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The first step is to determine which situations they can control or change from those they cannot; then, decide on how to best respond to these. Some things may be worth fighting for while others will need to be let go (e.g., much like the timeless message in the Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr).

When it comes to expectations, patients need to consider the role of outside sources on their own expectations and personal assumptions, fears or beliefs which they themselves could be attaching to these. For instance, patients might be trying to live up to their pre-illness level or they might be doing more than they can realistically handle, for the sake of gaining approval.

It is important to remember that no one can be everything to everyone; people who push themselves and attempt to do this will only further jeopardize their health and self-esteem.

Realistic expectations are linked to time—the period of time when a patient tends to feel or function at their best. This window of time should be spent on high priority tasks or something meaningful to the patient—time is a precious commodity which needs to be used judiciously.