Monday, July 14, 2008

On Self-Letdown

I find it hard to not meet expectations, especially my own. I am someone who will generally strive as hard as possible (although Wife might disagree) to meet the expectations that are presented to me. I do not say this to brag, but to more to point out dreadfully incompetent feeling that I get when I don't meet my own expectations. Doing well is fine by me, and I thrive in it. Becoming the youngest Branch Manager in the 65 year plus history of my company....great; not meeting sales expectations....harrowing. I try sooo hard dang it. It is such a letdown to NOT meet the expectations.

I have been struggling for a year plus with getting back in shape and losing weight. I know this sounds like 17 million people that you already know, and you are already worried where this will be going. No, I am not looking for sympathy. I am more wanting to express that feeling of failure/frustration we all feel when we fall short of our goals...real or imagined. For some reason I thought I would just be able to pick back up a tennis racquet and start jogging a couple of times a week, and I would be back out there playing with the best of them. I was wrong!

This past week, I was in the Ann Arbor City Tennis Tournament 4.0 singles division. I played last year, but was really just at the start of getting back into shape, and lost in the first round. I felt much better going in this time. I set some expectations for myself...play to the ability you know that you can play, don't lose the mental battle, and make it past the first round. I DID meet some of my expectations, winning the first two round and making it to the quarterfinals. Then came the letdown. I played my quarterfinal match like someone wholly different then the passionate, experienced player who had gutted out victories in the first two rounds. This is where I became disappointed in myself... if I had just lost to better player, I could have dealt with that, but I had beaten myself, and there is no worse letdown then that.

So on to the next stage of my tennis/getting in shape plan. It is time to really start working the body. I need to play tennis a lot, and work on the mental aspect of my game. I also need to recommit to keeping track of my food and burning off lots of calories via exercise. I have found in the past when I get into a funk with self-expectations, I need to sit back and think about why I set them in the first place. That often makes me focus on them more intensely and realize what needs to be done to accomplish them. So my goal for next year is to make the finals of 4.0. I have a year to make it happen...

Does anyone out there have any thoughts on self-expectations, or how to discipline oneself to meet goals?

1 comment:

Rosiecat said...

Oh, JD. In a totally different arena of life, I empathize with you. My career goals (i.e., experiments in the lab that I wanted to complete successfully) totally tanked after--I kid you not--a year of working toward those goals. I was crushed. It hurt.

I've been thinking a lot about goals and aspirations: why do we want the things we want? Is life really just a list of accomplishments? I maintain the answer is NO to the latter question. I'm not sure about the answer to the first question.

But you, my friend, are a deeply introspective person. You are also one of the most gregarious people I know. What a wonderful combination of qualities you have!

I think you are on the right path to achieve your goals. Although I don't play tennis, I wonder if there aren't other things you can do to improve your game: speed drills of some type? short bursts of sprinting during your running work-outs? lifting weights? I think that expanding your exercise horizons to improve your game would probably also help with your overall fitness/weight goals because the more unexpected activity you throw at your body, the more calories you burn because your body is inefficient at doing things it doesn't know how to do.

Mentally, all I can say is this: believe that you can do it. And I know you CAN do it. So hop to it!