Have you ever wondered what separates high achievers from the rest of us?

Why do some people skyrocket to the top, and the rest just hover somewhere in the middle?

It comes down to the personal standards you set for yourself and your life.

Personal standards are nothing more than a set of behaviors. These behaviors are what hold you accountable as you move through your day and approach a variety of situations.

Your personal standards come to light every second of every day.

They guide you on how well you treat yourself. (Ever said “I hate my hair” or “I’m fat” or “I’m not smart enough to do that”?)

They guide you on how well you treat others. (Ever said “I don’t agree with his politics” or “He’s overweight”?)

They guide you on how you expect to be treated by others. (Ever said “She’s my mom” or “She’s my boss” and given them permission for their bad behaviors?)

Your personal standards are reflected in the way you organize your life, your home, your office. They are reflected in how you run your finances. They are reflected in the promises you keep. They are reflected in the way you communicate through verbal, written, and body language. In short, everything you do or say gives others an indication of the personal standards you live by.

Ever heard the phrase: First impressions count? We often judge everything around us by those first impressions. But what do yours say about you?

What do people see in the first 30 seconds of meeting you? This includes your punctuality, your communication skills, how you dress, your organization, how present you are, and more.

High vs Low Standards
No matter who we are, we assume we have a certain level of integrity. We have “lines in the sand” we’re not willing to cross. The trouble is those lines are crossed all the time. And the more it happens, the more our integrity is whittled away, the more we let our personal standards decline.

And as they do, your goals fall by the wayside with them.

What goals have been on your to-do lists for ages? What resolutions have you made each new year, only to add them to your list the following year?

In order to achieve a goal, you have to live your life a certain way. And if you’ve let your personal standards fall to the point where your priorities can never meet your standards, you’ll never achieve everything on your list.

Weight goals prove this to be true. How many times has “lose 10 pounds” been on your list? Yet that extra helping at dinner, or the chocolate cake to share with friends always wins out.

Every goal requires something from you. Certain requirements must be met to make it come true. If you don’t meet those requirements, your standards are lowered. And over time, this can really add up.

What’s Your Truth?
We all have a truth inside of us. We know exactly who we are and who we want to be.

  • I want to be my ideal weight.
  • I want to dress in the latest fashions.
  • I want to start a business.
  • I want to be a writer.

Then the little things wear you down. Your finances won’t allow you to do what you desire to do. Those closest to you tell you your dreams are just pipedreams.

And you believe …

But when you raise your standards, you immediately raise your expectations of what’s possible in your life. You become more willing to take action to get things done. Your performance increases because you believe it to be so.

You have to get clear. You have to expose who you really are, what you really want, then speak your truth. Don’t deny who you are and what you desire. Denying will only limit the potential you have for influencing those around you to their greatest levels of achievement.

Be an inspiration to yourself first. Only then can you share that inspiration with someone else.

Develop New Rituals
Rituals are the actions that help support your drive towards making your new personal standards a reality. For rituals to work, they must help you prepare, plan, and think ahead. They have to motivate you to take action and keep you moving forward, even on those days where you have other things you’d prefer to do.

You can find out what rituals need impact by asking yourself a few questions:

  • How can I improve what I’ve been doing?
  • How can I be better tomorrow than I am today?
  • What more can I do in this area of my life to help me achieve more?
  • What can I do to help me in my goals?

Remember, rituals don’t have to be complex. They just have to be meaningful to you. And easy for you to implement into your life.

Instead of starting out with a dozen things, do one thing instead. Want an extra half-hour in your day? Set your alarm 30 minutes earlier. Then follow through and reward yourself by sticking with the reason you rose early. If it was to write, create a special place to do so. By a journal to track your time. Place a bouquet of flowers nearby as motivation. Baby steps are the key to your success.

Stay On Track With Personal Standards
This works in a two-fold way. First, clearly define what it means to stay on track. Then be sure to adhere to your rules and make sure your new behaviors meet your requirements.

Again, this all comes in baby steps. And you can approach this in many ways.

Every year I choose my word of the year. It’s a way for me to pinpoint exactly what I want to achieve for the year and hold myself accountable for my actions. This year my word is:


The ability to narrowly focus in on the right things, to do what will help me move forward doing exactly what I am meant to accomplish.

To settle down and focus on the best course of action right now, and concentrate on getting the one thing done that will matter most.

I even have a new way of keeping me on track – I’m using MyIntent’s What’s Your Word. It’s a way to keep your intentions – your standards – close to you all year long.

Above all, don’t compare your standards to anybody else. That sets you up for failure every time. Most people have very low standards and expectations for themselves, and that is why mediocrity runs high throughout the world. Comparing yourself to someone else is not going to get you to your desired destination.

Instead of comparing yourself to another, compare yourself to your personal best. How can you improve? What can you do differently to create a You 2.0? Performing at your very best will always ensure you are moving forward positively.

And if you’re making headway every day, you’ll be surprised at how much you can achieve for yourself.

Start with a word. What’s your word for the New Year?

Then hold on and see just how much you can achieve.