Why Are Non-Negotiables Important And How To Create Them?

“The lines we draw that make us who we are, are potent by virtue of being non-negotiable.” -Walter Kim

  • You’ve recently started dating again after a long-term relationship, and you’ve matched with a guy on Bumble who seems charming and funny. However, he’s a smoker, and you strongly dislike smoking. Would you be willing to make an exception?
  • You’re on the lookout for a new job, and you need a flexible schedule to ensure that you can attend your kids’ Thursday 4 PM baseball games. You come across an 8am-6pm job with excellent pay. Would you consider compromising?
  • You’re not a morning person, and you prefer working out in the evenings. Your friend asks you to join her for a 5:00 AM spin class. Would you be willing to compromise?

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

Creating non-negotiables is a powerful way to establish boundaries and prioritize what’s important in your life. Non-negotiables can help you avoid burnout and ensure you’re living a fulfilling life that aligns with your values. To get started, consider breaking your non-negotiables into categories such as job, relationships, self-care, and more.

When developing non-negotiables, it’s important not to overwhelm yourself. Instead, start with one non-negotiable for each category. For example:

  • Job: I will not work on Thursdays after 4 PM.
  • Relationships: I will only say yes to one social event with friends during the week.
  • Self-care: I will not deny myself daily self-care.
  • Romantic relationships: I will not date someone who smokes.

It’s important to choose things you have control over, but you don’t have to be in charge of the outcome.

For instance, if you decline an invitation to dinner with a friend because you’ve already attended one social event that week, and your friend gets upset, you can still follow through on your non-negotiable of only attending one social event per week.

By setting non-negotiables and sticking to them, you can gain clarity about what’s most important in your life, reduce stress and anxiety, and live a more fulfilling life.

Be Flexible With Your Non-Negotiables

Non-negotiables are personal vows that help you establish boundaries and prioritize what’s important in your life. However, as life changes, so do our priorities. What was once a non-negotiable may no longer be realistic or sustainable in our current circumstances. That’s why it’s essential to be flexible and adjust our non-negotiables to reflect our changing lives.

For instance, if you’ve recently gone through a divorce and your non-negotiable was to pick up your kids after school every day, but you now need to get a 9-5 job, you may need to adjust your non-negotiable to fit your new reality.

While it’s important to be flexible, it’s equally important to hold yourself accountable to your non-negotiables. However, it’s normal to slip up and negotiate with yourself. When that happens, don’t let it become a source of guilt or anxiety. Instead, be kind to yourself and take the time to consider why you negotiated with yourself. Use that insight to adjust your non-negotiables as needed.

Non-negotiables, like boundaries and preferences, are personal and should align with your values. By establishing your own non-negotiables, you can live a more fulfilling life and stay true to yourself. So, be flexible and adjust as needed, while staying accountable and true to your values.

Remember, You Got This!

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