Either one reveals a standard you’ve chosen and personally, to each their own. Many people settle in life. Sometimes for their whole lives, in all areas of it, and others for only a short period of time in only certain aspects of it. Some people have loose standards in relationships, some people in terms of their careers, others in terms of their body and yet others in terms of their morals.
As for me, I’ve always been one to try and see the outer extremes of what is possible within myself, the good and the bad. My life is, and if my wishes come true, will be a never-ending experiment. What do I think is the best or the other extreme the worst, why, how can I know, how can I achieve it, is it possible for me to achieve it and if not, why the hell not?
My standards for my body have always been to be better. I see my body and know I can do better. This is despite the fact that I hear, you’re “fine”, you’re body’s great. Thanks, but evidently your standards are not mine. But then the question is, am I willing to commit to what I know needs to be done in order to achieve that body? Am I willing to stick to a workout routine, am I willing to go to bed consistently earlier? Am I willing to diet more stringently? Am I willing to swallow my pride and seek advice from others that may have more knowledge than me? Am I willing to cook more, to eat more, to possibly feel more tired, to party less? And if I am willing to do these things, do I think now is the best time for me to do it? If so, why and if not, why not? The answers to these questions starts to reveal my standards, but the answers are also a key into something deeper, a part of myself where if I’m objective enough, typically reveal my priorities in life right now (or just the justifications I’m currently using to stay in a rut).
Too often, in trying to change, or in trying to stick to a habit that doesn’t come naturally, we get stuck with our old standards, our old ways of living and hence our old patterns of habits. Sometimes what holds us back aren’t our standards per say, but the standards of those of our peer group that we don’t dare surpass. If all of your friends don’t exercise or think it’s too hard, then why would you go out on a limb? This is the case, especially if you’ve tried working out for a week, felt sore and they got a chance to say, “See that exercise stuff doesn’t work.” That’s one point for their standards, none for yours.
Sometimes our limiting factor with raising our standards are our beliefs and what we think are possible. We say that we don’t have enough time to exercise, despite never actually trying to incorporate a little bit of it into each and every day. A failure to try to push past our comfort zone is a second blow to the standards we truly want.
Other times, what limits our true standards are our past behavior. If we’ve ever tried and failed at something, then we know all too well the pain associated with failure, with the belief that you can’t handle anything that life throws at you, not realizing that it has been nothing more than a learning lesson. The quickest way to kill any perseverance and resilience is by taking one example and applying it to all situations across the board. Those who have failed the most, have also achieved the most. The key is that they’ve kept learning, kept on moving and eventually kept on succeeding.
At other times, the limiting factors to our standards are unrealistic expectations. We expect the world, while only giving pennies. We don’t realize the extent of the change we have to undergo and we think that we have to do everything all at once. We get caught up doing it all at the same time and don’t focus on one aspect of the habit change, day in and day out, until we’ve mastered it. That scattering of focus isn’t a problem until something unexpected happens and the whole house of cards tumbles.
So then, what’s the solution to all of this, how does one raise their standards and then, more importantly, live them? The answer is simple, the execution is not. The execution of this “plan” is definitely a harder path to travel, not because it’s harder to achieve your own standards then those of others, but because there are so few individuals to help you along your path, so few models for you to pick from and imitate while you learn on your own.
So what is this simple solution? Dream larger than you have ever in the past, believe that you can achieve it, see your ultimate vision, plan backwards and take the first step, always knowing your end game and what your next move is. Follow this despite what others may say, what you’ve done in the past, how quickly you expect to achieve your goals and what you think your current restrictions are and you are sure to succeed. The bottom line comes down to Vision, Belief, Action and Perseverance.
Sounds simple, right? Good. Then do it.