This is something I struggled to get my head around for quite some time, the thought that if I set my expectations of myself too high then I'll surely fail, right?
I believe that deep down we know what we are capable of and pushing beyond those perceived boundaries, mental or physical is difficult when that little voice inside your head says you're not going to get there and you'll fail in the process.
So what we can tend to do is lower our own expectations so we can hit the 'reduced' target, knowing full well when we set it in our own minds we're aware that we are lying to ourselves because we know we'll achieve it. I don't know if it's having confidence that we will know the outcome, perhaps knowing you've created a safety net to prevent a bruised ego or embarrassment, particularly if you've stated your expectations or goal to those close to you.
Firstly I believe that if we don't stretch our own expectations of ourselves then how will we ever learn anything new, if we do not fail then we won't learn from the failure. The failure is where we can grow the most, by analysing where we didn't quite get there and why, and from there plan to overcome that the next time we go at it again.
My turning point in shifting mindset was when I had a moment of realisation, you know that moment when you have that epiphany. It happened a few years ago now but it was when I realised I was lying to myself about being happy with what I had achieved in life, my career, my sport and my life in general. I realised I was living in the safe zone and like many others just floating along in life but not really getting anywhere on many levels.
I made some conscious decisions after some time mulling it over, I realised that the only way to grow, learn and achieve is to set higher expectations of myself and to accept that I will fail along the way. So I put faith in myself and did just that, set higher expectations and failed many, many times along the way. And it was and still is an amazing experience to be able to look back at my failures, learn from them and be kind to myself about them.
I think this is the key, being kind to yourself when you do fail and never to take life too seriously. Just as important is not taking anything anyone says to heart, their opinion is theirs and their opinion doesn't define who you are, you do.
Be kind to yourself, love who you are and you'll embrace your failures along the way as you set your expectations higher and higher.