Keys to success: What are your non-negotiables?

There has been a lot written about success over many centuries with much more focus on this in the last several decades. We are striving to become smarter, stronger, faster, healthier, wealthier and more accomplished. We want to be more connected with others with more meaningful and fulfilling relationships.

With so much information on achieving success in books, the internet and mass media it is easy to become overwhelmed and pulled in many different directions. The emphasis on achieving a specific goal can be a distraction in itself and detract us from the journey to getting there. There are, however, some time tested principles which must be in place in order to successfully achieve our goals and enjoy the journey to getting to them. One of these is the principle of non-negotiables.

What are non-negotiables? These are those acts that we absolutely must carry out every day no matter what our circumstances. No matter what goal you are trying to achieve in the realm of health, fitness, relationships, career, finance or your spirituality, you must have non-negotiables. Let me give you some examples of these from my own life.

I divide my non-negotiables into daily, weekly and monthly. My daily non-negotiables are: 1) To spend at least several moments in the day in a stillness practice whether this is meditation, going for a walk or immersing myself in nature, 2) A movement practice of some kind, which usually involves at least ten minutes of practicing martial arts first thing in the morning, 3) Refraining from checking email and social media after 8 PM and spend time engaging meaningfully with my wife and children.

My weekly non-negotiables are: 1) Engage in strength training exercises at least 5 times per week, 2) Spend at least 3 separate blocks of time in writing (which is how I was able to complete my first book), 3) Write this weekly blog, 4) Complete a dry fast twice per week while the sun is up, 5) Reaching out to potential coaching clients, 6) Completing a language lesson at least 4 times per week (I’m currently learning French), 7) Read several times per week a book or article on personal development.

My monthly non-negotiables are: 1) Actively seek out speaking opportunities, 2) Reach out to like-minded people through email and social media to expand my network and influence with my ideas, 3) Assess my current investments to see if they are helping me reach my financial goals and, if not, what needs to be changed in my portfolio, 4) Assess my monthly income to see how I can maximize this by working more intelligently.

You must have non-negotiables in the most important areas of your life which are usually around health and fitness, personal relationships and social life and career and finance. Without non-negotiables you will be floundering and will have less chance of achieving success no matter what your put your energy and attention to.

Now examine your own life. What are your non-negotiables in the major areas of your life? If you don’t have any, see how this has affected your ability to achieve your goals. Right now, divide your goals into the areas I mentioned above and come up with at least 3 non-negotiables in each area. Make the commitment to stick to your non-negotiables no matter what is transpiring in your life. You will be amazed at how this simple practice will help you achieve your goals faster and elevate your life to a higher level.


Nauman Naeem MD

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