How to Raise Your Standards

How to Raise Your Standards

Imagine yourself living your best life. Does that seem totally out of reach? If so, it’s possible that you’ve been setting low standards for your life. Your standards are what you’ll accept for yourself, whether it’s how people treat you or the habits you keep. Luckily, you can raise your standards to help you change your life for the better.

Method 1 of 4:
Examining Your Standards

Image titled Raise Your Standards Step 1
1
Write down your normal daily habits to uncover your current standards. Knowing your current standards helps you identify the types of changes you need to make. Track how you spend your time over the course of a few days to a week. You might cover the following areas: [1] X Research source Work/Education Relationships Health Money Hobbies Future Goals
Image titled Raise Your Standards Step 6
2
Describe the life you want so you know what you’re working toward. Imagine yourself in a year, 5 years, and 10 years. Consider how you want to spend your time, where you want to live, and what type of lifestyle you want to have. Write down a brief description of what your life would look like. [2] X Research source You could also create a vision board for your future using cut-out pictures. If you want to keep it simple, just make a list of what you want in 1 year, 5 years, and 10 years. You might picture yourself moving to a new city, pursuing your dream job, and meeting interesting people. On the other hand, you might picture yourself meeting “the one” and starting a family. The options are endless!
3
Visualize yourself making positive changes. Visualization may help you become the person you want to be. Picture yourself living your ideal life according to a higher standard. When you start to feel yourself tempted to turn to bad habits, use visualization to help you stay on track. [3] X Trustworthy Source Recovery.org Resource run by the American Addiction Centers organization providing people with educational resources about substance abuse Go to source For instance, picture yourself eating a healthy dinner instead of getting fast food. Similarly, imagine yourself going on fun dates with your dream partner instead of settling for someone who doesn’t treat you well.
Image titled Raise Your Standards Step 4
4
Try new things to help expand your horizons. Exploring new ideas and activities can help you grow as a person and evolve your standards. Make a list of new things you want to try, then start checking them off. Here are some ideas to get you started: [4] X Research source Sign up for a class or workshop, either in person or online. Take a new route to work. Eat at a restaurant you normally wouldn’t try. Talk to a stranger in public. Go to a live music event. Buy a new outfit that’s a style you’ve always wanted to try. Start a new hobby.
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Method 2 of 4:
Building Positive Habits

1
Use positive self talk to motivate yourself to live better. You likely have a voice in your head that criticizes you at times, and it’s likely what keeps your standards so low. While this voice is your mind’s way of protecting you from embarrassment or heartache, it also holds you back from your dreams. Start replacing this negative voice with positive self talk. Tell yourself that you’re strong, capable, and totally amazing. [5] X Research source You might tell yourself things like, “I can do anything I set my mind to,” “It’s okay to make mistakes as long as I learn from them,” or “I'm worthy of love.”
2
Set realistic expectations for your new habits. When you’re trying to raise your standards, it’s tempting to try to change everything at once. However, this just sets you up for failure. Instead, focus on making small, measurable changes. In time, you’ll be able to go a lot further toward your ideal life this way. [6] X Research source Let’s say you want to change the way you eat and workout. You might focus on incorporating veggies at every meal and picking healthy snacks rather than restricting yourself. Similarly, you might set a goal to be active for at least 15 minutes a day at first. If you want to build your wealth, you might decide to create a budget and start saving a nominal amount, like $25 to $50 a month. Once you get in the habit of saving, try to increase the amount.
Image titled Raise Your Standards Step 5
3
Pair new habits with something you already do. Sticking to a new habit is super hard, and you’re likely going to have slip-ups. However, you might be able to increase your chances of making your new habit permanent by doing it at the same time as something you already do. Try to pair your new habit with something it naturally goes with. Here are some examples of how to make this work: [7] X Research source Go on a 15-minute brisk walk when you get out of your car after work. Cut up your veggies for breakfast and lunch while you’re preparing dinner. Do your calisthenics while you watch your favorite TV show. Put money in your savings account when you pay your bills. Use your work happy hours to try to meet new people.
4
Set up your environment to support your new habits. You might not realize this, but your environment can trigger your habits. If you keep your environment the same, it might be hard to break out of the bad habits that brought on your low standards. Re-arrange your home and work environments to support the habits you want to encourage and the life you want for your future. [8] X Research source As an example, you might place your workout gear where you can easily grab it or your meditation pillow in the corner of your living room as a reminder to use it daily. Similarly, you might get rid of things you associate with your low standards, like mementos from exes, hook-up apps, and clothes that don’t reflect who you want to be. If you’re trying to learn a new skill or work on a hobby, put your tools where you can easily access them. For instance, put your art supplies on a portable cart so you can pull them out every day or keep your knitting in a basket by your sofa.
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Method 3 of 4:
Pursuing Your Goals

