Heather Hansen

The Power of Non Negotiables

Do you know the power of non negotiables? I do. Non negotiables are those things that are not open to modification. I’ve used non negotiables to lose 100 pounds, write an Amazon best seller and maintain a popular podcast for almost two years. I also use non negotiables to schedule my day, ensure my mental health, and support my relationships. Non negotiables might be the secret to all of my successes.

Let’s use weight loss as an example. When I was 18 years old I lost 100 pounds. I had certain non negotiables. I didn’t eat chocolate, potato chips or cheese. These non negotiables made my life so much easier. When any of these three foods were presented to me, the only answer was “No thanks.” I didn’t have to worry about whether to indulge and if so how much. There was no negotiating around those foods, and that left energy for other things.

When I wrote my book The Elegant Warrior-How to Win Life’s Trials Without Losing Yourself, I also had some non negotiables. I wrote for an hour every day. No negotiating with myself. That meant I wrote on Christmas, birthdays and all of those days I didn’t feel like it. I saved the time and energy I’d use to negotiate and used it to work on the book.

But sometimes, your non negotiables change. That happened to me this week. Normally, my morning routine is non negotiable. I get up, brush my teeth, drink coffee, and read something motivational or inspiring. Then I meditate, read emails and exercise. I don’t have to negotiate with myself every morning to do these things. They are just non negotiables.

Until they aren’t. When the pandemic hit, everyone’s lives changed. After a long time in NYC, I’ve come to Cape Cod to stay at my family’s house for the rest of the summer. And I found that I wasn’t meditating. I wasn’t doing my reading. But I was beating myself up about it. I made myself feel bad for not doing what I’d promised. Until I realized that I could make new promises.

I had to renegotiate my non negotiables. I made it a conscious decision, and decided that for the rest of the summer meditation and inspirational reading don’t work for me here. My mornings are filled with chats with my parents and playing with their puppy, Toby. Working out is still a non negotiable. But the others-not so much.

I encourage my coaching clients to create non negotiables in their lives. They often marvel at the power of non negotiables. They save time and make them productive and successful. But I also encourage them to be willing to let some go. Life is changing pretty fast these days. Your non negotiables may need to change as well. Don’t be afraid to let them.

Heather Hansen

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