301: The Habit of Negotiating
I have worked with a lot of women over the years who had the very best intentions to show up for themselves, but when it came time for the actual showing up part? Well…
Breaking promises you make to yourself can become a habit.
The good news? Habits can be changed.
If you are currently in the habit of negotiating your way out of the work you have called yourself to do, this podcast episode is for you.
Are you ready?
Welcome to Grace & Grit.
The Grace & Grit podcast is your go-to resource for reclaiming, generating, protecting and expressing your power as a woman in midlife.
This show will completely change the way you think about health & well-being and help you make your second act the best one yet!
- 321: Building “Atomic Habits” w/ Claire Schulz Bergman
- 320: The Power of Letting Go
- 319: From Digital Distraction to Digital Wellness: Insights and Strategies for Better Tech Use w/ Dr Kristy Goodwin
- 318: The Hiding Habit: Understanding and Conquering the Urge to Avoid Action
- 317: The Midlife-Anxiety Connection
Transcripts are auto-generated.
Welcome to the Grace and Grit Podcast made for women who want their healthiest years to be ahead of them, not behind them. Join your host Courtney Townley right now. As she breaks down the fairy tale health story, you have been chasing all of your life, indispensable action steps and lasting change.
Hello, my friends, and welcome to the Grace & Grit Podcast. I’m your host, Courtney Townley. And as always, I’m immensely grateful that you’re here tuning in today. Now, before we get started on today’s topic, which I’m really excited about, because I think it’s such an important topic, I want to give you two reminders, which I realize I have given you these reminders the past couple of episodes, but I really don’t want you to miss out on these opportunities.
So the first reminder is that on October 24, which this Podcast episode is dropping on October 22. So this is just a couple days away, I’m running a five-day course called The Consistency Code Crash Course. It is $29. And it is five days of training with me on helping you to establish a really firm foundation for behavior change.
So it is going to help you reframe how you think about and how you go about behavior change. And the reason I love teaching this course, and I’ve taught it so many times over the years, is because we have a lot of really interesting and destructive ways of going about behavior change.
So this is my attempt at helping you to simplify the process, and not give you a list of rules and regulations, but really give you a framework of skill sets that you will be able to return to time and time again, to reroute yourself if necessary. Because let’s face it, we all lose our way on occasion, and to help you make progress in the direction that you really want to go with your health and with your life.
So if you want to register if you want to participate, all you have to do is head on over to graceandgrit.com/crashcourse. And you will get all the information about how the course runs and how you can participate.
The second thing I want to remind you about is last week, we dropped our 300th episode of this show. And to celebrate that, I decided to do a drawing for three, three-month memberships into my Rumble & Rise community. Rumble & Rise is my heart it is the culmination of all the work I’ve done over the past 25 years. And it is really a space to help women develop self-leadership skills in the health arena. And in their life in general.
It is such a special community, you get coaching calls with me, you have the opportunity to connect with other women who are doing similar work, you get access to a tremendous amount of resources for education, inspiration, all the things. And I just decided to give away a few slots of this it as a thank you for being a Podcast listener.
So if you’d like a chance to be entered into that drawing, which will be on November 1, all you have to do is go to your Podcast player where you listen to this show, you’re listening to it right now, and rate and review the show. Hopefully you give it five stars, hopefully you have some nice words to say. If not, don’t bother. But if you would, if you do that, and then you copy your review, and go to graceandgrit.com/review, and leave the copy of the review and also leave your name so we know that you actually left the review will enter you into the drawing.
Now if you can’t leave a review on your Podcast player, which happens, I know that I think Spotify doesn’t allow you to leave reviews, you can still go to graceandgrit.com/review and just leave us a review. And we will still enter you into the drawing just let us know that your Podcast platform does not allow you to leave a written review.