1
Set 2-3 goals to help you get the life you want. Goal setting can give you concrete ways to raise your standards. Choose 2-3 goals that can directly help you break out of your current funk and get where you want to go. It’s okay to have a mix of goals if you want to improve multiple areas of your life. [9] X Research source Let’s say you want to attract better romantic partners. You might set a goal to learn to communicate better, to meet more potential matches, or to go on more dates before you commit. If you want a better job, you might set a goal to enroll in a professional development class, to attend networking events, or to apply for 2 new jobs every week. If you want to improve your social life, you might set a goal to go out once a week, to text your friends at least once a day, or to go to events to meet new people.
Image titled Raise Your Standards Step 2
2
Make a list of reasons you want to achieve your goals. Reaching a goal takes hard work, and you’re likely going to face some obstacles. Knowing why your goal is important to you can help you stay on track. Write down 3-5 reasons why each goal you plan to pursue will help you get the life you want. Re-read this list every time you feel discouraged. [10] X Research source For example, let’s say you want to exercise more. Your reasons might include, “being able to hike further, feeling more energetic, and improving my flexibility.” If you’re taking night classes to get a degree, your reasons might include, “to pursue a new career,” “to learn something new,” and “to meet new, like-minded friends.”
3
Take small steps toward your goals to get started. When you first get started, a goal can feel overwhelming. However, you don’t need to get everything done in a day. Instead, break your goal into smaller steps. Then, check off each small step one-at-a-time. [11] X Research source For instance, let’s say your goal is to make new friends. Your small steps might look like this: 1) Go to events around town; 2) Talk to new people; 3) Text or message people I exchange information with; 4) Invite people I like to hang out; 5) Stay in touch. Celebrate after you accomplish each step. This way, you’ll be able to feel successful during your entire journey toward accomplishing your goal.
Image titled Raise Your Standards Step 3
4
Attend classes or workshops to help you work toward your goals. Learning new things can help you as you work to raise your standards. Look for classes or workshops in person or online that support your goals. Take advantage of free offerings, but don’t be afraid to invest in yourself if you can. [12] X Research source You can find free classes online through services like edx.org. Get creative when picking classes. For instance, if you want to make friends or meet a new romantic partner, you might take an improv class to help you feel more comfortable talking to people and thinking of things to say.
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Method 4 of 4:
Setting Boundaries

1
Identify your expectations for how people should treat you. You deserve to be treated with kindness and respect. If you tolerate less than this, however, some people may take advantage of you. Picture the types of relationships you want with family members, friends, and romantic partners. Then, write down these expectations, which are your boundaries, so you can share them with others. [13] X Research source You might want close relationships with your family and might hope your family members will support you without offering criticism. For friendships, you might hope to have friends who will listen to you without judging, offer both positive and negative criticism with love, and who will be there for you when you need them. In a romantic partner, you might want someone who will put you first in their life and who works just as hard at the relationship as you do.
2
Discuss your boundaries with the people in your life as needed. You don’t need to send everyone you know a list of expectations. However, you might want to have a conversation with people who often violate your boundaries. Tell them that you really like having them in your life, but you aren’t okay with how you’re being treated. [14] X Research source You might say, “I really value our friendship, but I want you to keep your comments about my clothes to yourself,” or “I love spending time with you, but I wish you wouldn’t make jokes at my expense.” When you’re dating a new partner, you could say things like, “I want a relationship where we take turns making plans for dates,” or “I really want a partner who checks on me every day, even if it’s just to say ‘Good morning’ and ‘Good night.’”
3
Stand up for yourself if someone violates your boundaries. Your friends and loved ones may still make mistakes that hurt you, even if they’re trying hard to respect your boundaries. When this happens, you have a right to stick up for yourself and tell them it’s not okay. Once you talk to someone about your boundaries, don’t let them get away with ignoring them. [15] X Research source Let’s say you asked your sister not to make jokes about your love life. If she still makes a joke, say, “I told you that’s not funny. If you’re going to tease me, I’m going home.” Similarly, you might be dating someone who only contacts you when it’s convenient for them. Next time they text or call you, you might say, “I’ve been having fun hanging out with you, but I’m not okay with dating around your schedule.”
4
Surround yourself with people who let you be yourself. When you have low standards for yourself, you might feel pressured to hide parts of who you are to please others. This is totally unfair to you and the world. You’re a unique, amazing person, so let people get to know the real you. [16] X Research source No one can please everyone, so you might lose a few friends who just aren’t right for you. However, this will open the door for you to meet people who value you for who you are.
5
Spend less time with people who bring you down. You might have a few people in your life who try to undermine your confidence or are just negative in general. Unfortunately, these people can keep you trapped in a cycle of low standards. Try to limit how much time you spend around them so they can’t sabotage you as you make positive changes. [17] X Research source You don’t need to cut people out of your life. However, you might turn down plans with them if you think they’re going to be a downer or could wait longer before responding to their texts or calls.
Advertisement

