In 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. If you’ve been around me for long, you likely know that I’m a big fan of compassionate discipline.  Yet, in order to be able to apply compassionate discipline, you need to take time for this important step: setting non-negotiable standards for your daily life.

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.

When you set non-negotiable standards for your own life, you get to be faithful to your integrity and desires. And this, my darling, helps you live a happier life.

So how do you begin to define what your non-negotiable standards for your daily life?

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. If you need some examples to get you started, here’s a  peek into my own daily non-negotiable standards.

    • I need a tidy kitchen. That means no dishes in the sink. And no clutter on the kitchen island.
    • My personal space matters. For me, it’s about daily making my bed, ensuring there are no clothes on the closet floor, and that my bathroom counters are also tidy.
    • Lifestyle matters to. I don’t like eating off of paper plates. And, in fact, prefer to have at least one beautifully prepared meal made with quality ingredients.
    • When it comes to self-care, I ensure I get regular manicure, pedicures, and haircuts.
    • My relationship is on my non-negotiable standards. Every night, JB and I sit down and discuss our day. Couples need that quality time.

Are you ready to begin thinking about your own non-negotiable standards? You’ll need two lists of specific standards for your daily life.

After you gain clarity on 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.

The first daily list to make? The Minimum Daily Non-Negotiable Activities for Crappy Days.

Let’s be honest, we all have bad days. Or, frankly a series of days that feel more than a little challenging. There will be periods of times when we have the blues or have the worst cold ever. Maybe we’re fine physically, but struggling mentally or emotionally. Something triggers us and we fall down the rabbit hole. We’re stressed and on the edges of burnout.

These are the times when it’s easy to get off track with our goals. However, when you set non-negotiable standards for your daily life, it’s easier to get back on track. It allows you to find a firm ground by knowing the standards you are going to HOLD yourself to on your worst days. Therefore, inviting you to feel supported and 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.

    1. A non-negotiable is just that – it isn’t up for discussion. You create a sacred agreement with yourself by laying down your standards.
    2. 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.

As you begin to build your non-negotiable standards for crappy days, the first thing I’m going to encourage you to do is look at the basics of grooming first. When you’re having a bad day or are sliding into depression, the basics sometimes follow by the wayside.

My personal list includes those basics of tooth-brushing and such. It also includes getting dressed in fresh clothes (nope, no pajamas all day or day-old clothes). And while I may not put on my full make-up on a crappy day, I do put on lip gloss, earrings, and fresh clothes. And I can’t forget other things that are important to me. Like having at least one beautiful meal at the table, no skipping of my vitamins, and

In addition to my ritual of my first cup of coffee and making my bed, I also ensure that I drink 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).

Your non-negotiable standards for crappy days is the most important list you’ll make for yourself. Seriously.

The second list is your Non-Negotiable Standards for Ordinary Days.

It typically includes all the things on your Crappy Day List PLUS more. You are creating this list for two reasons.

    1. 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.
    2. 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-negotiable standards: Everything on the Crappy Day list plus full makeup. 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 then wonder why we’re unhappy.

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. When you do that, it gives you the power to choose happiness even when life feels far from perfect.

Defining Standards for Every Day Living by Debra SmouseWould you like help defining your non-negotiable standards? What does a quality life means to you?

Want a worksheet to guide you through setting Non-Negotiable Standards for Crappy Days and Ordinary Days?  Snag my latest eBook: Defining Standards for Everyday Living Curates a Nourishing Life.

Creating a life you love demands that you make today, this day, one that feels nourishing. Even if it’s for just five minutes.

In addition to assisting you in defining standards for your life and non-negotiable standards, I’ll also guide you through imagining your Ideal Ordinary Day. Then, follow that with ways to usher a part of your Ideal Day into your current reality.

Sign up for your free copy of this powerful workbook: Defining Standards for Everyday Living Curates a Nourishing Life

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