Drip, Drip: Expectations vs. Reality


We have literally thousands of thoughts about the future every day. We mull over our shopping list and think about taking the kids to the dentist next week. We plan meetings and vacations. We schedule an appointment with the plumber and make lists for an upcoming event. There’s nothing wrong with thinking about the future. It’s unavoidable and it’s beneficial.

Our plans and goals project into the future. We make these projections based on our hopes and dreams, and the reality we’d like to see happen.

The problem comes in when we get too attached to our expectations.

When our reality doesn’t match what we projected, we’re usually not aware of the emotional drain it causes.

It is a Law of Physics that all energy has to be accounted for.¬†We may not think it’s a big deal that we have a little emotional energy going out through anxiety and stress about our expectations versus our reality, but the cumulative effect IS a big deal. It leeches energy and spends it, so it’s not available for the present.

How much energy do we spend wondering how things will work out? How much fear and anxiety attach themselves to our projections about the future?

Or this:

How often do we project that we won’t have enough time, that we can’t get it all done, that this is too hard?

And this:

How much emotional energy do we spend being disappointed and frustrated because our day [homeschool day, special event, appointment, fill-in-the-blank] didn’t go as we expected?

When we care too much about life conforming to our expectations, we’re setting ourselves up for disappointment.

We expect predictable results from our efforts, and when things go wrong we think we’re entitled to the stress we feel.

Energy drains won’t stop themselves. I’ve never known a leaky faucet that fixed itself. We have to notice and stop the pattern of thinking that keeps dripping. When that emotional energy is being spent on anxiety and disappointment, it’s not available to be used in the here and now. This zaps creativity. It sucks away joy and dries up hope.

Catch yourself in the act of attaching anxiety and fear to your projections about the future. Stop the energy leaks of disappointment over your expectations vs. reality. Ask yourself “What am I learning?” and be happy with progress over perfection. No more despair over what amounts to adult expectations on children.

Stop the drain and use the energy you saved for staying present and creative today.

Have you realized that you have some leaks to fix? We all do. Awareness is the first step.



  1. I ran head to head with this when I did a 10 day boot camp and then 2 weeks of Total Workout every other day and lost NO INCHES from my abdomen. Realistically speaking, I have had 2 c-sections and probably my abdominal muscles are just too weak to expect anything fabulous from the beginning. I have trouble holding everything in just through PBS! Is there another T-tapp workout DVD I should use to focus on this area? Or…..just keep up with the Total Workout and be more mindful of when I have ‘let go’ in my tummy? It was so disappointing! Because of this ONE problem I lost no sizes.

    1. Charlotte Siems says:

      Hi Naomi,
      Your body type, health issues and many other factors also come into play. The fact that you were able to do a 10-day bootcamp and continue with the entire Total Workout every other day for two weeks could be an indicator that your body is still working to build mind-to-muscle connections and you’re not able to activate muscle. Back up and work on Instructional #1 a few times. Then do Basic Workout Plus, and work really hard on form. There’s time to do the second half of the Total Workout later. For now, work on activating muscle.

      1. Ha Ha! That’s not what I thought you were gonna say! I will do just that, though.

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