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On Leadership: Raise standards to be successful at change

9.13.12. Pam Solberg-Tapper, President of Coach for Success, Inc., is photographed in Duluth at the Shutter Stories studio, and in Canal Park. (Photo by Amanda Hansmeyer/ www.shutterstoriesonline.com/ © 2012 Shutter Stories, LLC )

If you in the midst of setting goals such as losing weight, increasing exercise, improving finances, stopping procrastination or being kinder, set standards to help you succeed. According to Tony Robbins, author, entrepreneur and life coach, "Any time you sincerely want to make a change, the first thing you must do is to raise your standards."

A standard is a rule you set for yourself. It is an absolute must. It is a decision that you make to raise your expectations of yourself. Here are some ways to raise your standards:

1. Turn "shoulds" into "musts." When a change is a must, you decide enough is enough and your old behavior has got to end. No more excuses. Tony Robbins says that the strongest force in human behavior is to stay consistent with who you believe you are. So, if your identity is locked into your old bad habits, you will not change. Instead, create a new identity to reinforce your musts such as "I will live my life at a healthy weight", or "I am a good steward of my money", or "I show up as the kindest person that I can be".

2. Establish rituals. Rituals are actions and words that you use daily to reinforce your standards. An example is to visualize yourself crossing the finish line of achieving your goal like athletes do. Or, every morning take a cold shower to prove to yourself that you are strong enough to overcome any temptation of overeating, procrastinating or not allowing enough time to exercise. Or, start the day with high energy by articulating all the things you are grateful for rather than the things that you are not happy about and bring your energy down. Daily rituals program your mind and give you the advantage to accomplish things that are far beyond what you initially think is possible.

3. Adhere to the five-second rule. This simple strategy popularized by Mel Robbins, author and motivational speaker, suggests that the moment you have an urge for an old bad habit you must physically move to counteract it within 5 seconds. Your mind naturally wants to protect you from changes that feel uncomfortable, hard or uncertain such as a new goal. She suggests to count backwards to yourself 5-4-3-2-1 — GO. The moment you reach "GO" — push yourself to move. This works for situations when you don't feel like exercising, are tempted to eat junk food or are procrastinating about getting out of bed in the morning. This method functions by disrupting your mind from the old habit so new more empowering habits and patterns can take hold.

Pam Solberg-Tapper is a Professional Certified Coach, Business Consultant and Professional Speaker. She provides tools to address the challenges that face individuals and companies today. Reach her at Pam@coachforsuccess.com or 218-729-0772.