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4 steps to identifying your non-negotiables

Have you heard of the term "non-negotiables" before? Maybe it's a somewhat new term or an unfamiliar practice to you, but non-negotiables are the actions you commit to regardless of what's going on in your life. They allow you to chip away at your goals regardless of the season of life you're in. Whether you're busy as heck or chillin' like a cucumber. I recommend setting aside time to create and identify your non-negotiables. Here is my recommended process:

1. Identify your priorities.

Everyone's priorities are different, but take some time to think about what matters most to you. This could include family, relationships, friendships, health, career, education, spirituality, adventure, or volunteering (this is not an exhaustive list). Your priorities will guide your goals in relevance, availability, and achievability.

2. State your goals.

As step number one mentioned, your priorities influence your goals. If your health is one of your priorities, it's likely you'll have a goal surrounding your health. Remember, a goal doesn't have to be grand or outlandish. It could be maintaining your current health. On the other hand, maybe you're looking to make some big life changes in regards to your health like, starting a resistance training program or fueling your body to better support your life and activities.

3. Define your actions to achieve your goals.

We will use two different examples here: one for training and one for nutrition.

Goal Example 1: I want to gain more strength to feel stronger while hiking and running.

Action: I will achieve this by following a structured strength training program 3-4 days per week and hike or run 2 days per week for 12 weeks. I will log my reps, sets, and weights used during my strength training sessions, as well as make notes about how I feel during and after my hikes and runs.

Goal Example 2: I want to increase my protein intake to improve my recovery and build muscle mass.

Action: I will achieve this by following a structured strength training program 3-4 days per week and prioritize consuming 25-40g of protein with every meal for 16 weeks.

4. Name your non-negotiables.

It can be fairly simple to write out goals, but applying the actions can be tough when life gets busy, works gets stressful, or a family member needs help.

[enter non-negotiables]

Your non-negotiables are the actions you will take regardless of the obstacles life throws at you. For example, even when things are absolutely crazy, you still brush your teeth everyday, right? Right??? (Hopefully anyway 🤪)

Here are a few examples of non-negotiables referring back to our two goals listed in step number three.

Goal 1 non-negotiables:

- Strength train 1-2 days per week, even if that means shortening the lifts

- Run, hike, or walk 1 day per week, even if that means shortening the duration

Goal 2 non-negotiables:

- Strength train 1-2 days per week, even if that means shortening the lifts

- Eat 1-2 protein-rich meals per day

- Drink a protein shake or eat a protein bar to lower the barrier of entry

You'll notice that upholding your non-negotiables may mean we enter a brief phase of maintenance or slower progress, but slow progress is still progress AND maintaining these habits on a more manageable level makes increasing them MUCH easier when life gets less busy. Non-negotiables are there as a back up to rely on. Rely on them instead of throwing in the towel or waiting until Monday, next month, or the start of the year to get into a groove. Life will always have it's obstacles, why not work with them instead of against them?

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