Your standards are how you choose to behave; what you deem acceptable. They can apply to anything, from how you fold your clothes to how you take care of your health. When you raise your standards, you raise yourself up, and thusly, better your life.
Think about something simple, like keeping your car clean. Maybe right now you wash it occasionally, and throw out the trash that accumulates. It’s not as if the dirt impedes the car’s performance, so you don’t put a lot of effort into it. And it’s not a big deal—you kind of wish it smelled nicer or had less dust, but you’re busy and have other things to do.
But let’s say that one day you decide to raise your standards. You spend a couple hours cleaning your car. Really, meticulously cleaning it. You wash it, wax it, clean out the clutter, vacuum, wipe everything down, wash the windows, the tires, everything. You even buy a new air freshener.
Now you take pride in your car. It looks and smells great. You love being the one with the spotless car. And once you did the initial hard work and cleaning, it was a lot easier to maintain that higher standard. Sure, it’s just a clean car. But it made you a little happier. And that’s the goal, right?
Now think of something more significant. What if you decided to raise your standards at work? What if you chose to become a better employee, or become a better boss? Imagine you set some higher standards, such as: not gossiping, being more encouraging to others, being more organized, spending less time slacking off, ensuring work was completely error-free, helping others, or other goals.
Only good things could come of that! Possibilities include recognition, better pay, better relationships, more respect, more satisfied clients, less stress—the list goes on and on! By setting higher standards and choosing to be the person you want to be, you are making your life better. And, just like the clean car example, it’s easier to maintain once you’ve done the initial work. It’s about making habits, getting into routines, and making your goals become your normal, everyday standards.
If you decide you want to be better and to live a better life, you can do so. Use these following ten steps to help you determine what kind of person you wish to be and how you can achieve the higher standards you desire:
10 Steps to Raising Personal Standards
1. List ten people you admire and identify their qualities. What standards could you raise that would have you be more like them?
2. Be unconditionally constructive every time you open your mouth, yet still say all you need to say.
3. Stop gossiping, good or bad, about anyone.
4. Let go of standards you “should” have, and make a list of 10 standards you most want.
5. Understand that standards are a choice, not a requirement.
6. Fully respond to everything that occurs in your “space.”
7. Always put people and relationships ahead of results.
8. Always put integrity first, needs second, and wants third.
9. Always honor the standards of others.
10. Always maintain a reserve of time, money, love, and wellbeing.
Of course, improving your life is more work than just setting your standards higher. Once you identify the kind of person you want to be and choose to raise your standards, you have to work to meet those standards. You have to hold yourself accountable. Don’t let excuses enter into it—make a plan and stick to it. The rewards will be much, much greater than the cost.
Now, think of this: who are you? Are you a person who gets things done? Are you someone to be relied upon? Are you someone who takes good care of themselves? Are you a contented person? Give yourself a mantra. I am a person who _______. Then repeat it every day. Ten times a day! It is time to look inward and choose who you are. Honor that person. Be who you are meant to be.