Okay, let’s move on to today’s topic. So today I want to address again, this is part of our kind of pregame series for The Consistency Code Crash Course. And one of the topics that I have been thinking a lot about because this comes up a lot in my coaching conversations is the habit of negotiating. And what that means is that, you know a we have a way of making commitments, making promises, telling ourselves we’ll do something and then we talk our way out of it. Everything else is more important.
And it’s not just negotiating, it’s rationalizing, it’s compromising. It looks like a lot of different things. But I have worked with an awful lot of women over the years who have had the best of intentions to show up for themselves. But when it comes to the actual showing up part, it’s not very consistent. They’re not showing up.
And so when we really dig into the roots of why, one of the reasons I bump up against a lot is simply that they have made a habit out of negotiating their way out of the work they called themselves to do. It’s really normal. It’s super common. I’ve done it, I’m still doing it. And I’ll share a little bit of that with you today.
But the really good news here is that like any habit, this habit of constantly negotiating your way out of the work can be changed. And I want to give you some really tangible practical steps today to start… let me say, to stop negotiating with yourself all the time.
So why is it a problem? Why is it a problem to break promises we make to ourselves or to constantly be negotiating our way out of the work? Well, the obvious answer is that we stagnate. We don’t move anywhere in our life, we just stay the same. There’s no progress, there’s no growth, of course, there’s no change.
And I believe that when we stagnate, when we are consistently breaking promises that we make to ourselves, when we are consistently not following through on commitments we make to ourselves, it robs us of our self trust.
So we don’t trust ourselves. And man does that have some far reaching implications? Right, because we stop going after things that we say are important to us, we start looking to other people to govern our life, because we don’t trust ourselves to do it, do it ourselves.
And ultimately, we get ourselves into a real pickle, we start experiencing what I always call that integrity, pain. Just feeling like we want something bigger, something better for our life. And yet our actions are completely misaligned with making that happen.
So the cost of having a habit of negotiating with yourself all the time is incredibly steep. And it’s going to cost you some big ticket items, like self trust.
So this came up, this comes up, like I said, it comes up in so many client conversations that I have, but I was recently speaking with a client who was really being hard on herself. And she said to me, Courtney, I just don’t understand what’s wrong with me. You know, I know what to do. I organize myself to actually do the thing. And then day after day, I just don’t show up. What’s wrong with me.
And my response to her, well, nothing is wrong with you. Like, let’s just ditch that, let’s put that in the dumpster and set it on fire right now. Nothing is wrong with you. What is a little bit challenged right now is that you have developed a pattern of negotiating. That’s it, you have a habit of talking your way out of the work. And there’s lots of reasons for that, which we’re going to get into here in just a second.
But one of the ways this has shown up in my own life recently, is I’ve done many podcasts about the power of starting your day with intention. And a lot of people call that you know, your morning routine, your Power Hour, whatever you want to refer to it as it’s taking some intentional time at the start of the day, to organize yourself, to ground yourself, to get your own head on straight before you go out and try to save the world.
And I in my own life have noticed a significant difference when I make the time for that. And I have conflicting interests with my morning time. Because in the morning, first thing and I get up very early, I’ve always been a super early riser, I get up about 4am. It’s my most creative time. My brain is functioning at full capacity. I have lots of ideas.
And what I have found myself doing is when a big project is coming up like the launch of a program or I’m teaching a new master class, or there’s something in my business that needs me to show up creatively. I start to negotiate my morning time. I don’t organize myself. I don’t think I put forethought into the foods that I’m going to eat for the day. I don’t take a minute to meditate or do any kind of movement, first thing in the morning.
And I’m okay with that on occasion, because the truth is, sometimes you’re just going to have to negotiate because there are competing demands. But what I see in my own life is this pattern, where I will let a competing demand take priority. And then a few weeks or a few months later, I’m still allowing myself to negotiate even though that project or that priority has since passed.
