In the video, she was trying to get her daughter to put on shoes to leave the house. The daughter was refusing, and her mom needed to get to work at her yoga studio.
After some calm, observant discussion back and forth, and an agreement that once they got to the studio, the daughter could have something she desired, my friend said something magical.
She said: “what if I told you that putting on your shoes right now was non-negotiable?”
And guess what? Without saying a word, her daughter just picked up her shoes, put them on, and was ready to go. No muss, no fuss, no tantrums. She got the meaning of non-negotiable, right away.
I’ve been thinking about this video ever since.
I, along with most of my clients, have extraordinary capacities to talk myself out of the things I KNOW I need to do to make my life better.
For instance, going to the gym.
Or putting the smart phone down during dinner.
Or turning off the TV at 10 p.m. to get an extra hour of sleep or connect with our partners.
We make good excuses, all the time. Like: “it’s raining today, it was a shitty winter, and I don’t want to walk to Equinox.” (That one ran through my head today.)
We also bargain with ourselves. As in: “I’ll eat that bacon, egg and cheese today, just this once. Tomorrow, I’ll be better. What’ll it hurt?”
Or “I’ll just take a quick peek at Facebook while my partner is cooking dinner for me, and then I won’t look at it the rest of the night. She’ll barely notice.”
Or “I’m just going to watch five minutes of Game of Thrones, and then I’ll go to bed.” (Yeah, right.)
In response to these extraordinary capacities for self-delusion that I see in myself and my clients, I’ve been testing out something new.
You guessed it: it’s called “non-negotiable.”
The date I keep with myself to exercise? Non-negotiable.
Putting that smartphone in the drawer at home each night at 8 p.m. for my overwhelmed, overworked client? Non-negotiable.
Green juice every morning for the client who needs to control his eating or risk serious health problems? Non-negotiable.
And you know what? It’s shocking how well this has worked.
Why? Because once we take away our ability to self-negotiate, we just get on with doing what we know we need to do.
We don’t waste the mental energy of trying to justify making bad choices.
We don’t eat up the time we could have spent at the gym talking ourselves out of going.
We don’t find the crack in the armor of our willpower and then batter it with “good excuses.”
We just do what needs to be done.
Like I said, it’s so easy, a four year old can do it. 🙂
This week, I invite you to try out “non-negotiable” in your life. Report back in the comments below on how this goes for you.
I suspect you’ll find that cutting your excuses off at the knees by making your promises non-negotiable makes it much, much easier to do what needs to be done.
And then you get the added bonus of the pride and sense of accomplishment that comes from doing what you KNOW is right for you.
Wishing you a week of non-negotiable success.
PS. As usual, I’d be honored if you’d share this post with someone who needs it.
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