“The lines we draw that make us who we are, are potent by virtue of being non-negotiable.” -Walter Kim“
Why Are Non-Negotiables Important And How To Create Them?
- If you just started dating after a long-term relationship and the guy on Bumble was super cute, seems funny, but smokes (and you hate smokers)—would you make an exception?
- If you are applying for a new job and need a flexible schedule to ensure you can make your kids Thursday 4 PM baseball games—would you take a 8am-6pm because the pay is great?
- If you are not a morning person and prefer to get your workout in at the end of the day but your friend wants you to sign up for a 5:00 AM spin class with her—would you do it?
What Is A Non-Negotiable?
Having non-negotiables in life is powerful!
A non-negotiable is a vow to yourself that you will not break. It’s something you avoid negotiating on with others and with yourself.
- Helps you build trust with yourself
- Aligns your behaviors with your values
- Portrays what is important in your life
- Establishes personal expectations
Being flexible in life is essential to ensure you don’t shut down when life doesn’t go as planned. When you are flexible and adaptable—it makes it that much easier when things don’t go as planned. However, there are certain things in life that don’t need negotiation. Not if you are negotiating your values and who you are as a person.
Non-negotiables can easily be related to boundaries. Without them it leaves you floating through life without a sense of direction, leaves you with feelings of being taken advantage of by others, and can be emotionally exhausting!
How To Create Your Non-Negotiables
Break them into categories
Job, Relationships (romantic, friends, family), Self-Care, etc.
Don’t overwhelm yourself
Start with one for each category.
- I will not work on Thursdays after 4 PM.
- I will only say yes to 1 social event with your friends during the week.
- I will not date someone that smokes.
- I will not deny myself daily self-care.
- I will not answer texts or phone calls after 9 PM.
Choose Things You Have Control Over
In order to follow-through with non-negotiables, they have to be things you have a “bit” of control over. However, you don’t have to be in charge of the outcome. For example, if you say “no” to going to dinner with a friend because you have already gone to one social activity during the week and she gets upset—you STILL followed through on your non-negotiable of only going to one social event during the week.
Be Flexible With Your Non-Negotiables
Wait! Didn’t I just say a non-negotiable is a vow with yourself you don’t break? Well, as our lives change, so do priorities. What was a non-negotiable a year ago may no longer be realistic with a new relationship, new job, health issues, kids, aging parents, etc.
This does NOT mean you are being wishy-washy, it means you adjust your non-negotiables to reflect your changing life.
For example, if you are going through a divorce, a non-negotiable you may have had prior to the divorce is picking your kids up after school every day because you have been a stay-at-home mom/dad. This might have to change if you now have to get a 9-5 job.
Or, if you have a non-negotiable of only participating in one social activity during the week but you are needing a girls night due to a challenging week at work and YOU really want to go out—then go to two!
Give Yourself Grace
You will inevitably slip just and negotiate with yourself.
Don’t allow your non-negotiables to become a source of guilt or anxiety. Be kind to yourself if you find yourself negotiating a non-negotiable, allow yourself to consider why you negotiated with yourself to determine if it needs adjusting.
Non-negotiables, boundaries, and flavors of ice-cream are all very personal. We all set our own intentions, and put them into action by keeping promises to ourselves.
By establishing your own non-negotiables in life, it helps you live your values.
Remember, You Got This!