So I have started to fall back into a pattern of negotiating something that I know is so immensely powerful for how I show up in the day, because when I don’t take my morning time, I definitely am way more disorganized. So I end up wasting time in my day, I’m a lot more reactive. I’m so scattered, I tend not to eat well, because I haven’t organized myself around my food for the day. So a lot of things just start to go sideways.
So it’s not just that I’m negotiating something that I said was important to me. There’s a tremendous amount of Fallout, because I have started to rationalize my way out of this thing that makes my day so much better. So the awareness, of course, is always the solution, because it gives me the opportunity to pivot back.
So that’s really what I want to talk about today, I want to talk about how do we break the habit of negotiating with ourselves, when we start to recognize that that’s what we’re doing. And hopefully, you will practice this enough that you’ll recognize that you’re negotiating sooner and sooner. Because some people can let months years decades go by before they catch themselves.
But what I have found is that when you’re really living in integrity with yourself, you start to build a very low tolerance, for living out of integrity with yourself. So you get really uncomfortable really fast, when you start consistently negotiating your way out of things that you know are helping you to show up as your best.
So here’s a couple things that if you’re right, right now, if you’re someone who knows that you keep making promises, you keep putting things on your schedule for yourself, and you’re consistently not showing up, here’s some things that I want you to consider. I think they will be helpful to you.
Number one, always is check your resources. What does that mean? Well, we all only get so much time, energy and mental bandwidth every day, right? These are renewable resources, but they are limited resources. And if we are neglecting our own self care, we’re not getting enough sleep, we’re not feeding ourselves, we’re not taking time out from work, we end up getting incredibly reactive, because our chemistry is wildly disrupted.
So if we are low on resources, that alone can be the reason why you’re consistently negotiating. Because you just don’t have it, you don’t have any energy, you don’t have any focus, you don’t really have any desire or willpower to do the things that you said you would do. Because you’re too damn tired. You’re too hungry.
And to me, that’s when you recognize that it’s a moment to really take radical responsibility. Maybe I need to set some more boundaries around work. Maybe I need to make an effort to get myself to bed earlier. So I can renew these resources that I absolutely need in order to follow through with these other commitments. So check your resources.
The second thing I would recommend is revisit your reasons for change. Revisit the reasons you made commitments or promises to yourself. Because a lot of times we will spend a weekend or an afternoon or an evening reading something or doing some reflection and getting really inspired and fired up and motivated. About some kind of change we want to make. Maybe it’s just listening to a Podcast. You listen to a Podcast you get off the you know, you take your headphones off and you feel fired up for the rest of the day.
But then the next day, you’re just not feeling it. I’m not feeling it the same way. Because out of sight out of mind, you’ve all heard me say probably many times if you’ve listened to the show more than once, that motivation is something we work for, it’s not something we wait for.
And so revisiting the very reason why I put something on my schedule each day, not just once in a while, but each and every day is a really powerful way to keep momentum going.
And I have, I have a day planner that I give all of my students, and at the very top of this planner each day, the very first question is, why am I even taking time to fill out this planner for the day? Because you could spend 30 minutes filling out your day, lots of people do this, right? They color code it they make it look beautiful, they feel so accomplished, because they have this blueprint in front of them for how they want to live their day. But if they don’t have compelling reasons for showing up to do those things, what the hell’s the point, they’re not going to show up?
So revisit your reasons for change. Are your reasons compelling enough? What do I mean by that? Well, a lot of times, we’re letting the shoulds and the supposed to’s govern what goes on our calendar: I should work out today, I’m supposed to eat healthy, I should go to bed at a reasonable time, I should make that phone call, right. And shoulding never feels good. It always feels like someone else’s expectations. And it really encourages our inner toddler to come out full force and resist doing the very thing.
So shoulding and suppose to’s are not going to be very compelling reasons for change. Why do you want to? How is this going to benefit your life in ways outside of you? I know that seems a little counter to what I just said, right? We don’t want to have compelling reasons that other people are dictating to us.
