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The Key to a Great Life: Raise Your Standards

The best time to think through your standards is before they’re put to the test. The second best time is today. Think of standards as boundaries with the volume turned up.

Your standards define you. They guide your decisions. Over time, they give you strength and make life easier. Among other things, your standards express:

  • What you’ll put up with
  • What you won’t put up with
  • Your deepest values

Having well-thought-out standards is crucial if you want your life to be fulfilling, productive, and yours. The alternative? Become a people-pleaser—a role you were never meant to fill or even aspire to. Standards are the antidote.

Tip of the Week: Put Your Standards in Writing

I did this one Sunday at the kitchen table—just let myself make a list of whatever came to mind, knowing I could edit later. What poured out was part affirmation, part boundaries, part venting. It all helped.

You can do the same thing. Just grab a notebook and pen, and start writing. You have a whole lifetime of experience and wisdom to draw from—let all of it find its way into your list.

Examples of personal standards:

  • I don't do air travel during the holidays.
  • I wait 24 hours before making a major purchase.
  • I return what I’ve borrowed without being asked.
  • No appointments (or classes) before 9 am.
  • I take 20 minutes or more per day for moderate exercise.
  • I don’t reward bad behavior.
  • I don’t drink and drive. Not even a little.
  • I treat myself to at least one good concert per year.
  • I discipline myself to get sufficient sleep.
  • I listen to my gut.
What's on your list? Most people don't give their standards a second thought. But if you do, you will not only improve the quality of your family, work, and personal life—you just might inspire someone else to do the same.

Having well-thought-out standards is crucial if you want your life to be fulfilling, productive and yours.

Gina DeLapa

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Gina DeLapa is America's Ultimate Reminders® Coach, a sought-after speaker, and the proud creator of the Ultimate Reminders® book series. Her wise and witty reminders ("Beware the organization whose response to a burning building is to form a committee") will make you laugh, stir your soul, and inspire your best. If you're not already getting her free Monday-Morning Pep Talk, be sure to sign up now at UltimateReminders.com/mondaymorningpeptalk.