New Year, New rules: Non-negotiable Habits
“You know what I noticed?”
“ You were your happiest when you were writing. Once you stopped, you began to lack confidence”
— The conversation that inspired this post
Starting over again
Here we are again, yet another year has come and gone. Around this time I would be celebrating my blog's birthday (officially 3 years on December 31st). This year will be different though because the thing is I had such high hopes for my blog in 2021, but I feel like I let this blog, my readers, and myself down.
2021 started really strong but by February, I found out I got into my new major and from there, I had a shift in focus. For my new major, I realized that I had very little job experience so I wanted to get an internship because in senior year I will have to do one in order to graduate. I ended up working 3 internships in the summer, then they announced that we were returning to school in person so the time I used for writing went back to commuting.
I am so grateful for the opportunities that happened in 2021. From working multiple jobs that provided me with the skills I need to move forward in my career to becoming a part of a program surrounded by people who inspire me with their ambition and creativity, this year was so impactful. However, without writing, it was like a piece of my identity was missing. Writing had always been a part of who I am and how I cope with everyday things. With the combination of lack of time, adjusting to rapid changes, and the pressure I put on myself, I was put into this box that made me feel so constrained that every time I tried to write it was rubbish.
Even though this blog is for advice and to give perspective, a lot of the content is driven by my observations, things I learn, and experience… but truthfully I was just going through the motions. Maybe that’s how many people feel about having got through the first pandemic and now are having a scare over the new variant. Everything feels so up in the air at the moment which is why we need to create non-negotiables this year to have a lifestyle that brings joy and protects our peace.
How to create your own rules
1. Be honest with yourself and figure out what causes you happiness vs what stresses you out
A good tactic to do this is journaling. You don’t have to follow a specific format. Sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is to free write and let your subconscious take control. However, if you need more structure some questions you can ask yourself are: How have I been feeling lately? What has been my source of joy? What have been my biggest stressors? Is it a person? Is it work? Is there anything I can do to minimize any of the stressors in my life? Are the stressors really worth keeping in my life?
2. Once you identify that, figure out what do you want for the new year and create intentions behind them
We all know when we want something but without intention, the goal, resolution, boundary, etc. serves no purpose. The intent is the fuel that makes you serious about what you want to do. It doesn’t matter if it sounds stupid to other people as long as your reasoning comes from a place that is meaningful to you.
3. Structure what you want in “No longer”
Words have power and when you say “no longer” you are giving yourself the power to say no to what no longer serves you. The thing about know it’s such a small word, but a powerful one. That is why when you tell people no a lot of times they get offended but it’s a necessary word to protect yourself.
My Personal examples
I want to share my non-negotiables for the new year even though there are some aspects I am keeping private from online (like my goals), I feel like having examples of what non-negotiables are can be extremely helpful.
No longer will I confuse what I am to what I am feeling
I chose this one because I have a habit of confusing who I am with what I am feeling. I would say “I am terrible” instead of “I feel terrible because XYZ happened” or “ I’m burnt out” instead of “ I am feeling burnt out because ___” or “I’m Broken” instead of “I’m feeling broken up about ___”. This may seem confusing or like it’s not a big deal but one thing I did learn in my stress management course is irrational beliefs. I can probably elaborate more on this in a future post but I believe having a clear distinction to help it. Feelings happen and it’s valid to feel things, but remember feelings also change rapidly and can be influenced. Emotions you have no control over, but you can control your reactions. Who you are is completely different. You can change too but it’s gradual and you decide who you get to be. When you have negative feelings whether it’s sadness or anger, saying you are those things makes it easier for you to add to negative self-talk. You are not your feelings, you are not your problems and you can decide what forms who you are.