Method 1 of 4:
Examining Your Standards

Image titled Raise Your Standards Step 1
1
Write down your normal daily habits to uncover your current standards. Knowing your current standards helps you identify the types of changes you need to make. Track how you spend your time over the course of a few days to a week. You might cover the following areas: [1] X Research source Work/Education Relationships Health Money Hobbies Future Goals
Image titled Raise Your Standards Step 6
2
Describe the life you want so you know what you’re working toward. Imagine yourself in a year, 5 years, and 10 years. Consider how you want to spend your time, where you want to live, and what type of lifestyle you want to have. Write down a brief description of what your life would look like. [2] X Research source You could also create a vision board for your future using cut-out pictures. If you want to keep it simple, just make a list of what you want in 1 year, 5 years, and 10 years. You might picture yourself moving to a new city, pursuing your dream job, and meeting interesting people. On the other hand, you might picture yourself meeting “the one” and starting a family. The options are endless!
3
Visualize yourself making positive changes. Visualization may help you become the person you want to be. Picture yourself living your ideal life according to a higher standard. When you start to feel yourself tempted to turn to bad habits, use visualization to help you stay on track. [3] X Trustworthy Source Recovery.org Resource run by the American Addiction Centers organization providing people with educational resources about substance abuse Go to source For instance, picture yourself eating a healthy dinner instead of getting fast food. Similarly, imagine yourself going on fun dates with your dream partner instead of settling for someone who doesn’t treat you well.
Image titled Raise Your Standards Step 4
4
Try new things to help expand your horizons. Exploring new ideas and activities can help you grow as a person and evolve your standards. Make a list of new things you want to try, then start checking them off. Here are some ideas to get you started: [4] X Research source Sign up for a class or workshop, either in person or online. Take a new route to work. Eat at a restaurant you normally wouldn’t try. Talk to a stranger in public. Go to a live music event. Buy a new outfit that’s a style you’ve always wanted to try. Start a new hobby.
Advertisement

Method 2 of 4:
Building Positive Habits

1
Use positive self talk to motivate yourself to live better. You likely have a voice in your head that criticizes you at times, and it’s likely what keeps your standards so low. While this voice is your mind’s way of protecting you from embarrassment or heartache, it also holds you back from your dreams. Start replacing this negative voice with positive self talk. Tell yourself that you’re strong, capable, and totally amazing. [5] X Research source You might tell yourself things like, “I can do anything I set my mind to,” “It’s okay to make mistakes as long as I learn from them,” or “I'm worthy of love.”
2
Set realistic expectations for your new habits. When you’re trying to raise your standards, it’s tempting to try to change everything at once. However, this just sets you up for failure. Instead, focus on making small, measurable changes. In time, you’ll be able to go a lot further toward your ideal life this way. [6] X Research source Let’s say you want to change the way you eat and workout. You might focus on incorporating veggies at every meal and picking healthy snacks rather than restricting yourself. Similarly, you might set a goal to be active for at least 15 minutes a day at first. If you want to build your wealth, you might decide to create a budget and start saving a nominal amount, like $25 to $50 a month. Once you get in the habit of saving, try to increase the amount.
Image titled Raise Your Standards Step 5
3
Pair new habits with something you already do. Sticking to a new habit is super hard, and you’re likely going to have slip-ups. However, you might be able to increase your chances of making your new habit permanent by doing it at the same time as something you already do. Try to pair your new habit with something it naturally goes with. Here are some examples of how to make this work: [7] X Research source Go on a 15-minute brisk walk when you get out of your car after work. Cut up your veggies for breakfast and lunch while you’re preparing dinner. Do your calisthenics while you watch your favorite TV show. Put money in your savings account when you pay your bills. Use your work happy hours to try to meet new people.
4
Set up your environment to support your new habits. You might not realize this, but your environment can trigger your habits. If you keep your environment the same, it might be hard to break out of the bad habits that brought on your low standards. Re-arrange your home and work environments to support the habits you want to encourage and the life you want for your future. [8] X Research source As an example, you might place your workout gear where you can easily grab it or your meditation pillow in the corner of your living room as a reminder to use it daily. Similarly, you might get rid of things you associate with your low standards, like mementos from exes, hook-up apps, and clothes that don’t reflect who you want to be. If you’re trying to learn a new skill or work on a hobby, put your tools where you can easily access them. For instance, put your art supplies on a portable cart so you can pull them out every day or keep your knitting in a basket by your sofa.
Advertisement

