There is nothing I’m more obsessed with then inspiring women to learn how to master their negative self-talk, put themselves first and take better care of themselves. I’m an unapologetic nut.

(Actually, I lied: I’m completely obsessed with my grand-babies. And the Allman Brothers.)

Why am I so crazy about this? Because so many women I talk to are suffering from the “run downs” and are angry. They feel so stuck in a cycle of serving others and never having enough time for themselves. They want to change but don’t know how to.

Carol (not her real name), is theeeee nicest neighbor on the planet. She lives above me in my apartment building.  Carol is always exhausted. She has a 5-month-old baby, a full-time job, and a busy husband John, who is trying to make his way in the financial world. We have fun “talkin’ babies” in the elevator and I give her my grandsons’ hand-me-down clothes. Last month she told me (again) how she feels so stuck. “I never learned how to put myself first. I don’t know how to set boundaries at work or with my husband so I can make time for myself. I’m not sleeping well. The doctors at the office need me to be on 100% of the time. And when I get home, John wants to go to the gym. He works so hard and deserves to work out, right?”

I really feel her pain. Her dilemma weighs on me so much that it inspires me to work harder.

I deeply believe that we all have choices. Even the most stuck, tired, run down, feeling -defeated women like Carol, have choices.

But the problem is women feel they don’t have a choice.
They are so hard-wired to take care of everyone else. They feel it is their job to be the sacrificial lamb and put everyone else first.

“Yes but….Laura you don’t understand…I don’t have any time for myself” Carol would say. And her would come a litany of excuses.

No “yes, but’s”. We cannot perform at our peak if we ARE running on empty. Rest is not a reward. Quality family time is not an exception to the rule. Working out and getting 8 hours of sleep at night is not a luxury.

I call these your “non-negotiables”.

In my mental toughness coaching program, I encourage women to leave their “yes buts” behind and study the habits of Olympic athletes. Then we start developing a set of her own “non-negotiables”; daily habits they can practice that will set them up to have a healthy, successful day.

If you are struggling, how would it feel to introduce just one small “non-negotiable’ into your life, that could help you have a quality day? Just one.

Carol is taking now my coaching program and decided that she wants to practice 10 minutes of yoga every night after John comes back from the gym. She has asked him to give their daughter a bath so she can do her yoga.

Yoga. For just 10 minutes, every night*. Not a big deal right?  Oh but it IS.

Carol is now making her 10-minutes of yoga a “non-negotiable” habit.  Slowly we will add a few more non-negotiable self-care habits into her schedule. Her next goal: A yoga class every Saturday.

The result? Carol gained more confidence after telling John she needed some yoga time. She is sleeping better and feels mentally and physically more alert the next day thanks to her mini-drip of yoga.

Over time I have built my own practice of fantastic non-negotiable habits. These trusty routines never let me down. I LOVE THEM. They are a big part of who I am.

I really want the best for you, so have a listen to this video because it might just inspire you to start setting up your own daily practice of non- negotiables

Wishing you a well-rested, stamina-filled, joyful day.

*BTW if you feel that 10 minutes a day of yoga is not sufficient to get decent results, my yoga guru (@yogawithkassandra, 140K followers on IG) says 10 minutes a day is better than doing one hour a week.