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How to raise your standards

How many times have you told yourself what you “should” do?

I should lose weight.
I should be more confident.
I should earn more money.
I should have a more passionate relationship.

People have an endless list of things they believe they should do or should follow through on. And these “shoulds” carry about the same weight as a New Year’s resolution — that is, if it happens, then that’s exciting. But if not, it won’t be too disappointing because you kind of knew it wasn’t really going to happen anyway.

But what happens when you decide something is an absolute “must?” What happens when you cut off any other possibility than you succeeding — when you decide that you are either going to find a way to make something happen or you’ll create the way yourself?

When you raise your standards and turn “should” into “must,” you are making an inner shift to take control over the quality of your life. Any area you are not getting what you want is because you haven’t raised your standards.

Take your relationship, for example. This is a direct reflection of your standards. Some people are in a relationship right now but they aren’t happy because their standard is that they must be in a relationship, not that they must have passion and excitement and pure joy and love. Others may not be in a relationship because their standard is that they must not be hurt.

If you want real change, you have to be willing to do your part. And it starts with asking yourself, honestly, who you are.

Are you a winner? Or are you always a step behind? Are you the life of the party? Or are you more reserved?

Answering this question and discovering what your true beliefs are about yourself is critical. Because this is your identity. And the fact is we are hard-wired to follow through on who we believe we are.

Consider someone who is trying to quit smoking. He may say to himself, “I’m going to do my best to stop smoking, but I’ve always been a smoker.” It doesn’t matter how hard he tries, if his identity is that he is a smoker, it’s futile. And the days until he is back smoking again are numbered. Because we act consistently with and ultimately become who we believe we are.

Most people, if they look at how they are living their lives today, will find that their identify is based on a set of standards and a set of beliefs they created 10, 20, 30 or more years ago. In fact, many of us made decisions when we were kids about what to believe, what we are capable, and who we are as a person, and that became the glass ceiling that controls us. But are you the same person you were back then? Are you the same person you were even a year ago?

Eventually, most people simply stop trying to break through that glass ceiling. They chock it up to “that’s just the way it is in my life,” or tell themselves “that’s just who I am.” But ironically, when you do this, you are actually denying who you really are. You are living under a false identity that is based off of false beliefs you adopted some time in the past.

So how do you define yourself? And when did you start to believe that? How many years ago did you decide what you could and could not do in your life? Don’t you think it’s time to raise your standards, turn your “shoulds” into “musts” and give yourself a new identity?

The strongest force in the human personality is the need to stay consistent with how we define ourselves. And you may just find that by making these changes, you can make lasting change in your quality of life.

Header image © altafulla/shutterstock

Team Tony

Team Tony cultivates, curates and shares Tony Robbins’ stories and core principles, to help others achieve an extraordinary life.

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