But setting the bar low simply because you fear failure isn’t a good idea.

Self-doubt isn’t much of a motivator, and that’s precisely why it’s important to overcome your fear of failure. Failure can be a good thing. It can help you learn new skills, rethink your assumptions, and find your path to happiness.

Only when you set low expectations for yourself, however, can you truly appreciate failure. In these three situations, go ahead and lower your goals for yourself:

1. Your Hobbies

You pick up hobbies because you want to, not because you have to. In most cases, you do them for enjoyment, not to be the best at them. Unlike your desire to shine on that project at work, hobbies are less about competition and more about fun and personal growth.

Of course, you shouldn’t start a hobby with absolutely no expectations. Maybe your expectation is not to become a master chef but to learn some knife skills. You’ve set the bar lower without entirely forgoing the expectation that you will learn something new.

Even if you still need some help in the kitchen, you’ve still won. Whatever you’ve learned about knife skills is more than you knew before. Apply them to master another chef skill, such as cleaning a whole fish.

2. Your Household Chores

You want your house to be clean and tidy, right? Of course, but it doesn’t need to be the cleanest and tidiest in town.

No matter how many times or for how long you scrub that spot on the carpet, it won’t ever come entirely out. The stain has already set, so expecting yourself to eliminate it isn’t realistic.

Set a schedule that’s realistic for you. Homecare experts suggest vacuuming every day, but who has time for that?

If you only have time to vacuum once a week, that’s perfectly fine. You’ll keep your house clean enough for you to enjoy it, and you can rest easy knowing the chore is complete.

3. Your Expectations of Others

You know that expecting too much out of other people just leads to disappointment. Why not instead set low expectations and be unsurprised when they meet or exceed them? You can’t force others to meet your expectations, so don’t frustrate yourself in the attempt.

Reasonable expectations for your friends and family will give you better, happier relationships with them. Wouldn’t you rather be happy with them than see them meet some artificial standard you’ve set for them? Compassion is the key to happy relationships.

Instead of viewing your lower expectations for others as allowing them to fail, think of it as giving them a chance to impress you. You’ll be impressed more often than you think.

Now, Back to Pip

Although Pip doesn’t get the girl, the lessons he learns in pursuit of his great expectations leave him content at the end of the novel. He learns the value of compassion in his relationships (i.e., setting lower expectations) and the value of respecting others (i.e., setting higher standards).

Pip reaches those great expectations of education, money, and becoming a member of high society, but none of those lift him to the highest goal of marrying the woman he loves. In his drive to succeed, he neglected those relationships that might have brought him more joy and love.

There’s nothing wrong with having great expectations. At times, there’s nothing wrong with not-so-great ones, either. To live your best life, know the difference.

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The success of our day is largely dependent on the quality of our planning. Not to miss out anything in their to-dos, some people prefer to make a list of upcoming tasks in a notebook, while others have long started using digital technology solutions.

Calendar applications are some of the main tools that are worth using to organize our life and plan your time carefully.

Many people have switched to specific tools; however, there are still some who do not use calendars on a daily basis. They may find some applications uncomfortable to use, non-functional, or expensive.

In this article, we are going to check out the best calendars apps to help you stay organized.

Before You Download

As you are no doubt aware, there are all kinds of calendar apps available. Instead of you sifting through the hundreds of them, we’ve handpicked 10 of the best calendar apps you can get. On top of glowing reviews from each one, we’ve considered the following aspects when creating this list:

  • User Interface – How you navigate the app should be smooth and simple. The buttons on the app should be clear, obvious and easy to move through.
  • Synchronization – Whether it’s with other calendar apps or with other apps, syncing apps should be easy and enhance your overall experience with the app.
  • Additional features – Since there are so many options for calendars, many of these apps offer additional features. These features make the apps stand out from the other apps and provide unique experiences to you.

1. Any.do Calendar

This calendar has direct integration with Any.Do To-Do List, which gives you a unique tandem of two applications.

Apart from its extended functionality, Cal Calendar is easy to use. The creation of events is very simple and fast.

What is more, depending on the name of the event, the application automatically adds contacts and geolocation data to the entry description. You can even import your lists and entries from Any.do.

Any.do Calendar is a great option for any type of user. It is very convenient and doesn’t overcomplicate the mode of display.

Another good thing is that this tool is available for free, so you can use it without spending a dime for the software.

Download Any.do Calendar here!

2. Google Calendar

Google Calendar is the official calendar for Android devices that has been tested out by many users around the globe. If you are right now trying to get away from it, consider changing your mind.

Since this application is installed on most Android devices by default, many users think that there is nothing special in this program. They are wrong.

Google has been updating its calendar for quite a few years, and now it comes in Material Design with advanced event features, direct integration into other Google services (for example, supports reminders and Google Now), and comes with Exchange support.

The program is super easy and will not cost a dime for you. It is a good thing, right?

Download Google Calendar here.

3. Calendar

Calendar is a relatively new app. It works as a web app and for both iOS and Android devices. It is an intelligent app that learns your contacts, schedule and tasks. It also helps you schedule and arrange meetings according to your available time slots.

A good thing about Calendar is that it allows you to sync up with other calendars you use such as Apple Calendar and Google Calendar. And so you can manage all the calendars you have in one place.

