Setting High Standards

This article from 2011 came across my FaceBook news feed this morning. It rang very true for me, especially when I wrote earlier that I believe I suffer from low self-esteem and that is why I settled for the men I did when I got married.

The article is entitled, We Date At the Level Of Our Self-EsteemThe article states, if you don’t love, honor and cherish yourself, you will settle.

As women in our 50s, whether married or not, we need to love ourselves, know who we are, set high standards and not settle. Whether it’s in a romantic relationship, a friend relationship or even relationships at work.

If you are still trying to figure out who you are and what it is that you want for this latter portion of your life, start by making a list of your goals or things that you want in your life. Then break this list down by years–what do you hope to accomplish in 1 year, 3 years, 5 years and 10. Then break that down–in order to accomplish this in 1 year, I will need to do this each month or have this accomplished in 3 months, etc. Here is an example:

One-Year Goal: Lose 35 pounds: 3-5 pounds/month

  • Exercise 6x per week for 30-40 minutes: start with 3x per week for one month, add one day for each month thereafter, building up to 6x per week by six months
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables/day: replace nightly snack of ice cream with an apple for one month, then replace another unhealthy snack with carrots and humus in second month and so on

So, if you break it down, it doesn’t seem to be quite as overwhelming. At the end of every weekend, I say to myself, “I am going to start my diet tomorrow, and I’m going to the gym every day and working out for an hour.” I do it for one or two days, and then I’m back to my old habits. Realistically, who can go from barely working out at all to working out 6 days a week? It’s like giving up every bad habit you have cold turkey! That’s enough to send anyone into a tail spin! Set the goal, break it down and work your way up (or down). Yes, it takes a while longer to get there, but the result will be one that will stick.

Then, once you’ve reached your goal, you will love and cherish yourself, knowing that you’ve accomplished what you’ve set out to do. When you continue to slip back into old habits, you beat up on yourself, which leads to the thought process of “I’m no good. Can’t succeed at anything,” and if you don’t think highly of yourself, who will?

Finally, make sure you revisit your goals–write them down in a notebook that you can carry with you. Read them daily, weekly, monthly. Remind yourself what your intentions are and then seek to obtain them!