But I also find for a lot of my clients, we create what’s called a priority filter. And a priority filter is really considering the top three to five most important things in your life right now. And I’ll tell you, you know, this is different for everybody. But for a lot of people, it’s maybe their career, or their family, or their health, or some kind of passion or pursuit that they’re engaged with. But usually they can narrow down those categories pretty quickly.
So consider what your top three to five most important things are in your life right now. And then consider how this commitment or promise that you’ve made to yourself, is going to help enhance those areas.
So for going back to my morning routine commitment. My compelling reason is that I know when I take that time, I waste less time. So I actually have more time for my family. I have more time for the things outside of work that I really love to put time and attention on. I feel more creative and productive in my work, which I care immensely about.
So what are the ways in which your promise or commitment is going to extend beyond you? How is it going to enable you to show up really powerfully in these places and spaces.
One of the things we do inside of Rumble & Rise every year is we set an impossible goal. We consider something for the year that we really want to go after. And we are we are committing to going after 100%. But it’s an impossible goal because we don’t really know if we’re going to reach it. And that’s not the point. The point is not accomplishing the goal. The point is who we become along the way to pursuing something so big.
And what I love about this through the lens of health is that I encourage women to set their impossible goal for some women, it’s building a business. For some women, it’s running a marathon. For some women, it might be you finding a relationship or mending a relationship. And what we do in terms of the health conversation is we use that bigger goal as a filter for why they need to take excellent care of themselves each day. Because if they don’t, they’re not going to have any resilience, they’re not going to persevere, they’re going to be riddled with self doubt, because they have no self trust.
So health becomes the base level, the foundation of being able to reach these impossible goals. So I don’t know if that helps you at all. But that that’s kind of a different framework of thinking about your compelling reasons.
I also like to encourage my clients to think about how is this going to benefit you, not in six months or a year, but how is keeping the promise to yourself going to benefit you in the next 24 hours.
So let’s just say that your commitment is drinking more water, how is drinking more water going to benefit you today? Because the brain loves immediate gratification. So if you can remind it, that you know, by drinking water, today, I’m probably going to have more energy, I’m going to have more focus, my joints are probably going to feel a little better, my skin is going to feel a little more clear, I’m probably gonna go to the bathroom a little more easily. I mean, there are a lot of benefits. And you don’t want to lie to yourself, like really acknowledge what is the what is the benefit that you experience. And that might help to create some motivation around sticking to your commitments.
I always say that clarity of what we want and why we’re going after it is the mother of self discipline. If we don’t know why we’ve put something on our schedule, or it just feels kind of like we’re kind of interested in it, but not really, you’re not going to apply self discipline. Because self discipline requires effort. And remember, the brain loves the path of least resistance, it doesn’t like a lot of effort.
So reminding it, getting really clear on why you’re willing to lean into effort is super important. And that’s why I love the priority filter. I love considering how this will benefit you in the next 24 hours.
The other thing that I want to suggest to you as a powerful tool for ending the habit of always negotiating is acknowledge that there will always be conflicting interests. So again, going back to my morning routine conflict, I’m super creative in the morning. And I it’s a really great time for me to do work. And I really have seen immense benefit in my life by taking 30 minutes to 45 minutes to take care of myself before I get to work.
So how do I reconcile those two things? Well, to me, that’s where a lot of self coaching comes in. It’s like both of these things are really important to me. But which one might benefit both right? Or which one feels like it just might be slightly more of a priority. And for me, it’s a no brainer. When I take the time to take care of myself first. My creativity is even better. I still have energy, it’s still first thing in the morning, it’s just 45 minutes later. And because I have done my own work of organizing and drinking some water and taking care of myself, I show up in a way that fosters even more creativity. So there will be competing interests for sure.
The other thing to consider is how can I make it easier? If I am consistently negotiating this thing that I keep saying is important to me? Maybe I’m just making it too big. Maybe I’m going about it in a way that is just feeling too monumental, too epic.