No longer will I help others on their schedule
I love helping people but the downside is when you help people too much they believe they are obligated to your time. I can’t say that this isn’t my fault because I have a bad habit of making myself too available to the point where it’s become an issue. For instance, in one of my classes, we had to do a group project. The 2nd project we had to work on together was a mess and more difficult than the first one. There was a lot of miscommunication in terms of what the product we will be making would be, then there was making up the financials for the project and just so much confusion. I did my parts of the project but there were things that were supposed to be done before we even did our parts for the project. However, it ended up being the last thing we did and because they decide to do it the night before at 1 am, I wasn’t answering. I commute to school and it is not a short one: 15 minutes to walk to the train station, 1 hour 10 mins - 1 hour 30 minutes on the train depending on delays and a 10-minute walk from the train station to my college. I also had a 9 am that day and Wednesdays were the day I have classes back to back which means I have to be at school early enough to eat as much as possible before class started because I didn’t get a break that day. I would’ve started it if I understood the calculations, but they weren’t answering. On the first project, my friend and I did the excel sheet all on our own last time so technically it would be fair that the other two girls worked on that excel sheet on their own. You're probably wondering what this story has to do with this point: the girl to my face was acting friendly, but another girl who was in my other friend's group told me that prior to the class that girl was talking to the professor and being passive-aggressive that my friend and I didn’t help with financials. Besides the fact I hate when people act fake and two-faced, the fact she decided that we should work on the financials after the confusion she caused in the first place is really entitled. I have a strict schedule so I can function with the drastic changes and if she hadn’t said something so last minute that threw everyone beforehand, we could’ve worked on the financials but instead, we were waiting to hear back from the professor about product confusion. Time is too valuable and if people want your help, they should work with your schedule instead of feeling entitled to have your time over an issue they created.
No longer will I feel a need to please everyone and cater to their feelings
You know the saying that it takes two in any relationship. That saying goes familial, romantic, and friendships. For example, at least 95% of the time, I am the initiator and the planner with my friendships. That means I usually am the one who texts first and if I don’t, I don’t hear from them. Also if I want to see them I am the one who makes the plans. Being the initiator and planner is a lot of time the most overwhelming thing because besides researching different places to go and different activities to try, you need to make sure to find a date people are available, choose a place that’s easy for everyone to get to, and for all your efforts, you aren’t even appreciated and if someone feels left out, somehow you get the blamed. The irony is the people who get upset or turn things down are usually people who don’t even take the incitive or effort to be the planner for once. For people who don’t typically make the plans, the responsibility is so heavy. I love planning because I love the details and discovering because I adore things that are aesthetic and fun however I don’t appreciate how difficult things are made especially if no one makes the effort to be the planner for the change. There’s already enough expected of me from my self and I don’t need the added pressure to make sure everyone is happy when 80% of the time I barely feel okay.
No longer will I take time away from my self-care, hobbies, health, and things that bring me joy
Going back to the small conversation at the beginning of this post, I am not myself when I take away time for the things I love doing. For the 2nd half of 2021, it’s been all work and no play. While that shows my dedication to my career and future, it made me less human. To have “play” is just as important because our brains need that small thing to fill us with passion and motivation. It prevents us from feeling burnt out which makes us become better workers in the long run. When I was working the 3 jobs, it was all work and there was no distinction between where work stopped and life began because we were still at home. I felt like over time even though I was creating, I don’t believe half the things I submitted were my best work. I know my capabilities and if I gave myself the care I needed to be productive, I believe I would’ve come up with more clever forms of copy. So I took it as a lesson, for you to be able to show up for others, you must show up for yourself.
No longer will I rely on other’s validation to feel sure of myself
Compliments when they do happen to me in person, make me feel so uncomfortable that I don’t know how to respond but internally I had a craving for them. I like being told that my writing is good or it helps them, that I am intelligent, that I am funny, that I am beautiful, and just overall that people love being around me. It’s strange because I get so embarrassed and at a loss for words (may even laugh it off out of pure nervousness) because even if I like to hear them, it is hard for me to believe them to be true. However, going back to my second non-negotiable, I tend to be a people pleaser so when I do get compliments on thing such as my writing it really encourages me to keep doing it. While it’s good to have a reason to do something, I feel like the thing driving me shouldn’t be what other people think of me. That just means hearing the bad things will impact me just as much as the good things because I am giving people so much power. Instead, I want to just do things because I trust my abilities, and even if it’s not as good as I want it to be, I trust that I will keep looking for ways to improve myself because I know who I am.
Start the new year strong
I hope you enjoyed reading my examples of non-negotiables for the new year. I think having a reason behind each one made them more intentional. Non-negotiables are mainly talked about in terms of daily routine but I figured that making non-negotiables off the bat can help you thrive. Boundaries are so important and if you don’t set them, accomplishing your goals will be a lot more difficult.
So cheers to the new year and remember that the little thing you try is enough to create something bigger. Take it slow and Happy New Year!
Thank you for reading and if you have anything you want to see more of, be sure to comment suggestions or email me. Remember to subscribe to my Youtube channel, and follow my Instagram and Twitter to connect and stay up to date. I am excited about my next blog post so make sure you come back. Until then, there’s a lot more content on my youtube channel. I hope you have a good day, evening or night.
Until next time,
xoxo Lay 💋