All of life is a spiral upward or downward. There is a myth that we can simply stop and accept our lot, but when water stops moving it stagnates.
In the same way, a person who makes peace with what they own gradually deteriorates. Whether it be the retiree who loses one joint’s mobility at a time, or the former alcoholic who permits themselves one beer to celebrate.
When we make decisions in life, we shouldn’t think about their immediate effects. We should think about our trajectories. Where does this decision take me? Is this decision congruent with the life I seek to exhibit? Through this type of long term thought, we can begin to recognise common habits that limit who we wish to be, and others that push us to grow more than ever.
The ratchet is a good analogy for standards. When we twist the ratchet past a point, it refuses to go backward. When we set ourselves standards, we can use those standards as a new foundation to build higher.
Every standard we successfully implement for ourselves - whether it be in health and fitness or relationships and work - allows us to climb. But the same can be applied to the opposite. When we break a single standard, the integrity of all standards becomes vulnerable. We can quickly descend from the highest to the lowest.
In conclusion, we must pay close attention to the habits we set for ourselves. Those smaller habits build the floor of every other success or failure in life. When we ignore the simple things, the complexities become unreachable.