The Dangers of Living for Expectations Instead of Living in the Now

Have you recently began to wonder about the grass on the other side of the fence? Do you ever stop to think about the effect that it has on your current situation and your motivation levels? Constantly looking over to what others have and comparing it to your own life can be so very damaging in all areas of your life.

Theodore Roosevelt says it best here:

[ctt title=”“Comparison is the thief of joy.”” tweet=”“Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt via @thecarlivh” coverup=”G5Wq3″]

When you’re always looking over at what others are doing, you will get so distracting trying to live up to those expectations, instead of living in the present – in the here and now. You will get so caught up in what you’re missing out on, or what you don’t have that you completely forget to enjoy and be grateful for all the amazing things that you already have.

Over the past few weeks I have really had to re-evaluate exactly where I was at in not only my business, but my life as well. Believe it or not, but the one definitely has an affect on the other, especially for us women. Taking care of ourselves and our happiness has such a big impact on both our confidence and overall performance, whether that be in completing our daily tasks or even the manner in which we approach big life-time goals.


So what are the dangers of living for expectations instead of living in the now? As I’ve worked through the stages of recognizing these dangers I have created a list of four that have most impacted my life and my business. I have also designed 4 amazing steps to help you combat these dangers and step into the prosperity of living in the now.


Always looking over at someone else’s life forms a mental prison for yourself. Instead of focusing on your life and the amazing opportunities at your disposal, you are constantly being let down by unmet expectations and a desire for something that you do not have. The biggest question to ask yourself here is, “Would my feelings really change if I had those things, or would I then be on to the next expectation?” And that’s exactly why it can be so debilitating to live on these never-ending stands of expectations.

Living in the now allows you to be fully present, and opens up your inner ‘eyes’ to really see and appreciate all that you have. If you spend your time noticing your current opportunities, you will be able to celebrate your current achievements and you will no longer be held captive by the disappointment of trying to be somewhere where you are not. Now this does not mean that you shouldn’t strive to reach your big goals or work hard to build a life that you love, no. It simply means that you need to recognize that in order to be happy at the stage in your life, you also need to be happy where you are now.

[ctt title=”“The grass isn’t always greener on the others side, it’s usually just more grass!” – Carli van Heerden” tweet=”“The grass isn’t always greener on the others side, it’s usually just more grass!” – @thecarlivh” coverup=”3gK0U”]


When disappointments are always on the horizon it is near impossible to stay motivated to do just about anything. You start to adapt a mindset of, “Well I’m not where I want to be, so why bother?” Oh how damaging this perspective can be. We often forget that it takes hard work to get to the next level, and we are put through seasons in life to shape us and teach us things that will be critical for our business and growth in the future.

[ctt title=”“Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.” – Jon Acuff” tweet=”“Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.” – Jon Acuff via @thecarlivh” coverup=”8RoGz”]

Again, when you are looking over at someone else you are bound to be disappointed. This is often because they are at a much different stage in their journey, and have probably already gone through the process or stage that you are in at the moment. So don’t compare! Everyone has their own unique path to follow in life, and you won’t get through it if you’re always focusing on someone else’s path. Motivation comes from understanding your personal goals and being the best version of yourself that you possibly can.


Living for expectations robs you of experiencing all that the present has to offer. The opportunities that you have at your fingertips can so enrich your life, all you need to do is step into them! Don’t focus on others – instead put all of your time and energy into finding your own voice and recognizing where you fit into this great big world. Seize every moment to invest in yourself and to grow your experiences, whatever they may be! You never know how those experiences might help you in the future. It might even change someone else’s life for the better.


When your focus is somewhere else, on another ‘version’ of your life, prevents you from moving forward into the opportunities at hand. Standing still in life is sometimes worse for you than trying and failing. When you’re always waiting on false expectations or being disappointed by things that don’t happen, you will become completely stuck and frozen in time. Instead of letting it get to that point, you need to be able to re-connect with yourself to find out what it truly is that you desire, then create a plan to do something about it! Taking action is the best way to combat stagnation, and can help you to move past those disappointments and on towards a path of reaching your goals.

So where do you go from here? How to you ensure that you aren’t waiting on a life that isn’t yours? You need to begin by implementing the framework that I call, “The 4 R’s”. Take yourself through this process, and work through each step to create the change to take your focus off of expectations of what you wish you had and help you to start living for the now.

THE 4 R’s

1. Recognize – The first step is recognition. Until you recognize that you are not connected to living in the present, there will be no reason for you to start to change. Once you have identified your mindset and the reasons for all those disappointments, it will be that much easier to move through it and on to your purpose.

2. Reconnect – It is important to reconnect with yourself and find out what your true purpose is. If you don’t know what it is that you really want out of life, then you are continually going to be disappointed with whatever life brings your way. Once you have identified that deep desire within you, it is time to take action. Without action there cannot be change, and if you don’t try something different you will always receive the same results.

3. Re-Prioritize – Now that you know what your desires are, re-prioritze your life, goals, and mission to equip and empower you to implement the change you need in order to be fully present and build your life of purpose. This takes your mind off of those expectations, and re-focuses your mind on finding out what the truly important aspects of your life are.

4. Redesign – Re-creating your mindset and your life around your intended purpose is key. This will help you to maintain the change, and prevents you from falling back into the captive state of living on the expectations of an alternate life. Take what you were given and make it the best that you possibly can. Learn how to adapt and incorporate all of your valuable experiences into every facet of your life.

So instead of getting lost in that comparison, focus your attention on what you currently have. Discover your gifts and work like crazy to let them shine! There truly is no one in this world who is better at being YOU!

  1. Have you recognized these dangers in your own life? Did you find the 4 R’s helpful for combating these dangers?
  2. What other strategies do you use to ensure that you are fully present in your life?
  3. Share this article now! And don’t forget to sign up for my FREE weekly newsletter below

As always, desire to inspire.



Featured Image: Unsplash

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