Non-Negotiables

BY THE UNSTUCK DUCK

What behaviours, habits, choices are non-negotiable to you?

Many people can’t start their day until they’ve had a coffee. Some won’t go to bed without a clean sink. My Dad had to start his day with a banana. If he didn’t he was a grumpy mess – so much so that after a banana-less morning on a camping trip my kids nicknamed him “Grampa No.”

I was recently introduced to the concept of non-negotiable’s with regard to resolutions. Given that it’s the first day of 2020, many of us are looking at “New Year, New Decade, New Me” types of changes. But what about New Year’s resolutions makes them stick or not stick? I don’t know the stats, but I’d make a guess that more than 80% of resolutions won’t make it past the first week. So how can you make a change in your life that will actually stick?

My friend introduced me to a program she’s doing with her company called #45Strong. The basic premise is that they have outlined 7 non-negotiable actions that have to be done every day for 45 days.

It’s a weight loss program (you can check it out here) so you can imagine that their challenge is things like “drink a gallon of water”, “follow this meal plan” etc. And while I do not have a goal of losing weight, and nor do I want to join their program, what stuck with me was that those 7 things are non-negotiable.

It got me thinking. What if the choices we make are just that – non-negotiable? How does that change our feelings around them? How does labeling them non-negotiable change the energy around them? If it’s non-negotiable it’s a no-brainer.

Let me give you an example.

Alcohol.

I have a heard that certain medical studies have determined there is a correlation between sugar and cancer. I also know that alcohol becomes sugar in my body. I haven’t dove into the science behind it, but I do know that sugar and alcohol are both connected with inflammation. For this example, I choose to believe both are true, which makes it a “faith-based position” that cutting sugar and alcohol would give me a better chance at avoiding a cancer recurrence.

Now whether it’s true or not, I know for sure that my experience with alcohol makes me sleep crappy, makes me make poor decisions, seizes up my joints, and makes me feel anxious and miserable the next day. It takes me three days to recover from a hangover, while I question every life decision I’ve made, relying on Tylenol and Gatorade to get me through.

Therefore, my New Year’s resolution is born: Quit drinking alcohol.

Enter negotiations.

But… I really do like a glass of wine with dinner. I enjoy a few drinks with friends and we have a lot of fun together. I can quit any time. New Years is a horrible time to make a resolution because New Year’s resolutions never work (because they’ve never worked for me in the past). It’s not like I have a problem or anything. What will I do with my time? Will I ever socialize again? What will my friends say?

Sound familiar?

So what if I decided that based on my beliefs and feelings and experience with alcohol and my aforementioned faith-based position that alcohol = sugar = cancer = imminent death, that cutting out booze is non-negotiable? I do not want to die, I don’t want to feel crappy, I want to be confident and stable and sleep well. That’s it. No negotiations. I don’t drink. Period.

Choosing it as non-negotiable automatically shuts down the toddler in my head that tries every angle to break the resolution.

So given how much I love a good challenge, decided to choose my own 7 non-negotiable’s for my #45strong. For the next 45 days, I am hereby declaring the following items as non-negotiable every day:

  • 10,000 steps per day
  • 1 Gallon of water per day (I chose a gallon because 3.76L was too obscure, other than that’s what we call a 4L of milk)
  • No booze
  • No chips or French fries
  • Write for 30 min (blog, book, journal)
  • Take 3 steps forward in my business
  • Declutter one drawer or shelf

As you can imagine, that list looks somewhat daunting. Terrifying actually. At the time of writing this it’s 8:50 am and I’m already overwhelmed. But – they are all non-negotiable, and therefore I just have to put my head down and do them.

I’m laying in bed and I’m already done the writing piece. I have chosen which drawer to tackle (top drawer beside the oven). It’s a beautiful sunny day so a great day for a walk. I’ve got my water bottles measured. The willpower is on with the chips and the booze. And I have already chosen my 3 steps for my business. It’s going to be a great day!

At the end of my 45 days, hopefully I am going to celebrate new found habits by continuing on with them (well … maybe not the decluttering one – I don’t have that many drawers). I’m also going to celebrate by taking myself on a writing retreat to get some serious work done on my book. And THAT makes me super excited!!

What are some of your choices that you would like to make non-negotiable? Send me a note – I’d love to be an accountability partner for you!

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