How I've learned to manage expectations to live my best life possible
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A letter from BurgerFit CEO, Alane Boyd
Managing expectations and adapting to unexpected situations has become my greatest ally when it comes to living life happily. When I first met my husband, he always told me, “Set really low expectations of me. That way, I’ll never let you down and maybe one day I’ll exceed them.” So romantic! Although he was joking, he was partly serious. I actually found myself telling him this Valentine’s Day that I had no expectations! And, I didn’t. Not because he is a bad husband but because he is busy, we are busy, and it honestly is not a day that I personally prioritize. I think it is silly to do something special that one day when there are over three hundred other days to show love. But that’s just me! Over the years, I have found myself needing to manage my expectations better in life and in business. Setting high expectations always left me disappointed because they were never met and I eventually learned that they were unrealistic in the first place.
Developing the skill of managing expectations has helped me process life better and adapt as needed. I’ve also seen that it has helped me be a better mom to my son, Fletcher. Amazingly enough, I’m seeing him in turn learn to adapt to almost anything with ease, which makes both of our days so much easier!
Last week was particularly hard with the winter storms we got in the south. Our daily plans were drastically changed due to power outages and horrible road conditions that left us stranded at home. In preparation for the storms, I had started making food Monday morning for the week in case we lost electricity – but I didn’t start early enough. The biscuit dough that I started the night before didn’t make it into the oven before the power went out, and the chicken bone broth I had started in the crockpot didn’t finish all the way, and the black beans I had started soaking now had to continue soaking and go uneaten because there was no way to finish cooking them.
When we realized it wouldn’t be anytime soon before we got our electricity back, I had to come up with a new plan or I would face having to throw out the biscuits, bone broth, and beans and be frustrated dealing with no food and hungry boys. So, I loaded up the charcoal and got the grill going out in the cold. I used it to cook food continuously throughout the day. It wasn’t at all what I usually do (obviously!) but I made it work because it’s what had to be done. And I ended up having a blast!!
Fletcher didn’t have TV, digital learning games, or school to do on his laptop. Micah and I didn’t have our laptops to do work – we barely had any battery on our phones by the time we got power back! So instead, we went on a winter hike adventure through the mountains next to our house following a deer trail through some of the wooded areas instead of staying on the main path.
The day before, I had signed Fletcher up for a virtual Zoo Camp through the Chattanooga Zoo (sign up for one of their virtual camps here!) and it provided a printout of an outdoor scavenger hunt that we brought with us on our hike. Fletcher absolutely loved it. We brought a bag with us to put some of his findings for the scavenger hunt but not everything could be bagged, i.e. a puddle. 🙂
Back at the house, Fletcher also helped me make dumplings for the chickens and dumplings we were making for dinner. Yep, I let him use the pizza cutter while I worked next to him on straining the bone broth! It is such a time saver having him help in the kitchen. The chicken and dumplings were his ideas because he saw someone eating them somewhere and he wanted to try and make them.
I could have easily been discouraged this week. Not going to lie, it was really overwhelming not being able to work as I had a lot of work planned and big meetings scheduled for new partnerships. Nothing turned out as I had planned and not having electricity made everything take so much longer (we made two pots of coffee that day with a hand grinder, water boiling on the gas grill top, and a french press and it was freaking delicious!). But I let go of the worry and turned it into a fun adventure instead with memories that we can cherish for the rest of our lives. We slept in the library because it was the only room being heated by our propane fireplace. Fletcher still hasn’t picked up his bed in there yet because he loves it so much. He will remember this as one of his favorite experiences and so will I.
No one has a perfect life or business where things fall perfectly into place exactly how they wanted them to be or better. I try to construct my expectations so I make the best of what is handed me that day and adapt where I need to. It’s all I can do and is what I have to do so that I’m not constantly disappointed when things don’t go my way. Because of this, instead of saying “we had a terrible storm and our power was out for 24 hours. We were freezing, we couldn’t do our jobs. It was a horrible experience”, I get to say, “we had a winter storm that knocked out our power for 24 hours. We got a day off from schooling and working, took a beautiful walk, made delicious foods on our grill, and had a family sleepover in our living room in front of the fire. We had a blast!”.
Which experience would you rather remember?
Meet our Founder
Alane has kept her 40 lb weight loss off since 2013, and created BurgerFit and Cooking with My Friends as a way to get her family eating better. Her health journey started in 2012 after being diagnosed with high blood pressure and obesity. Frustrated and determined, Alane decided to make small, sustainable changes in her diet so that it would be maintainable for a lifetime. Now Alane maintains a healthy weight range and has incorporated quick and easy recipes that keep her picky family members eating better!