I n order to live an extraordinary life that is filled with love and beauty, you have to set standards for the non-negotiable parts of your life.
I touched on this a few weeks ago when I talked about compassionate discipline, but now comes the next step. Compassionate discipline helps us balance powerful living with beautiful and loving living by making it clear what’s negotiable and what’s not.
Because, if you aren’t clear on your own standards for living, it’s easy to simply react to life. And, baby, it’s hard to create a life you love when you’re constantly reacting.
By setting non-negotiable standards for your own life, you get to be faithful to your integrity and desires.
As with setting any priorities, begin with the big-picture stuff first. Be specific with an air of looseness. Specificity is a wonderful thing, yet you don’t want to feel boxed in. Not quite sure where to start? Try these questions:
- What standards do you need to set so that you feel present in your own life? You want to consciously thrive, not just survive.
- What kinds of spiritual experiences do you need in order to feel nourished? This can range from church to spiritual readings to prayer and more.
- What actions do you need to regularly take so that you feel alive? This is about moving your body, feeding your mind, indulging in your passions and hobbies…
- What about grooming and dressing? How we tend and clothe our bodies can affect how we feel about ourselves and our lives.
- Speaking of our bodies: what do you need sexually and sensually? Yes. I’m going there. We are wired to be sexual.
- What do you need in your environment to feel supported? Your home and your office. What levels of style and cleanliness do you need? (And yes, I’m looking at you, clutter)
- What do you need in your relationships – intimately, professionally, and socially?
- What kinds of self-care do you need to engage in so that you feel centered? Levels of rest, play, time with others, and time alone….
After pondering the areas of your life, be honest with yourself about the BIG non-negotiable needs in your life. Remember, this isn’t about living a life based on other people’s rules for you. It’s about taking control of your world.
Want to know a smidgen of my own personal BIG non-negotiables? No dishes in my sink when I wake. No clutter on my kitchen island. No clothes on the closet floor. Daily connection of some sort with JB. No dining on paper plates. Fresh flowers for no reason. Beautiful meals made with quality ingredients. Regular manicures and haircuts.
After you get clear on what your big picture standards are, drill down to your daily life. Oh, yes, in order to create and live a life you love, your daily life matters. Begin by looking for clues in your Perfectly Imperfect Ordinary Day activity to bring the essence of your ideals into reality.
Make two lists of dailies.
The first daily list to make? The Minimum Daily Non-Negotiable Activities for Crappy Days.
Let’s be honest, we all have days that are challenging. We’re sick or blue. Something triggers us and we fall down the rabbit hole. We’re stressed or upset. We’re feeling out of whack. We’re feeling burned out. Being firm about the things you are going to HOLD yourself to on your worst days, allows you to be lovingly nourished by the kind of life you desire while also being tender with yourself.
The truth about being willing to set non-negotiable standards for crappy days is two-fold.
- A non-negotiable is just that – it isn’t up for discussion. You create a sacred agreement with yourself by laying down your standards.
- We are more likely to slide away from our goals, dreams and desires when we’re having a rough time. By setting Minimum Daily Non-Negotiable Activities for Crappy Days you continue to propel yourself towards your dreams. It also means that you are less likely to slide back into unconscious living out of habit.
Beyond the basics of grooming (brush and floss your teeth, wash your face, etc) my Crappy Day list includes that ritual of my first cup of coffee and making my bed. It includes at least three 24-ounce glasses of water. It means sitting down at the table for at least one beautiful meal. No skipping vitamin pack or blood pressure medication. It also includes lip gloss and fresh clothes. (Yes, no putting on day-old clothes or living the whole day in my pajamas).
The second list is your Non-Negotiables for Ordinary Days. It typically includes all the things on your Crappy Day List PLUS more.This list is also two-fold
- Think of daily habits that you do and, when you skip them, life goes downhill fast. Having this list will help you bring your life in focus no matter what the world throws your way. This is how you keep your mind clear, your body nourished, your soul feeling loved, and your life in order.
- Include specific actions that will help you make progress towards your goals, dreams, and desires. Often, people fail to reach goals because they don’t make space in their life for action. By setting up non-negotiable standards for daily living that remembers your desires, you are setting yourself up for success and achievement.
A peek into some of my Ordinary Day non-negotiables: Everything on the Crappy Day list. Perfume, moisturizer, and earrings. At least half an hour of quiet / meditation / writing time. The accomplishment of at least ONE task on my big list. A clutter free desk and coffee table.
It’s far to easy to just live life by the seat of our pants. And while “going with the flow” sounds easy on the surface, what it leads to is disappointment and dissatisfaction about your life. If you want to live a life you love, you must be willing to do the things you need in order to create the kind of life you desire to live.
Setting non-negotiable standards means that you are setting the rules for your life according to your desires, not the desires of others. It’s about choosing to take control on the quality of your daily life.
Looking for more help in designing a daily life you love? Clearing Soul Clutter: Creating Your Vision begins March 29th.