So how can I make this easier? Can I do less? And I’m just going to tell you right now, yes, you can. You may not be giving yourself permission to do less. But you absolutely can.
We love all or nothing thinking a lot of us fall into it. I either have to do the whole hour of my yoga video or I can’t do anything at all. Not true. You could literally get up and do five minutes of yoga, and not even have to turn your yoga video on something is better than nothing. So maybe you need to break down the dosage of what you’re expecting yourself to do to make it a more easy entry.
And the other thing I want to acknowledge here and just remind you of is I did an Instagram post about this a few weeks ago. But we like to use this term self sabotage. You know, gosh, Courtney, I make these plans on my calendar. And then I sabotage myself, which is basically you don’t show up.
But if you actually look up the definition of sabotage, it’s that you’re intentionally creating harm, or disrupting yourself to like with ill intent. I don’t think that’s true. I’ve never worked with a woman who is intentionally trying to injure herself by not showing up.
What is true is going back to what I initially talked about, when we’re low on resources, we are looking for ways to self soothe. Right, your body and your brain are looking for ways to decompress, because remember, the nervous system needs to oscillate. It goes into periods of high intensity, but then it needs periods of low intensity. And if you’re never giving it low intensity, it is going to somehow create that for you. So it’s not really self sabotage, it’s more probably a need to create some time to decompress.
So if you’re not showing up, I just want to offer that it’s probably not self sabotage, it’s more that you’re just expecting too much. You’re not giving yourself enough downtime, and all of that can be remedied.
Also, Breaking the Habit of negotiating works really well when you induce more fun. So make it easy, make it fun. And for me, to keep things fun, I have to change things up.
So my morning time does not always look the same. Because sometimes it feels really dry. And like it’s, I’m just not connecting with it if I’m always in this rote routine, the same routine all the time. So I look for ways to infuse some fun and newness to it. So that might be changing the routine itself, it might be changing specifics within the routine.
So if I’m doing a guided meditation, I might change it to something else I haven’t listened to, I might pull out a different kind of book, because I read a lot in my morning time just you know, five or 10 minutes to sort of light me up. And if I’m reading a book that’s not lighting me up, I’m gonna change it. I might listen to music instead of doing something else in my morning routine.
But how can you change the way you’re doing things to infuse more fun and more interest? I mentioned this earlier, but I’m going to reiterate it here watch your language. If you are in a habit of constantly negotiating your way out of the work, I guarantee you are using words like I’m supposed to I should I have to. And none of that is useful to you. It’s just going to create a lot of resistance and a lot more negotiating.
So one of the ways that I encourage people to work through that their language, when they’re saying, you know, gosh, Courtney, I just don’t feel motivated. I just don’t really want to do it. Or I feel like I should do it. But but I obviously don’t want to because I’m not showing up. My response is always, why not give yourself full permission to not do this thing that you put on your calendar.
So I want you right now to think about something you recently put on your calendar that you’ve been putting on there repeatedly. And you have repeatedly not been showing up. What is that thing? And Now ask yourself the question, why not give myself full permission to remove that thing from my calendar?
And one of two things is going to happen. Either number one, it’s going to feel like a relief and like yeah, why don’t I just give myself permission? Right? It’s not that important to me. What else could I use that time for? There is that? But here’s what happens more often.
When I asked that question to a client, let’s just take it off your calendar. Let’s just not commit to it at all. All of a sudden they start arguing for why it’s so important to them. I’m not going to take my workouts off my calendar, Courtney, because you know I’m in menopause and I want to age well and I already have joint issues and I know I feel better and I do better in my life.
It’s so interesting here they were just a few minutes arguing for all the reasons why this was a problem. Blum and all the reasons why they should negotiate their way out of it and are negotiating their way out of it. But that one question inspires them to start arguing for it. So if you start arguing for it, by giving yourself permission to remove it, to me, that is a signal that it’s really important to you. And your argument will show you that.
