If you’re overly optimistic. I feel you- I’m right there with you. Due to my overly optimistic nature, I often believe that everything is going to work out exactly like I want it to as long as I put in the effort and remain positive. The truth is, however, it doesn’t always happen that way.

Luckily, because of this same optimism, I tend to deal with setbacks and failures better than most. The problem, however, occurs when I push others to get outside of their comfort zones (because of my optimism). I know that my daughters have fallen victim to this extreme optimism on more than one occasion. As such, I’m working hard to become a bit more realistic for them and myself.

Here are some actions that I can take to that end and you can too:

  • Try to avoid all or nothing thinking. Outcomes are not wins or losses or black or white. There is something good in every negative outcome, and something bad in every positive one. It’s important to view it that way.
  • Avoid should statements. These are sayings like, “I should have known better,” or “I should have seen it coming.” We can never really know the outcome until it arrives so these type of statements are not helpful.
  • Be honest with yourself about everything from the probability to your own internal assumptions. When something is challenging or there are low odds, understand that the probability is that it is not going to happen. It’s still okay to go for it though, no matter what the statistics say.
  • Be realistic about the challenges that stand betweeen you and your success If we’re overly optimistic, we may not properly prepare ourselves to rise to the occasion. Take a long hard look at what’s needed to make it happen.
  • Prepare for challenges. There are obstacles associated with every achievement. Understand what those challenges are and come up with a plan to deal with them.
  • Take a hard look at your expectations. Are they realistic or are you holding yourself to an impossibly high standard? When a bar is high, you need to understand and come to terms with that.
  • Give yourself the time you need. Sometimes it’s not a no, it’s a not yet. It’s crucial to remind yourself that many things take multiple attempts.
  • Appreciate what you already have. When thinking about going after any goal, it’s essential to take stock of what you already have, and view the next thing as “nice to have,” but not necessary.
  • Try to determine whether your expectations are healthy. Again, this has to do with being realistic. How likely is it that what you want will come to pass? It’s great to go for it anyway, but be sure to remind yourself of the actual probability before diving in with too many expectations.