Today is the first day of the New and Improved You! Congratulations for taking this all-important first step. You are about to embark on an important journey, making the best of who you are! You are perfect just the way you are, and there are still ways to improve on you and the quality of your life.
The first step in the process is to raise your standards. According to the on-line dictionary a standard is “those morals, ethics, habits, etc., established by authority, custom, or an individual as acceptable.” Many people have high standards for their lives, some have average, and way too many people have low standards. Standards are the hallmarks of how you live your life. Standards are the rules and boundaries that you set for yourself.
Standards create the quality of your life. If you have low standards, your life will be low in quality. If you expect average or poor quality, you will receive it. When you begin to raise your standards and expect more life will get much better.
So what is a standard? A standard is what you hold yourself to. Standards include the level of quality, integrity and morals you expect from yourself. If you accept lying to others as okay, that is creating a low standard in your life and it will be reflected back to you. Standards are the boundaries and rules you create for yourself.
Standards are also reflected in the level of respect you have for yourself. That respect is apparent in the way you treat yourself and your environment, and the way you dress. Every aspect of your life is ruled by your standards.
Just so you understand what I am talking about, I have provided just some of the areas that are affected by the level of your standards:
ü Your dress/demeanor
ü The way you speak/language/how you talk about yourself
ü Your vocabulary
ü Your self talk
ü The way you treat yourself and others
ü The amount of clutter and the cleanliness of your environment
ü The condition of the things in your environment
ü The way you care for your health
ü Your personal hygiene including your teeth, nails, hair, breath
ü Your personal finances/the way you handle money
ü The way you value yourself
ü Keeping your word/telling the truth
ü Living according to your personal values
When raising your standards it is good to select one area at a time, as we have been talking about. This isn’t about changing everything at once; it is about creating change that you can maintain over your lifetime. Start with something simple so that you can see success right away. One of the standards that I raised in the beginning was my environment. I first began by going through my environment and cleaning it up. Getting organized and putting things where they belonged was an easy first step for me. I set a standard that I would only have items in my house that I loved. I decided to get rid of everything I did not use, love or want any more. I donated the items that were still in good condition and pitched the rest. Just cleaning up and clearing out my environment made me feel better.
Next I picked a room that I would bring up to a higher standard. I started first with my closet and cleaned it out. I got rid of all the clothes that I no longer loved, could wear, or would wear. There is no sense in keeping your old sized clothes hoping to get back into them. When and if you do, you will want something new to wear. And as long as they are hanging in your closet they are a constant reminder of the past and you simply don’t need that. All the outfits in your closet should make you look great and feel great. If they don’t, raise your standards and get rid of them. Also, all your clothes should be in good repair, no rips, missing buttons or stains. I now have a standard that everything in my closet must be something I love, it must make me look good and it should be ready to wear. Although it doesn’t sound like such a big deal, this is about raising your standards and demanding something better for yourself.
Next I took at look at my bedroom and decided to make some simple but profound changes. One of my first coaches, Thomas Leonard, who introduced me to this concept, suggested raising the thread count on the bed sheets. His suggestion was something like 400 Egyptian cotton, which I did and the first time I washed and dried the sheets they came out a winkled mess. I have a standard of “No Ironing” so this didn’t work for me. But I did go up to 200-thread count with an all cotton sheet and I found that it was a nicer softer feel and no ironing was required. Less you think this sounds pretty materialistic it isn’t. It is about creating an environment that supports and nurtures.
Pick one area of your life, you get to decide, and raise the standard in that area. Don’t go overboard. Just pick one area and work on it for the month. It could be as simple as monitoring your thoughts and upgrading your self-talk, or you could pick a room in your home and get rid of all the clutter and anything that you don’t love. When you look for ways to raise your standards there will be no shortage of opportunities.
I will raise my standard in this area of my life:
Here are the thirty things I will do in the next thirty days to raise my standards in this area: