Your body is your vehicle for this life. You will only go as far as it takes you. Just like your car requires basic maintenance, your body is a machine that has certain requirements in order to function. Unlike your car, however, your body is highly complex and has contingency systems built in that allow you to go for some time, for example, without proper fuel (nutrition). These contingency systems fool you into thinking you can disregard your body’s requirements forever. You cannot.
For optimal, sustainable functioning–for you to be and do all you want to be and do in this life–your body’s basic needs must be met. It has 5 Non-Negotiables: nutrition, sleep, activity, stress management, and mindset. If you think you can justify compromising them, you’re fooling yourself. If you think you are beating them, you’re losing. That’s why they are NON-NEGOTIABLE.
The good news is, no matter where you stand with these 5 Non-Negotiables right now, as soon as you move in the direction of improvement, your body responds positively. Don’t you wish your car could do that?!
The 5 Non-Negotiables to Be and Do Your Best
Non-Negotiable #1: Nutrition
Your body has minimum fuel requirements. Putting nutritionally void foods in your body is like putting sand in your car’s tank. Don’t expect to go far. Your body must have:
- A variety of vegetables – all colors of the rainbow
- Fruits, especially whole fruits
- Grains, at least half of which are whole grains
- Fat-free or low-fat dairy, or no dairy
- A variety of proteins
- Healthy Oils
- Limited or no Saturated fats, trans fats, added sugars, and sodium
You do not need to become a nutritional expert, nor do you need to forgo food you enjoy. Deprivation doesn’t work. Life–and food–are meant to be enjoyed. A little bit of anything won’t hurt you. Just do your best in the micro-choices to move your life in the direction of better nutrition.
Non-Negotiable #2: Sleep
Sleep is a vital indicator of overall well-being. Like water and oxygen, it is necessary for your survival. During sleep, the nervous system performs critical functions. Sleep is when growth hormones are released to provide proteins for cell growth and repair (hence the term “Beauty sleep”). Memories and learning are encoded into the brain during sleep. It is crucial for brain development in infants, and brain plasticity in adults. It directly affects hormone balance and weight management.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults aged 26-64 need 7 – 9 hours of sleep consistently, more during times of illness or stress.
Move in the direction of more sleep by making a plan you can commit to for 30 days. Here are some changes you may consider:
- Eliminate sources of noise and light.
- Remove your clock. Use your cell phone’s alarm.
- Remove your television. Watch t.v. in another room so that moving to the bedroom signals your brain that it’s bedtime.
- Sequentially turn off lights as the evening progresses, until you are left with only a bedside lamp.
- Read from a book rather than a device or, at least, turn your device to a dark setting.
- Make your home quiet as bedtime nears.
- As you implement habits that support better sleep, wean yourself from sleep aids. They actually inhibit your brain’s natural sleep cycle.
- No caffeine after 3 p.m.
- No exercise 1 hour prior to bedtime.
- Keep a notepad by the bed to download thoughts and worries.
Non-Negotiable #3: Moving the Body
The body is designed to move. Some essential functions require the movement of muscles. Moving the body is a non-negotiable because without it, you compromise:
- Lymph function (immune support)
- Gene expression
- Brain function (memory, cognitive ability, mood, stress-coping)
- Lower risk of developing neurodegenerative disorders
- Optimum sexual function
- Clearer skin
- Improved sleep
- Strong muscles, joints and bones
Let’s just make this simple, sustainable and, even, fun. It doesn’t have to be a big deal. Just move more. Make your body happy. Think about something you used to do for fun—dancing, skating, summersaults in the yard—and do that. Don’t time it. Don’t log it. Don’t count calories. Download “50 Fun Ways to Get More Active TODAY” from www.TrueYouAdvantage.com.
Non-Negotiable #4: Stress Management
Stress can serve us positively. It motivates us. It heightens awareness. It pushes us towards peak performance. Stress can increase our creativity. It compels us to reach higher. It tells us when there is something we need to change in our lives. For all of these things, we can actually be grateful for stress.
Unmanaged, stress will kill us. Stress management is a non-negotiable for two reasons:
- Stress involves a biological process that you can’t override, is addictive, and damages your health.
- Your ego thinks stress is a good thing and, unchecked, will allow the parasite (stress) to destroy the host (you). Warning: your clever ego may trick you into skipping this section, especially if you need it most.
Stress will always be there. To move in the direction of less stress, equip yourself with tools and support you can use to manage stress, like: deep-breathing practices, essential oils, EFT, meditation, supplements, organizational skills, and more.
Non-Negotiable #5: Positive Mindset
Mindset is a non-negotiable because YOU ALREADY HAVE ONE. Your thoughts and beliefs are wired into your brain, forming neural networks through which every input is processed. This creates your experience (positive or negative), expectations, abilities and limitations.
Henry Ford said, “Whether you think that you can, or that you can’t, you are right.”
Your experience, your success–your health, wealth and happiness—are determined by your thoughts (See Upward Spiral). Moving your life in the direction of your dreams requires scrupulous management of your thoughts. This involves feeding the brain positive messages 24/7/365; using tools like Intention, Visualization and Guided Imagery; and, learning from others who have developed a positive mindset. Get books. Get help. The very nature of Mindset means you can’t know what you don’t know.