Do you feel unsatisfied with any aspect of your job, home, friends, family, body, or your life in general? Do you wish things were different? This morning I listened to the Mindset Mentor podcast. (FYI it’s a great podcast if you’re ever looking for motivation or to improve your overall mindset.) He talked about how, more than anything, raising your standards is key to creating a better life. After listening for a few minutes while I was getting ready, I began doing a few Google searches on the subject. This is what I found.
Your Standards Set the Tone for Your Life
We are creatures of comfort. Since the unknown is scary, consciously or unconsciously, we stay in less than perfect situations because we are used to it. There’s the saying, “the devil you know is better than the one you don’t.”
Think hard about this choice to stay comfortable. Is it REALLY what you want? If you aren’t content and happy most of the time, if you find yourself feeling jealous of others or upset about how people treat you, it might be time to reconsider your standards.
Also, to clarify, I’m not only talking about your relationship standards. Consider how well-respected you would like to be at work. How much money do you want to keep in your bank account? Do you like how your family and friends treat you? Are you satisfied with your physical fitness and overall health? Is your home as clean and organized as you’d like? Are you genuinely proud of your behavior, actions, and accomplishments? Are you performing at your highest level and doing your absolute best? Only you will know the answer to that question.
If not, decide exactly what you want. Write your standards down and memorize them until they become a part of who you are. Communicate these new boundaries and standards in a positive way. Figure out what habits you need to change. Then begin to hold yourself to these new standards. It’s really that simple.
Discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want most.Abraham lincoln
The Secret is Willpower
There is a wonderful book I highly recommend called, “The Willpower Instinct.” Without divulging too much of the book, it talks about how willpower is a muscle you can work out just like any other muscle. It can be improved. However, it is also possible to overload your willpower muscles if you overwork them.
That being said, I don’t recommend tackling all of your standards at once. Choose one to focus on, like your personal relationships or physical fitness, and begin building your ideal life from there. As you raise your standards, your actions begin to change, and your willpower muscles improve, then start tackling other aspects of your life.
While talking about standards, I think it is important to address opportunity costs. For every opportunity you say yes to, there is something you must say no to. For example, if you say yes to sleeping in, you might not have time to squeeze in a workout. If you say yes to scrolling through social media for a half-hour, you might only have time to pick up fast food instead of cooking a healthy meal. While raising your standards, you’ll want to consider the opportunity cost of the choices you make every minute of the day. You might have to say no more often, reassess relationships, or choose to do things that are more challenging. You can do it!
However, after reading a number of articles, I disagree with some writers who stress that raising your standards means you will often be lonely. I don’t think that’s true. Invite your friends and family to join you when you raise your standards. If they don’t seem on board with the “new you,” begin reaching out more often and be open to new friendships and relationships.
Raising your standards to improve your life is a process and will not happen overnight. Don’t cut off everyone you are close to just because they don’t immediately comply with your new standards. Invite them along for the journey.
Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I’m changing myself.Rumi
Finally, I should stress that I am not an expert in psychology or mental health. My credentials include reading books on the subject, listening to podcasts, and a few decades of life experience. Take anything I say with a grain of salt.
These tips have helped me, though. I’m still working on improving my standards and getting better in every aspect of my life. I am not 100% satisfied or where I want to be, yet. However, I think it would be a mistake not to share what I’ve learned so far. I hope this helps you, too!
Let me know your thoughts about standards in the comments below. I would love to hear what you think.