The Most Effective Way to Change Your Life: Raise Your Standards


In my life coaching work with clients from DC and beyond, I work with people experiencing transitions. We often discuss that change is automatic:

  • The seasons
  • The year
  • The economic forecast
  • The aging process
  • Our children growing up
  • Our work situation
  • The political climate
  • … and more!

But our own personal progress is not automatic. We can evolve or get stuck. Even someone with a “perfect” life wants to continually progress and successfully navigate the inevitable changes that life brings.

Over time I’ve come up with some very effective ways for clients to make lasting change. Of course through life coaching, these ways are developed collaboratively with my coaching clients. But there are some commonalities to their very unique journeys that I’ve discovered, and I’ll share with you here.

1. Have a vision. Most things we tell ourselves we “must” do like goals or ambitions (to lose weight, to get a promotion, to make more money, to work out every morning) aren’t very inspiring. We have to push ourselves to do them, and achieving these goals takes all our force of will. More compelling is to ask ourselves, what will I create? For example, I can create:

  • A satisfying work life
  • An amazing relationship with my kids, spouse or partner
  • A strong, healthy body full of vitality
  • Financial abundance
  • An energizing morning ritual

This is our vision, the pull that excites us, gets us up in the morning and keeps us following through. It engages our emotions and energizes us. Yes!

2. Have reasons. When the inevitable challenges arise – the economy is stagnant, you’re tired and unmotivated, you get passed over for a promotion – you need reasons strong enough to follow through on your vision. This is where my life coaching clients use their most deeply-held “reasons” (a.k.a. “discipline”) show up for themselves and their deepest wants, dreams and ambitions. It’s in these challenging moments that your vision for a better life will carry you though. Do you have compelling “reasons” for the changes you want to make in your life?

Take the vision that absolutely excites and inspires you from step 1 and create sound, compelling reasons to follow through on this vision. For example:

  • How would you feel if in one year you had achieved your vision?
  • How would you feel about yourself?
  • How would you feel about your life?

It is so important to create strong enough reasons.  Having a powerful enough “why” will provide you with the necessary “how”.

3. Follow through every day. Can you remember a time – maybe when you were younger – when you were so focused on something that you thought about it every day? Maybe as a teen there was a rock band you really liked. Perhaps you had intensity about your favorite sport, or in college your favorite subject. Or maybe you can remember this intensity about your first crush. Whatever it was, it was so part of your focus, you had so much intensity of emotion about it and you reviewed it so often that you were almost able to draw it to you. When anything that would get you closer to this thing showed up in your life, you noticed.

It’s important to remember these times, because they prove that you CAN accomplish what you set out to accomplish when you follow through every day!

4. Develop rituals. Great athletes and musicians, the financially successful, those who have advanced to the top of their field, great parents, great spouses – anyone at the top of their game – all have rituals that make them who they are. Great singers take excellent care of their voices. They drink tea and lemon backstage before every performance. The physically fit work out regularly – and seem to enjoy doing so. Financially successful people pay their bills without fail and invest religiously. All of these people have non-negotiable rituals that make them who they are.

Along the same lines, don’t we all want amazing friendships, great love lives, strong families, fulfilling careers and vibrant health?

What cool little habits do you have that make you uniquely you? Maybe no one else does them – but this is why you get the great results that you do in that one awesome area of your life.

5. Raise your standards. Achieving lasting change is different than achieving your goals. You don’t always get your goals, but you always get your standards. There’s a familiar story about a baby elephant who was tied to a post by his circus trainer. When he pulled against the post, he couldn’t go anywhere, so he eventually gave up. Years later, when he was a fully-grown, two-ton elephant capable of pulling down the entire circus tent, he still accepted the constraints of the post and his shackles because that’s how things had always been.

What constraints are you accepting as a “given”? In life, we get our “musts,” not our “shoulds.” When something is a “must” it becomes part of our identity, our belief system. Doing it doesn’t require any willpower, because it’s who we are inside. The strongest force in your personality is the need to stay consistent with how you define yourself. Ask yourself: when did I decide to accept that limitation? We live out who we believe we are.

  • If it’s your “must” you find a way, in the face of all odds
  • If you do all your rituals, you have so much momentum to succeed

Catastrophic failure – failure of health, the loss of a job, the failure of a marriage – doesn’t happen all at once. It comes from all the little things we’ve failed to do:

  • Get up early
  • Make the call
  • Check the books
  • Eat your vegetables
  • Say you’re sorry
  • Go for a run

You do little things to make certain areas of your life a smashing success. That’s why you’re uniquely you – and you have a great life! But there is always room for improvement, and everyone wants to continually thrive and grow in their lives. During these periods of transition and “up-leveling,” it’s not what we get (more money, a slimmer physique, a great relationship) that makes us feel happy. It’s who we become in the process.

Life Coaching to Raise Your Standards

at-desk-brightNeed an ally in this work? Changing beliefs about who we think we are can be difficult. But I believe we can change our lives one day at a time. We’re not broken, and we don’t need fixing. We have everything within ourselves to create the life we’ve always dreamed of. With the right tools, a few powerful questions and the intention to create something great, we can get to where we want to be. We don’t even have to know what “our best life” looks like, just that we want to live it.

Contact me today for a complimentary, no-obligations life coaching consultation to explore the possibilities. Or use the Appointment Scheduler and pick a time that works for you. I coach 90% of my clients over the phone, and my DC-based Life Coaching clients have the option of meeting with me in person. I look forward to hearing from you.