This article contains strategies that will help you stop expecting immediate results and commit for the long haul.
The world is becoming increasingly fast-paced.
However, we can’t everything we want instantly.
For instance, working on improving your marriage, losing weight, starting a successful business… it all takes some time before we get the desired results.
People that patience isn’t their best virtue, usually, share some of these signs:
- They don’t believe in the saying that good things come to those who wait.
- They view time as money and they don’t want to waste any second of it.
- If they don’t see immediate results, they’re likely to decide that this isn’t working and give up.
- They’re always looking for shortcuts to do things.
- They find it hard to stick to their goals or build a new habit.
- They underestimate how long it’s going to take to reach their goals.
If this describes you, keep reading.
Why Do We Expect Immediate Results?
One of the examples that show how many people are looking for immediate results and quick fixes is the fact that the vast majority of people taking antidepressants haven’t even been diagnosed with depression by a mental health professional.
Still, they would take the medication as a shortcut to improve their lives.
What people don’t realize is that there’s no magic pill that can make your life better. It takes time and effort to reach a balanced life.
The world has become increasingly fast-paced and it doesn’t help either to hear about someone who became an “overnight success”.
Some musician who got discovered on Youtube, or a start-up that made millions of dollars as soon as they launched.
So there’s no wonder we have come to expect immediate results in many areas of our lives.
However, and despite these instant success stories, success is rarely instant.
Here are some more reasons why we expect immediate results:
1- Lack of patience.
When we don’t get the results we want right away, we give up or move on to the next thing believing that we’re wasting our time and that something else out there will work faster.
2- We overestimate our abilities.
Sometimes we think highly of ourselves that we end up setting high expectations of how well we’re going to do at any given task.
We might assume that we’ll become the best performing worker within the first month of employment.
Or that we’re able to lose thirty pounds in just two weeks. We end up feeling disappointed and discouraged when we don’t get these expected results.
3- We underestimate how long it’s going to take.
It’s easy to forget that personal change and growth don’t move as fast as the technologies of these days. We incorrectly assume that everything can happen fast. (*)
The Problem With Expecting Immediate Results
Unrealistic expectations about how fast you’re going to get results and how easy the change is going to be will likely set you up to fail and give up.
Below are some other problems that can occur when you expect immediate results:
1- You may be tempted to take shortcuts.
When you’re not able t see much progress, you might be tempted to take a shortcut. Someone who isn’t seeing results from her diet, might overdo it and go on a crash diet in order to speed up the process.
However crash diets can weaken your immune system and increase your risk of dehydration, heart palpitations, and cardiac stress, making it an unsafe way to lose weight.
2- You might make the wrong judgment.
When your expectations aren’t met, you may decide that it isn’t working and that you shouldn’t waste more time, while in reality, you might be so close to success.
3- It brings in a flock of negative emotions.
When you can’t see results, you’re likely to become disappointed and frustrated. This can slow you down and maybe even be tempted to give up and never try again. (*)
Don’t Expect Immediate Results: How To Commit To The Long Haul?
#1. Create More Realistic Expectations
Unrealistic expectations can set you up to fail. It’s important to make your expectations as realistic as possible if you want to commit on the long haul.
To achieve that try the following:
1- Don’t overestimate how easy the change is going to be. Acknowledge that doing something different and getting used to something new in your life is going to take some time.
2- Avoid placing a definite time limit. Don’t create a definitive timeline for the change you want to make.
Even though some people would claim that establishing a good habit or breaking a bad habit takes about 21 days, reality can be different. It might take much longer than that to establish your desired change.
3- Don’t overestimate the effects of the change on the quality of your life. Some people might believe that losing weight would make them feel good about themselves and they feel motivated to start dieting and exercising.
However, after a while, even when they’ve some weight, they can’t feel the positive change their weight loss made on the quality of their life. They soon feel discouraged and might give up.
#2. Acknowledge That Progress Isn’t Always Obvious
Progress isn’t always a straight line. Things can get worse before they can get better. The challenges that come with making a change can be discouraging.
You might even believe that things were much better before.
However, if you keep your sight on your long-term goals, it can get much easier to keep going.
To accurately measure your progress, ask yourself the following questions:
- What are the results that I can realistically expect within one week, one month, and one year?
- How will I know if what I’m doing is working and that I’m on track toward my goal?
#3. Practice Delaying Gratification
Instant gratification is at the heart of many problems whether it was physical, mental, or even financial problems.
Someone might not be able to put down the alcohol even though it’s causing him so many problems.
And while we might be good at delaying gratification in some areas of our lives, we might find it hard to do so in other areas.
Below are some strategies to help you delay gratification and stop expecting immediate results:
1- Keep your eyes on your end goal. When you keep your focus on your end goal, it becomes easier to find the motivation to keep going. Visualize yourself meeting your goal every morning to remind yourself of it.
2- Resist temptations. Create a plan that will help you stay away from temptation. If you’re trying to stop overspending, try to stay away from shops that you usually tend to spend your money in, or only take with you the amount of money that you need when you go grocery shopping.
3- Find ways to cope with feelings of impatience and frustration. Just because you’re frustrated, doesn’t mean that you should give up.
Expect these feelings and find healthy ways to cope with any negative feelings you might feel during the process of change.
4- Celebrate small achievements. You don’t have to wait until you reach your goal before celebrating. Instead, create short-term goals and celebrate each milestone you reach.
5- Pace yourself. People who make changes in a short amount of time are likely going to go back to their old ways.
Oftentimes, the best way to reach goals and maintain a change is to do it in a slow and steady pace.
Reaching your goals and making a change requires strong willpower to resist temptations.
Establish realistic expectations for yourself and be willing to commit to the long haul and you’ll increase your chances of reaching your goals. (*)
In today’s fast-paced world, it is easy to get caught up in the idea that everything should happen quickly and immediately.
However, it is important to remember that some things take time and patience.
When we expect immediate results from our actions, we may become frustrated and disappointed when things don’t happen as quickly as we want them to.
This can lead to stress and negativity, which ultimately hinders our progress.
- Portions of this article were adapted from the book 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do, © 2013 by Amy Morin. All rights reserved.
Hadiah is a counselor who is passionate about supporting individuals on their journey towards mental well-being. Hadiah not only writes insightful articles on various mental health topics but also creates engaging and practical mental health worksheets.
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