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Why You Need Non-Negotiables to Successfully Create Healthy Habits


If you want to change your habits but never seem to be successful, what you need are non-negotiables. A non-negotiable is something in your life that is not open to discussion or modification. I find non-negotiables work especially well when we are trying to develop good self-care and health habits.

Often we have intentions for healthy habits or self-care, we may even have solid plans in our calendar, but things seem to get in the way and we never actually do the healthy habit or self-care. Something always comes up in your day and you put yourself on the back burner or reschedule it for later.

This is where we need to make ourselves and the healthy habits non-negotiable.

If you want to get to the gym three times a week but every time it comes up in your schedule you move it for another more pressing event, you never actually make it to the gym. You may want to make your gym time non-negotiable.

You decide when you will go to the gym and nothing gets in the way of that. If you make the gym non-negotiable, no excuse is good enough. Family in from out of town? Cool see you when I get home from the gym. Laundry needs to be done? Guess the laundry will wait until I get back from the gym. You don’t reschedule the gym for other things. You reschedule other things around the gym.

In the case of non-negotiables, most times, it is ourselves we try to negotiate with. But not always. Sometimes we let others dictate what is important to us.

If you plan to eat healthy home cooked meals but find yourself constantly getting take-out at your partner’s request maybe it’s time to make home cooked food non-negotiable.

When something is non-negotiable, it’s very much like having a boundary in place for that thing. Boundaries are those situations that you have communicated to others that if this happens, then, I will do that.

With non-negotiables its most always if you ask this of me, then I will always say no. For example. If you ask for take-out, I will always say no.

Do you brush your teeth every single day? That is a non-negotiable. What other things do you want to do in your life that if they were as non-negotiable as brushing your teeth, would dramatically improve your life and your health?

Okay so we see what a non-negotiable is and how it is important to us, now what?

How to Implement Non-Negotiables in Your Life

1. Make a List

Now we decide what in our life needs to become non-negotiable.

Self-care should be non-negotiable because its self-care that many of us don’t take or make the time to do when life happens. I suggest you write a list of the things in your life that you would like to get done. Choose the things that are very important to you and make them non-negotiable.

2. Schedule Your Non-Negotiables

What this looks like is scheduling in your non-negotiable first and then scheduling your life around them. Be very realistic here because you want to create confidence in yourself to stick to them.

Don’t bite off more than you can chew. You can always add more non-negotiables as you develop your ability to do what you say you will do and to be strong when others would like you to bend your plans.

3. Communicate Your Non-Negotiables (Boundaries) to Your Loved Ones

Boundaries don’t work unless we communicate those boundaries to the people we walk through life with. In the case of non-negotiables, make sure your people understand you’re serious and know what your wishes are.

You must teach them that you will not negotiate and stay true to yourself, even when you are tired and want to get the take-out too.

4. You Have to do What You Say You Will

You must stand by your decision, you don’t negotiate with yourself, and you won’t negotiate with others…at least when it comes to your non-negotiables. You don’t leave the house without brushing, right? Don’t skip that workout either.

My Non-Negotiables

Here are a couple of my non-negotiables and believe me some things are easier than others to stand firm on.

I eat clean Monday through Friday unless I have a pre-planned date to go out to dinner. This means no take-out when I’m tired after work or no cupcake when someone brings them into the office.

I always buy the best quality food I can afford, when it’s available. If organic is an option I will buy organic, even if it is way more expensive. If a cleaner product with healthier oils and ingredients is an option, I will choose that over the less expensive lesser quality option.

Other Examples

  • Brushing Your Teeth
  • Bathing
  • Flying First Class ; )
  • Not Staying in a Marriage with Infidelity
  • Not Using Drugs
  • Fitness
  • Environmental Choices

There are many places in your life that you may already have non-negotiables without realizing it. Use these as examples for setting up new non-negotiables. What are your thoughts about brushing your teeth? Can you practice them when it come to your gym habit?

Before you know it you will develop more healthy habits and have a regular self-care routine that is running without much effort, they will be things you just do. Like brushing your teeth.

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