Would you cheat on your spouse? Would you abuse a baby? Would you beat a puppy? Hopefully you answered no to each of those questions! What prevents you from doing those things? Is it a standard that you adhere to, or do you have to write it down and force yourself to comply? Is it a battle of will and discipline, or is it simply a matter of the identity you hold for yourself that doesn't allow you to engage in such behavior?
What is a "standard?" According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a standard is "a level of quality, achievement, etc., that is considered acceptable or desirable." The standards that we hold for ourselves are like our own internal thermostat. We all know how a thermostat works. It's designed to keep the temperature at our chosen level of comfort. If our thermostat is set at 70 degrees and the temperature drops to 65, the thermostat turns the heat on to get it back up to 70. On the flip side, if the temperature goes up to 75, the thermostat will kick in to cool things down.
Our standards are our thermostat. They keep us in our comfort zone, and they can help us or hinder us in reaching our goals. They speak to our very identity. Trying to achieve a goal without looking at who we need to become in order to achieve it is like trying to suddenly adjust our thermostat from 70 to 100. In a very short time, we are extremely uncomfortable and will do whatever it takes to cool things back down!
However, what happens if instead you focus on consistently adjusting the thermostat two or three degrees? After a while, you're fine in 90 to 105 degrees, and suddenly 70 is cold.
Looking at each area of your life, how do you determine what your standards are? Take a look at the results you've been getting. A person who holds a high standard of optimum health will usually look very different from the person whose walk from the dinner table to the couch to watch TV is their exercise for the day.
Take an honest look and ask yourself what standards you have been holding. Then identify what it is that you really want. What will your new standard be in that area? How will you turn up your thermostat a few degrees? What will you no longer tolerate less than? What new rituals do you need to put in place to set that standard?
Board certified executive coach, mentor and life strategist.
"Change your thoughts and you change your world."
--Norman Vincent Peale