Method 3 of 4:
Pursuing Your Goals

1
Set 2-3 goals to help you get the life you want. Goal setting can give you concrete ways to raise your standards. Choose 2-3 goals that can directly help you break out of your current funk and get where you want to go. It’s okay to have a mix of goals if you want to improve multiple areas of your life. [9] X Research source Let’s say you want to attract better romantic partners. You might set a goal to learn to communicate better, to meet more potential matches, or to go on more dates before you commit. If you want a better job, you might set a goal to enroll in a professional development class, to attend networking events, or to apply for 2 new jobs every week. If you want to improve your social life, you might set a goal to go out once a week, to text your friends at least once a day, or to go to events to meet new people.
Image titled Raise Your Standards Step 2
2
Make a list of reasons you want to achieve your goals. Reaching a goal takes hard work, and you’re likely going to face some obstacles. Knowing why your goal is important to you can help you stay on track. Write down 3-5 reasons why each goal you plan to pursue will help you get the life you want. Re-read this list every time you feel discouraged. [10] X Research source For example, let’s say you want to exercise more. Your reasons might include, “being able to hike further, feeling more energetic, and improving my flexibility.” If you’re taking night classes to get a degree, your reasons might include, “to pursue a new career,” “to learn something new,” and “to meet new, like-minded friends.”
3
Take small steps toward your goals to get started. When you first get started, a goal can feel overwhelming. However, you don’t need to get everything done in a day. Instead, break your goal into smaller steps. Then, check off each small step one-at-a-time. [11] X Research source For instance, let’s say your goal is to make new friends. Your small steps might look like this: 1) Go to events around town; 2) Talk to new people; 3) Text or message people I exchange information with; 4) Invite people I like to hang out; 5) Stay in touch. Celebrate after you accomplish each step. This way, you’ll be able to feel successful during your entire journey toward accomplishing your goal.
Image titled Raise Your Standards Step 3
4
Attend classes or workshops to help you work toward your goals. Learning new things can help you as you work to raise your standards. Look for classes or workshops in person or online that support your goals. Take advantage of free offerings, but don’t be afraid to invest in yourself if you can. [12] X Research source You can find free classes online through services like edx.org. Get creative when picking classes. For instance, if you want to make friends or meet a new romantic partner, you might take an improv class to help you feel more comfortable talking to people and thinking of things to say.
Advertisement

Method 4 of 4:
Setting Boundaries

1
Identify your expectations for how people should treat you. You deserve to be treated with kindness and respect. If you tolerate less than this, however, some people may take advantage of you. Picture the types of relationships you want with family members, friends, and romantic partners. Then, write down these expectations, which are your boundaries, so you can share them with others. [13] X Research source You might want close relationships with your family and might hope your family members will support you without offering criticism. For friendships, you might hope to have friends who will listen to you without judging, offer both positive and negative criticism with love, and who will be there for you when you need them. In a romantic partner, you might want someone who will put you first in their life and who works just as hard at the relationship as you do.
2
Discuss your boundaries with the people in your life as needed. You don’t need to send everyone you know a list of expectations. However, you might want to have a conversation with people who often violate your boundaries. Tell them that you really like having them in your life, but you aren’t okay with how you’re being treated. [14] X Research source You might say, “I really value our friendship, but I want you to keep your comments about my clothes to yourself,” or “I love spending time with you, but I wish you wouldn’t make jokes at my expense.” When you’re dating a new partner, you could say things like, “I want a relationship where we take turns making plans for dates,” or “I really want a partner who checks on me every day, even if it’s just to say ‘Good morning’ and ‘Good night.’”
3
Stand up for yourself if someone violates your boundaries. Your friends and loved ones may still make mistakes that hurt you, even if they’re trying hard to respect your boundaries. When this happens, you have a right to stick up for yourself and tell them it’s not okay. Once you talk to someone about your boundaries, don’t let them get away with ignoring them. [15] X Research source Let’s say you asked your sister not to make jokes about your love life. If she still makes a joke, say, “I told you that’s not funny. If you’re going to tease me, I’m going home.” Similarly, you might be dating someone who only contacts you when it’s convenient for them. Next time they text or call you, you might say, “I’ve been having fun hanging out with you, but I’m not okay with dating around your schedule.”
4
Surround yourself with people who let you be yourself. When you have low standards for yourself, you might feel pressured to hide parts of who you are to please others. This is totally unfair to you and the world. You’re a unique, amazing person, so let people get to know the real you. [16] X Research source No one can please everyone, so you might lose a few friends who just aren’t right for you. However, this will open the door for you to meet people who value you for who you are.
5
Spend less time with people who bring you down. You might have a few people in your life who try to undermine your confidence or are just negative in general. Unfortunately, these people can keep you trapped in a cycle of low standards. Try to limit how much time you spend around them so they can’t sabotage you as you make positive changes. [17] X Research source You don’t need to cut people out of your life. However, you might turn down plans with them if you think they’re going to be a downer or could wait longer before responding to their texts or calls.
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