"Raise your standards for the one thing over which you have complete control -- yourself." - Tony Robbins
What Are Personal Standards?
Personal standards are nothing more than a set of behaviors. These behaviors are built upon expectations you have of yourself in a variety of situations. They are in some respects performance standards. They lay down the benchmarks of the performance of your life.
Recognizing the Personal Standards You Live By
Your personal standards are reflected in how you treat yourself, and also in how you treat other people. They are also reflected in how you expect to be treated by other people.
When you have high standards you expect to be treated with the highest regard. However, when your standards are low it suggests that you are lacking self-esteem. In such instances you probably allow yourself to fall prey to other people's influence. Other people probably often take advantage of you because you fail to stand up for what you believe. As such, your personal standards are intricately intertwined with your level of self-esteem. Therefore to raise your self-esteem requires you first begin by raising your personal standards.
Your personal standards are also reflected in the promises you keep, in the way you dress and manage your life, health, finances, and environment. They are also reflected in the quality of your work, values, and communication. In fact, everything you do and say gives others an indication of the personal standards you live by.
If for instance your work or home environment is messy or disorganized, then that reflects the standards you uphold in thee areas of your life. On the other hand, when your environment is clean and orderly that in itself sends a very different message about the personal standards you live by.
High vs Low Standards
Do you have goals that you would like to achieve? Have you ever considered that in order to achieve these goals that you must first raise your personal standards in certain aspects of your life?
Every goal you set comes with a variety of requirements that you must meet. These requirements are reflected in the personal standards you uphold in accordance with that goal.
In order to achieve a goal, you need to live your life a certain way. You may, for instance, need to discipline yourself to keep your environment in order; to improve the quality of your work; to eat healthier meals; to curb your spending habits, etc. Every goal you set requires something from you. No matter what that is you must meet these requirements in order to have this goal in your life. The requirements must be met in the form of the personal standards you keep and live by.
Setting low standards will only take you so far along your journey towards your goal. With low standards, you will simply not put enough work, time, energy or recourses into this goal. You will not be able to give this goal what it requires, and therefore you will end up getting sub-par results.
When you set high standards you immediately raise your expectations of what's possible. You suddenly expect more from yourself, more from your actions, and more from others. And with a higher set of expectations, you are willing to do more to get the results you're after, which subsequently raises your performance levels.
As a result, you attract more opportunities and exceptional people into your life simply because there is more 'certainly' in your actions. And because of this 'certainly' you feel more confident about your goal and about the opportunities that present themselves. Moreover, this confidence helps you attract exceptional people into your life that can help move your goal forward in a better way.
It's important to note that when it comes to most things, the majority of people have very low standards and expectations of themselves. And this is why the majority of people don't achieve all the significance they capable of. Their low standards, lead to average results, which is of course very good for you because if most people set low standards, then by raising your own personal standards an incredible world of opportunity could suddenly open up for you.
Finding the Motivation to Change
You probably acknowledge now that the personal standards you keep determine the expectations you set; determine the quality of your results and the overall quality of your life. Even if you have high aspirations and big goals, living with a low set of standards will prevent you from ever reaching them. So something much change. YOU must change.
But what if you're just one of those high achievers who continuously set low standards for themselves? How do you break out of this cycle? How do you break free of the standards that are keeping you in mediocrity?
When it comes to change, there comes a point in everyone's life when enough is enough. You suddenly recognize that you are fed-up with how your life is at the moment, and you are determined to make a change for the better. In fact, you just can't bear living another day with sub-standard results.
The fact that you have finally acknowledged that something must change is an important first step.
Raising your Personal Standards
If you feel that your personal standards are no at a level they should be to achieve your goals, then read below for a five-step process to help raise your personal standards.
With a higher set of standards, you will think differently about your decisions and actions. As a result, you will expect more of yourself in every situation pertaining to your goal. As a result, your behavior will change and your results will subsequently improve.
Step 1. Gain Clarity
Your first step if to clarify what it is exactly you want to achieve. It's after all impossible to set standards if you don' know what it is you want. Ask yourself:
What do I want to achieve?
Whom do I seek to become as a result of achieving this goal?
What traits would I need to cultivate to achieve this goal?
What new behaviors would I need to adopt?
How would I ideally like to live my life having achieved this goal?
Having troubles with some of these questions? Ask yourself these 2 questions:
What could I potentially achieve if I had no limitations?
What would be the possibilities?
Step 2. Analyze Your Reality
Your second step is to analyze your current and desired reality. Your current reality is the life you are living at this very moment. Consider what kind of life this really is and the types of behaviors that define your actions and results in the present moment. Ask yourself:
What standards do I currently live by?
