Years ago, I wanted to start exercising before work.
Despite my best intentions (and my love of physical activity), I would lay in bed every morning negotiating with myself while hitting the snooze button.
It sounded something like this:
“I really should get up and work out.
Or…I could sleep for another hour and exercise tonight.
Maybe I should just do it tomorrow morning.
Better yet, I’ll do it tonight and tomorrow morning!
No, I will feel much better if I do it now.
But, my bed is so warm and cozy!
Ugh, I need to get up and just do it.
I will, I will…after just one more round of snoozing.
Shoot, now there’s not enough time to work out.
I guess I’ll do it tonight.
Who am I kidding? That will never happen. I'm always too tired after work.
Tomorrow, I swear I’ll get up tomorrow."
This painful process wasted a lot of time and mental energy.
On the many days I chose my bed over my running shoes, I felt bad about myself and my lack of willpower.
Then one day I had a light-bulb moment.
I decided that I would no longer decide.
Working out in the morning would no longer be negotiable. There would be no more debating. It would just be what I do.
Freedom from Decision-Making
Although it may seem counterintuitive, removing the decision-making was extremely freeing.
Eliminating the option to choose enabled me to put my time and energy toward more important, meaningful and rewarding pursuits.
I no longer had to rely on my limited willpower to make the right decision.
I stopped driving myself crazy with my fruitless, draining negotiating.
My a.m. workout became part of my morning routine, just like brushing my teeth.
My new habit felt so good, I never reverted to my old negotiating ways.
What Can You Make Non-Negotiable?
If you’re striving to make or break a habit, how can you remove the decision-making process?
What would happen if you made a desired behavior—like going to bed an hour earlier, taking your lunch to work, or meditating daily—non-negotiable?
What if it became something you just do?