Calendar also gives you analytics of your meetings, giving you a clear picture on how you can improve your time management.

Download Calendar: Meeting & Scheduling here.

4. Business Calendar

Business Calendar is geared towards people who use their calendar for work purposes and business task planning. It offers different modes with wide configuration capabilities.

The application gives a default view mode by months, and events can be marked in different colors. Display modes/ sorting can be adjusted to your needs (by month, day, year, or events).

You can also set a multi-day viewing mode to see how things look for the next few days. Scrolling up and down moves you by month, and if you check a few days, they will be shown in a more detailed form.

The day display mode offers hourly scheduling, and the schedule mode provides a detailed schedule for a single event.

Business Calendar is a great tool for planning/ scheduling cases, tasks, and events. There is a support for recurring events, which can be set up in just a few clicks.

Having purchased software, you can use it to import and export other calendars, delete, copy, or move several events at the same time.

Android Business Calendar application may seem somewhat chaotic, but it works fine and is easy to work with if you play with it for a while.

A full version of the application is available for $4.99, but you can also find a free version for the app test drive.

Download Business Calendar here.

5. aCalendar

aCalendar opens our collection of top 10 calendar applications available on the market today. With its appealing design, easy navigation, and great functionality, it is one of the most popular calendar apps in our list.

Some of extra functions include color schemes for each case type (48 colors to choose from), different types of demonstrations, different widgets, moon phases, and much more.

Taking into account it functionality, aCalendar is a reliable calendar application that has an easy-to-navigate interface with three display options. Scrolling from side to side allows you to switch between the display modes of the month, week and day.

When scrolling down and up, you are moving through the calendar at intervals in accordance with the selected display mode.

Apart from its time planning feature, aCalendar synchronizes photos from contact lists or social networks to remind you about birthdays, anniversaries, or any other special dates.

The program also supports data transfer through NFC and full-screen widgets, which eases your work with any data.

The program is available for free, but you can also get even more features if you buy the extended version of software for $4.99.

Download aCalendar here.

6. DigiCal Calendar

DigiCal Calendar is very similar to Cal Calendar in the fact that the application focuses on design more than on its functionality. However, this doesn’t mean that the application doesn’t serve the purpose.

With this calendar application, you can synchronize all your calendars and view them in different ways.

Along with the basic functions, this program comes with support for Google Calendar, Outlook, and includes some unique and interesting features. You can match keywords to the image or set up a dark theme.

The app can even show you the weather forecast for three days. There are many other features that deserve the attention of people who really like to use calendar applications.

Download DigiCal Calendar here.

7. SolCalendar

SolCalendar can be called a universal application. It claims to be an all-in-one digital solution having a basic calendar functionality combined with some other advanced features, such as weather forecast for a specific day.

The application supports Google Calendar, as well as tasks, widgets, lunar calendar and even Foursquare.

Those searching for a calendar application to cover just everything in its functionality, SolCalendar is a program to consider. There are a lot of interesting things in this application; the program does an excellent job working in “all-in-one” mode.

Test SolCalendar – the application is available for free. You can test it out without purchasing the service.

Download SolCalendar here.

8. IRL Event Social Network

One of the most unique apps on this list is the IRL Event Social Network app. As you can guess from the name, the core focus of this app is social networking. Unlike other social media platforms, you can consider this platform to function similar to Meetup.com. It’s a site where you can connect with other people within your area that share a similar interest.

IRL is that while also providing a convenient calendar for you to schedule events and plan out your day. Though due to it being a secondary focus, you’re lacking a lot of the syncing aspects that other apps have on this list. Regardless, because of this huge social feature, it’s worth considering for those who want to make more connections.

Download IRL Event Social Network here.

9. Today Calendar

Today Calendar is one of the most hip and edgy calendars in our list. The solution was one of the first ones that really embraced Material Design and remains one of the few that adhere to the neat style.

The calendar application offers bold colors, simple controls, and great functionality. This is not as heavy an application as many others; it will not eat all the memory of your device.

If you are not searching for something complicated and over-functional, Today Calendar is what you need. You can always test the application before paying for it – the program is available for free.

Download Today Calendar here.

10. Timepage

Timepage is an intuitive calendar app that will manage your time in a way that other calendar apps can’t. It offers the same sort of functions that you’d expect from other calendar apps: opportunities to record events, notifications and reminders, weather, and driving duration to a particular event. However, the app goes beyond those functionalities in two ways.

The first way is that while the app sends you notifications, it also has reminders for you for what is coming up next. That bit of extra time can allow you to prepare and make adjustments to your day if need be.

The second function – which is more important – is the heat map when you go to see the full view of your calendar. This heat map indicates what days you are most busy and other days where you are freer. This heat map provides a quick glance to determine broadly what days are good to add more events and other tasks.

Download Timepage here.

Our Verdict

Searching for the right application to manage your various calendars and plan your busy day can sometimes turn into a streak of obstacles.

Most of us need flexible applications that can be easily used to manage our tough schedule. The application should have all necessary time planning functions and be intuitive.

Stylish design and limitless compatibility also matter. It is not always easy to find such a program.

The above digital calendar solutions fall under the category “worth” of being used. They are modern, multifunctional, easy, and easy. Pick the one you like!

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