I’ve been ruminating about ‘standards’ and ‘goals’ and I think the main difference is in the phrasing.*
Standards is the accepted quality of your day-to-day actions and expectations and are made up of “I have to” statements. It has a resigned tone, and has a feeling of being forced to achieve something.
They can be high:
I _have_ to get distinction in my piano exams.
I _have_ to be perfect in this essay.
And they can be lower:
I _have_ to survive – working 2 jobs and caring for a child as a single parent mean that the household chores will not get done properly.
I _have_ to carry on with this deadbeat partner, because I don’t deserve better.
Goals are generally loftier, and speak of a desire for something better than the current status quo. They are made out of “I want to” statements.
I _want_ to be a world class pianist.
I _want_ to get married and have kids.
I _want_ to be out of this abusive relationship.
High standards is an internal mechanism to push to you become better.
Great goals pulls you towards what you want.
I believe a good balance of both is necessary to create the momentum and help a person move towards their definition of success.
Being aware helps make sure you’re moving in the direction you want.