Setting goals is a great first step to focusing on your health.
They’re something to strive for each day. Motivating you. Keeping you going in the right direction when real-life throws you some twists and turns.
But I don’t want to talk about goals right now. Most likely, you’ve set your goals at some point in your life. I want to talk about Non-Negotiables.
Non-negotiables are actions or rules that you set for yourself. They define your own self-discipline. They’re what you truly value to your core. Setting non-negotiables is not about hoping, or wishing, or trying to achieve something in the future.
It’s about committing to something you believe in and doing it consistently. No matter what. Your goals are the endpoint. Your non-negotiables are what get your there.
For your health (and honestly for life in general) it’s important to figure out your non-negotiables because they are going to serve as the pillars for what makes you successful. When everything else fails (at some point it might), or you’re completely frustrated and overwhelmed (this happens too), your principles, your values, and your non-negotiables will never change.
Not only does this help you stay on track, it brings a sense of peace and relief. Because now that you have them, you can be confident that you’re still making positive changes for your health, even when it seems like nothing is going your way.
Here are (some of) mine I’ve adopted over the years:
I have to move around for AT LEAST 20 minutes every day
Now preferably this an hour or more, but we all know there are days that pop up when we’re traveling, tired, hungover, or busy at work. In today’s sedentary society, it’s a lot easier than you think to go the entire day without some sort of planned activity.
That’s why I make it a point to get some sort of targeted movement or activity every day for 20 minutes. I don’t care if this is stretching, walking around the block, HIIT cardio, or taking a swim. Anything that gets the blood pumping and the body moving is a good thing for health and longevity.
I no longer drink my calories (for the most part)
Listen, if you’re trying to lose weight and get healthier, I highly recommend making this change. Do I mean you’re now forced to only drink water, black coffee, green tea, and diet sodas for the rest of your life?
This is more of a lifestyle change in which you’re making an effort to eliminate certain beverages that do not serve you or your health any benefits. For example:
I no longer drink fruit juices – I’ll just eat the whole fruit if I want the vitamins.
No more whole milk – Almond milk is a much healthier (and low calorie) choice.
I’ve ditched the soda (this is a big one) – If I am craving one, I’ll go with Zevia.
I’ve slowed down with the beer and mixed drinks – Dry red wines and clear liquors instead.
And on top of everything else? I drink WAY more water than in the past and I make this a priority every day. Just by staying hydrated, you’d be surprised how your hunger levels stay in check, your skin looks and feels amazing, and your energy levels are balanced and constant.
I only have (and use) high-quality fats for cooking at home
In today’s society and the manner in which food is produced, preserved, and manipulated…the average person’s diet is FILLED highly inflammatory, refined, processed fats. If you look at most food labels for packaged food, inevitably you’re going to find canola, corn, soybean, safflower, palm, and sunflower oils.
These types of fats and oils can be tough to avoid if you’re on the go or in a restaurant (unfortunately), but when it’s your home, YOU have the control. The only fats I cook with are olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil (better for baking), and grass-fed butter or ghee. All of these are much less inflammatory, natural, and have a favorable omega-3 or omega-9 ratio.
My first and last meal have to be at least 12 hours apart
I already fast 16-20 hours a day the majority of the time…but for those late nights or early-morning family brunches that pop up from time to time, this is my one rule. Whenever my last meal is, whether that’s at 8pm or 2am, (at a MINIMUM) my next meal cannot be until 8am and 2pm respectively.
It’s simple, easy to follow, and keeps you mindful as to whether or not your body really needs food at a certain time. Whether you’re a supporter of fasting or not, this is great rule of thumb if you’re looking to improve your insulin sensitivity and overall health.
These are just a few of my non-negotiables I’ve created for myself over the years.
The important thing to note is not to feel pressured or obligated to adopt a bunch of rules at once. Just like anything else, this will overwhelm you and cause failure down the line.
Think about what you do most days already and ask yourself these questions:
Do you feel a need to do it (what do you value)?
Is it something you could easily implement into your life?
Does it make you a happier and healthier person?
Find one or two things and try them out. Finally make your own non-negotiable to start putting your health FIRST.
You got this.