Non-negotiables: move your goals forward & enjoy the holidays, too.

Habits & Sustainability

Posted on November 28, 2022
Posted on November 28, 2022

Well, friends, the holiday season is upon us. And in advance of resolution season, there is always a lot of chatter about how to navigate your nutrition this month. 

In my experience, the opinions tend to fall into two camps:

“Don’t wait for January 1st! Here’s the way to micro-manage your nutrition through the holidays! Don’t waste time, get a jump start on those 2023 goals now!”


“Enjoy your holidays by hitting the pause button on those good habits you’ve been working on, we can get back to it in the new year! We’ll go all-in on January 1st!”

And honestly, both approaches seem pretty extreme, amiright? 

Instead of a pause, maybe we just adjust the dial?

As a nutrition coach, I *definitely* don’t find myself in the first camp, but I also think that if you are working on nutrition habits that really *serve* you, that make you feel good, that keep some gentle intention and flow toward the things you really want out of life, it might not be super self-serving to abandon that all-together, either.

And here’s the good news – you don’t need to choose a camp at all, because happy, sustainable nutrition isn’t about going all in or throwing in the towel. It’s about adjusting the dial. 

What if we looked at our fitness and nutrition commitments as things we could adjust up or down in intensity, depending on where we’re at and the season of life we’re in?

What if, instead of choosing an extreme this holiday season, we commit to the manageable things that keep us gently moving forward **without stealing all the holiday fun**, hold on to those and let the rest…well, rest? 

The value of non-negotiables

Non-negotiables are the daily commitments we make to ourselves that move the needle forward on whatever it is we’re chasing. And those minimums or non-negotiables? They can be as big or as small as necessary for the circumstances we’re in so long as we can look at them honestly and know that they are achievable given what is going on at the moment. 

They could be small versions of the bigger strategies we’re implementing now, or just the most important of the three we currently have going.

In any case, they are there to give us a small bit of structure to continue the momentum we’ve been working on while giving ourselves the little bit of rest and celebration we often crave this time of year. 

How do I set my non-negotiables?

How you set your non-negotiables depends on the strategies you’re currently using and what capacity you have to stay on top of things in the coming period. For example, let’s say you’re tracking macros pretty carefully, but that’s not something we want to be doing while in the midst of giving gifts and playing late-night games around the family table. 

No prob. What if we made your protein goal the non-negotiable (for the vast majority of us, the most important macro to get right) and pre-planned what types of foods/portions would get you there without having to weight/track your way into the new year?

Or, let’s say you’ve been working hard to increase your micronutrient intake with more fruits and veggies. 

Going into the holiday, our goal might be to hit 250g of produce with every meal, but maybe over the next couple of weeks, just being able to point to the fruit or vegetable on your plate at 2 out of 3 meals is enough to keep you feeling good and give you the holiday rest you’re craving? 

Here’s what we want to figure out: If what you’re doing now is something like an 8 out of 10 in terms of effort, what would 4 or 5 out of 10 look like? Would that be enough to keep you feeling good without feeling like a drain this time of year? Is that something you feel good handling right now?

If so, you’ve nailed it. Plan for that and leave the rest behind for now.

You’ll still move forward toward your goals, hold on to the structures that genuinely make you feel *good* AND enjoy everything the season has to offer. 

Our 3-2-1 Flexible Habit System is here for ya!

And hey! If this is a strategy that sounds like it could work for you, we’ve got a free resource (the same one we use with our clients!) to help you set the non-negotiables that are most meaningful for you. You can get our 3-2-1 Flexible Habit System right here. 

Happy holidays, friends! Wishing you all the health, happiness, rest & excitement for all that’s to come in 2023.

Read more

Habits & Sustainability


Nutrition Coaching

ALL you need to know about macros to transform your nutrition

Nutrition Coaching

Nutrition Coach
What a good nutrition coach can do for you