New Castle News

August 8, 2013

Lori Brothers: Raise your standards for better health

Lori Brothers
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — Setting a standard for yourself equals establishing a good habit.

Whenever you don’t make a habit that creates a high standard, the results can lead to decline or decay. Just think about personal hygiene as an example. If you don’t take a shower, you may not smell very appealing. If you don’t brush your teeth, cavities may form. If you don’t brush your hair, you may end up with birds nesting in it.

Well, maybe that’s going a bit too far.

Standards can set the trend to healthy lifestyle in all areas of our lives. Your standard is kind of like the default on your computer. It’s what’s been established as the normal setting.

In developing lifestyle, raising your standards shapes the habits you keep, based on your attitudes, your beliefs and your goals. Standards are the rules you live by. When you masterfully set your standards higher — which takes thoughtfulness, patience and persistence — you personalize them, rather than living by the requirements or expectations of others.

This establishes a sense of ownership that makes you the king or queen of your own domain.

“If you don’t set a baseline standard for what you’ll accept in life, you’ll find it’s easy to slip into behaviors and attitudes or a quality of life that’s far below what you deserve,” says motivational speaker, Anthony Robbins.

So ruling your own kingdom requires self-esteem and self worth. What is your health, well-being and happiness worth to you?  How do you set your worth?  Even if we speak of tendencies,instead of absolutes, we are what we do most often. This is why the concept of lifestyle is so important to ponder, if not own.

Adopt this mantra: “I am what I do repeatedly.” This will remind you that you are your habits, the good and the bad. Repeat the stuff that brings you good results. Re-patterning yourself takes the efforts of steering your attention towards your new outcomes.

Where do your attitudes, willingness, lack of conviction, and pride or prejudice come from? What have you refused to try to do differently? What limitations will you need to go beyond to accomplish the higher quality you deserve?

Taking even a short examination of what makes you tick may be enlightening. Some of us may avoid this kind of “looking deeper,” fearing that it may be painful. Often, when you give yourself permission to follow a stale habit to the root, you will find that, just like when you were afraid of what might be hiding in the closet as a child, it’s your imagination, or in this case, your habitual way of doing things unconsciously that is the culprit.

No more boogey man.

Just the action of setting a new standard can be powerful enough to create a new habit and a new outcome, whether the goal is weight loss, improved health issues, or other life outcomes you can intend, such as going back to school.

It’s all about building confidence.

Live Strong notes that, “A mark of confidence is the ability to accurately assess one’s strengths and weaknesses without judgment and use the insights collected to constructing a strategy for personal success.”

The honest truth brings clarity. Claim your crown. Knowing why you resist change, may not be as important as building the confidence to change what you expect from yourself, and for yourself. Begin by owning your strengths and weaknesses. Self-acceptance can breed success.

(Lori Brothers is the director of The Dean Ornish Program For Reversing Heart Disease at Jameson Hospital,


Watermelon-Peach Salsa

1/2 cup hot pepper jelly

1 tablespoon lime zest

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

2 cups seeded and diced fresh watermelon

1 cup peeled and diced fresh peaches

1/3 cup fresh basil

1/3 cup chopped fresh chives

3 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

Salt and freshly ground pepper


Whisk together pepper jelly, lime zest, and lime juice in a bowl; stir in watermelon and next 3 ingredients.

Season halved baby tomatoes with salt and pepper to taste; spoon into cocktail glasses. Top with salsa. Serve with baked tortilla chips.

Note: You can substitute hot pepper jelly with mild, medium or hot jarred salsa!