What standards do I have to have for myself in various situations?
What behaviors and actions do I partake in within these situations?
What standards do I have for the roles I play in the life?
Within every role you partake in there will be a set of standards that you will uphold and a set of expectations that you will have for yourself and of others. Consider this for a moment, then ask yourself:
Are these standards mine?
Did I set these standards myself?
It's important to acknowledge that the origin of some of your standards may not have come from you. You might have for instance modeled them while observing your parents. You have now accepted these standards as part of your life despite the fact that they may not serve your best interests. Ask yourself:
Given the goals that I would like to achieve are my current standards hindering me in any way?
Are my current standards preventing me from doing my very best in these areas of my life?
Consider your goals and the roles your play. Now honestly ask yourself whether or not you are doing your very best in all these areas of your life. If the answer is "yes" then there really isn't much that you can change by yourself. However, you may want to gain more knowledge or simply ask for help in areas of your life where you are struggling most. With the right kind of knowledge and help, you can do better than you are at this very moment. Although if on the other hand, you feel as though you're not doing your very best, then this indicates that you have the untapped potential and room to grow within specific areas of your life.
Now let's consider your desired reality and where you would ideally like to be within each area of your life. Ask yourself:
Where could I potentially do better?
Where could I potentially be better?
What standards do I need to set in each area in order to achieve m desired goals?
What standards do I need to set in each area in order to achieve my desired goals?
What will I accept and no longer accept of myself, of others and of circumstances in each area of my life?
The standards you set for yourself will depend on the kind of person you want to become and the goals that you would like to ideally achieve in each area of your life. These are the two factors that will lay down the foundations for the personal standards you live by.
Step 3. Find Inspiring Mentors
Your next step is to find appropriate mentors. These will be people who are currently living to the highest of standards in specific life areas that you are wanting to focus on. The purpose here is to use them as inspiration to help you raise your own personal standards.
Let's say for instance that you have a friend who is very health conscious, active and fit. This friend of yours has certain standards that they uphold every single day. Your task is to get a sense of what they spect of themselves in various situations, as an idea of the healthy rituals they partake in. Ask them what is acceptable and what is not acceptable in this area of their life. Then it's your task to model these standards to improve your own health and well-being.
Go out there and find mentors for each and every area of your life where you seek improvement and growth. Your mentors will provide you with the insights you're looking for to help you achieve your goals.
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Step 4. Set Clear Standards
It is now time to set some clear standards and expectations for each area of your life. In other words, you must identify a set of standards you will follow. These standards effectively become the rules you life by.
You could, for instance, take one of your life roles and set standards for what you believe, for what you expect, for how you behave, work and live. Ask yourself:
What will I now believe about myself within this role?
What will I now expect of myself within this role?
How will I now behave while partaking in this role?
When it comes to raising your personal standards and making them stick for the long-haul, you must be willing to create small rituals that you will help you meet these new expectations. Ask yourself:
What new rituals must I adapt to live these standards?
What little things must I do each and every day to live these standards?
Where will I partake in these rituals?
When will I partake in these rituals?
Why is it important to partake in these rituals?
The new rituals you create must lead to new decisions, actions, and habits that can help you to successfully maintain your higher personal standards over the long-haul.
Step 5. Utilize the Mind
The final step of this process is to utilize the pain and pleasure to help instill the motivation you need to follow through with these rituals, and subsequently live your life in accordance with your higher personal standards.
Guidelines to Help You Raise Your Standards
Raising your personal standards is never an easy process. You will need to break old patterns of behavior and develop new rituals and habits that will provide you with the impetus you need to make positive changes in your life. As such, the following guidelines and suggestions might be of some value.
- Become More Mindful and Self Aware
- Develop Appropriate Rituals
- Set Performance Standards
- Learn from Mistakes
- Take Risks
- Don't Make Comparisons
- Don't Get Complacent
- Don't Lower Your Standards
Lowering Your Personal Standards
There will, of course, be times when it's actually helpful to review your new personal standards to get a sense of whether or not they are working for you.
If your personal standards are just too high and unattainable then you may want to consider lowering them. You shouldn't be ashamed to lower your standards for a specific period of time. Lowering your standards temporarily can help give you the confidence you need to move forward in a better way.
- Gain More Knowledge
- Avoid the Perfectionist Trap
- Allow for Mistakes
- Take Baby Steps
Now, you have the tools and guidance needed to start leveling up. Apply each step of action, follow through and you will start to live by your new highest standards and accomplish your personal goals. You Can and You Will!