Unrealistic Expectations Worksheet

What is the theory behind the worksheet?

This worksheet is based on the Theory of Affective Expectations, which states that the affective predictions of an event will influence the final evaluations of it (Aurier & Guintcheva, 2014). 

How will the worksheet help?

The present worksheet helps practitioners have a better understanding of the client’s dissatisfaction in certain areas of life, by identifying unhealthy beliefs. 

How to use the worksheet

People always dream of a perfect life: perfect job, perfect partner, ideal house, and good health. As perfection doesn’t exist, people set themselves for disappointment and sadness. We can’t control anything but ourselves. Unrealistic expectations are limiting and time-consuming. 

Learn to identify your unrealistic expectations and adapt them to your current situation, in order to acquire well-being and everything you desire in a prudent, rational way. 

Unrealistic Expectations Worksheet

Here are some general unrealistic expectations from different pylons of life. Check the boxes that suit you the best. 

  • Life should be fair
  • My partner doesn’t love me enough
  • Everyone is supposed to like me 
  • The right opportunity will come to me
  • Success equals happiness
  • Financial well-being equals happiness
  • People have to recognize your worth
  • I have to appease everyone around me
  • You have to always agree with your partner
  • Friends are always there for you 
  • No arguing is a sign of a healthy relationship

Now think of some healthier beliefs that are more realistic. 

Example: If I recognize my worth is enough and fulfilling. Others’ opinions are not mandatory for me to believe in myself. 

What unrealistic expectations do you bear for yourself? Give 2-3 examples.


What unrealistic beliefs do you hold for others? Give 2-3 examples. 


How do you react when things don’t go your way? How do you feel at that exact moment? Give 2-3 specific examples. 


How was your mental health affected because of your limiting beliefs? Give 2 examples.


Establishing new realistic expectations

Starting from the fact that we can only control our perspective or behavior toward the outside world, you need to be willing to take accountability for your actions and thoughts and adapt yourself to the present. If you are ready to change, you’re ready to improve your life. 

  1. Write down as many unrealistic expectations as you can think of. It will give you a clearer view of your starting point. 
  1. Re-write them in a healthy, realistic way. This will teach your mind to embrace a more positive, down-to-earth approach.
  1. Admit that you sometimes make errors and take responsibility.
  1. Be careful when you compare yourself to others or to who you compare yourself. It is ok to have mentors and learn from them but setting a high profile might be difficult to meet. 
  1. Try gratitude. Write every day 5 things you are grateful for. It may sound cliche, but it will keep you grounded. 
  1. Do one thing at a time. Take your time to make small changes without putting too much pressure on yourself.
  1. Remember life is a journey, not a destination


Aurier, P., & Guintcheva, G. (2014). Using Affect–Expectations Theory to Explain the Direction of the Impacts of Experiential Emotions on Satisfaction. Psychology and Marketing, 31(10), 900-913.

You can download this worksheet here.

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