And let’s see, what else do I want to tell you here, obviously, to not to stop negotiating, we have to often either establish or re establish boundaries. So boundaries with work boundaries with other people, boundaries with ourselves, I mean, boundaries are usually needed in a lot of spaces and places.
But I do find a consistent challenge that my clients are coming up against is that they’re giving all of their time away to other people’s priorities. And that might feel good again, for a day a week, a short period of time. But it is a consistent way of living. It causes a lot of integrity, pain, because who takes the hit for that you do. Right, you’re not taking care of yourself, you’re not doing what needs to be done. To help yourself live in the way that’s important to you.
So setting boundaries with others setting boundaries with spaces and places that are distracting you or taking too much of your time. setting boundaries with yourself around social media around, it could look like anything. Right? But definitely constraint I know, we hate the concept of it, constraining ourselves from doing everything all the time.
But if we don’t have constraints, if we don’t have a practice of constraint, on some level, we run out of resources incredibly quickly. And we’re just living our life with an empty cup. And that doesn’t benefit anybody.
The last thing I want to mention here, because I think this is a really powerful reminder, and I really do believe it to be true is considering what your non negotiables might be. Even that thing right now that you are consistently negotiating your way out of how might you make that a non negotiable.
I was having this conversation with a client recently about exercise. She keeps putting it on her calendar for the morning. But she keeps negotiating her way out of it. And I was asking her the question like how do we make this a non negotiable? It’s something I know that’s really important to her. She has argued for it a lot in the past. And we went through a lot of the exercises here that I’ve mentioned to you today. But one of the things that we finished with was sometimes it is easier to be 100% committed than 98% committed.
I mean, think about that, when you give yourself just that 2% of possibility to go into debt to negotiate with yourself. That 2% starts turning into 10%, and then 20%, and then 50%. And then all of a sudden you’re negotiating all the time.
So what would change for you, if you simply made this thing a non negotiable, I do this thing every day without fail. I know why I’m doing it. I know how it’s enhancing the other areas of my life. Because it’ll never be a non negotiable if you don’t get clear on those things.
But think about the non negotiables you have right now some of you take a shower every morning. Some of you brush your teeth every day. It’s walk your dog feed your dog, I always use the dog, right? Because we do see we tend to take such good care of our pets. We drive our kids to school, we wake up at a certain time to put breakfast on the table or whatever the thing is. What are your non negotiables right now you have them why? Why are those non negotiables but this thing that you think about and you intentionally schedule every single day?Why is that so negotiable.
All right, in final in a summary here, in wrapping this up, I just want to say and remind you that nothing is wrong with you. We all make a habit of negotiating in certain spaces and places of our life. So hopefully you will actually take some of these tools, one of them even and apply it to your space of negotiating right now. And experiment, see if it helps. If it doesn’t try on another one, you might need a few of them.
I always say we need tool bags more than tools. Like we want to collect a tool bag full of different tools, because the same tool doesn’t work for every job. So hopefully your tool bag is a little bit fuller after today’s episode.
And I hope you will participate in The Consistency Code or in this drawing that we’re doing for three free memberships to Rumble & Rise for three months, all you have to do is leave a review. And let us know that you left a review, we created a form that makes it really easy to do that. Just go to graceandgrit.com/review.
And if you want to join me for Consistency Code, which of course is just taking the things that we talked about, like what we talked about today, we will absolutely be addressing that on a deeper level in The Consistency Code Crash Course. So you can find out all the details of that by going to graceandgrit.com/crashcourse. We start in two days. So if you’re listening to this episode on the day it drops. October 24 of 2022 is when The Consistency Code crash course begins. So I hope I’ll see you there.
Have a wonderful rest of your week and I’ll see you next week. Take care.
Thank you for listening to the Grace and Grit Podcast. It is time to mend the fabric of the female health story. And it starts with you taking radical responsibility for your own self-care You are worth the effort and with a little grace and grit anything is possible
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