“I’m going to get up early and workout”
“I'm eliminating sugar for a week”
“I am picking the kids up from school ON TIME”
“I am asking my boss for a raise”
“I am hitting snooze one more time, then getting up”
“It’s my birthday so birthday cake is the exception”
“The kids can play outside for 15min, they love it”
“My boss seems really stressed, tomorrow is better”
Does any of this sound familiar?
Whew, that means you’re human and this blog is not being read by space aliens (because OMFG aliens).
This cat-and-mouse-play is what I not-so-fondly call, The Negotiation.
But this ain’t no court of law, that is what is happening in my brain hole, and I get exhausted just thinking about this self-sabotaging jibber-jabber.
A Negotiation is when two parties come together to create a mutually beneficial agreement, in an ideal world. But what happens when you’re playing both sides of the argument? It’s like a high school debate team, but less acne (I hope).
I remember hours of tense negotiations occurring in my brain hole before I even WOKE UP. I would start with all the things I promised myself I would get done - my eyes are still closed, and I am tucked away under the covers, to paint the scene for you.
I start to squeeze my eyes tighter shut as the gremlins start to tell me how I’ll never get it all done, how I should have gotten up already and worked out, how I needed to call those scary people yesterday, how I better finish my monthly books, and and and …
... and soon I get to the point where I debate whether or not it’s even worth getting out of bed since I’ve already lost at least 4 negotiations by this time.
The losing battle in my head exhausted me so much, that by the time I did wake up, I am done. Defeated. Deflated. And so I gave myself permission to go for the bare minimum. I already lost the day, and it hadn’t even begun.
The Negotiation, like most of our outdated patterns that hold us back, is unconscious. It's a shitty habit we use to protect ourselves, keep us safe, and keep us small. Because that's way less scary than GOING FOR IT.
What is Self Bargaining or Self Negotiation?
If you ever told yourself you were going to do something, but then you also told your self it’s ok if you don’t, then you know what I am talking about.
If you have never experienced this, then you’re a super human amazing person and you should go hang out with Michelle Obama (and you don’t need to keep reading, you're welcome).
Back to reality. We probably picked up self-negotiating a long time ago. For most of us, change is hard. For all of us, change is stressful. Our brains interpret change and The Unknown as stress and we have a physical response.
Our brain is always and only trying to keep us alive. Change is a threat. And again, unless you're Michelle's friend, you have attempted change, failed, and felt like a loser. It is totally normal to try something and have it fail - we mess it up, we suck at it, or we simply don’t enjoy it.
No, I am not going to talk about learning to ride a bike - pretty much everything we’ve ever done started out uncomfortable AF, but when we wanted it bad enough, we kept at it until we not only got good at it and enjoyed it, it became second nature.
That’s the problem with bargaining with your self, it’s likely become second nature. You may not even be conscious you’re doing it, or if you’re anything like me (I’m sorry, and ... ), you’re trying to be an evolved spiritual being and we like to tell ourselves that force or stress is bad vibes and to chill out mmmaaannnnnnn.
That’s weak negotiation, but it is a tactic. Here are the most popular styles, and once you're aware of how to negotiate, you can easily combat each style for THE WIN.
The 5 Styles of Negotiation
According to overriding opinion on The Internet (makes it fact), there are 5 Styles of Negotiation.
A results-driven and aggressive focus on obtaining the best, singular outcome. This is really where someone wins, and someone loses. Works for some situations, but allows for some pretty destructive results.
Open, and honest approach to creating a mutual understanding between both parties in an attempt to create a win-win outcome.
This is where you create a win-win-win. Using creativity, everyone works together to build the desired outcome.
When satisfying both parties is good enough, and allowances are made in order to conclude the agreement
What I so deftly applied in my spiritually evolved, but losing negotiation would be called compromise, and compromise is never a powerful approach (although collaboration is a fabulous tactic). With compromise, you basically let go of your most compelling reasons and just settle for something ... less.
This is where one or both parties fearfully ignore the need to come together, often resulting in disappointment or increased conflict.
Generally, the outcome is realized quickly, but it sucks and will almost always have to be revisited, but the next time around is emotionally charged.
Here, the negotiator spends a lot of time building familiarity and camaraderie, and they rely on all 5 senses along with emotion to win. This can be a really enjoyable experience, but unless collaboration is included, this style takes a lot fo time and energy and can result in compromising.
Can you identify with one of those styles, or all of them? I know I have employed each of these styles when it comes to trying to shift a habit or start something new.
I tend to be competitive when it comes to the hard stuff, “You better work out first thing or you’ll DIE,” or like my aforementioned spiritually evolved tactic, I might say, ”Working out helps you sleep, so don’t push yourself too hard, if you need to sleep now, that’s OK too.”
Each of these styles can be easily challenged, not only to ensure you win the negotiation, but so you’re prepared before it even begins.
The Stages Of Negotiation
Preparing and Planning - SHOCKINGLY important when negotiating with yourself. This stage is how you win the game. Every damn time. If you know your style (especially in different situations), you can easily prepare.
Definition and Ground Rules - This component helps you set the stage, and ensure you are setting yourself up for success. This includes where and when this battle will take place, along with anything off limits (ex. hitting snooze, put your alarm on the other side of the room so you can not hit snooze).
Clarification and Justification - Here, we get down to brass tacks. Sure, you want to work out, but for how long? Cardio, weights or both? Gym or at home? Etc. Know what you want before you go into the negotiation.
Bargaining and Problem Solving - If you’re clear on the stages leading up to this, you’ll breeze through the bargaining (or bypass it all together). I am going to share some simple yet incredibly effective strategies for this stage in the next section of this blog.
Closure and Implementation - Finally, the entire negotiation winds down, and the agreed upon conclusion is implemented. Hot tip: be clear on what implementation looks like, and this clarity starts in the Preparing and Planning stage.
The Problem With Self-Bargaining
When we “if / then” ourselves, we set-up a dangerous precedent even Law & Order SVU wouldn’t repeat.
“If I hit snooze one more time, then I’ll wake up and work out,” is one of my favorites, hence the repetition of this example (and the eventual “Snooze Or Cruise” attitude I preach).
I got sick of losing the negotiation. Well, really, I got sick of letting myself down - it’s not a great feeling.
This feeling, of secretly knowing you’re not going to do whatever, is likely one of the biggest things holding you back from … EVERYTHING.
Sound hyperbolic, it’s not.
Tackling this habit, learning how to win the negotiation with your self or eliminating self bargaining all together is an incredible, life-changing success strategy.
Here are 2 strategies from some of my favorite sources of strategy inspiration (give credit where credit is due right?!), and I’ve also thrown in my hybrid-strategy, because it worked magic for me.
All 3 strategies are incredibly effective, try one or all on for size.
Mel Robbins is a spunky, inspirational, powerhouse, and she learned the hard way how to get her ass out of bed and get It done.
After watching a newsreel of a spaceship taking off, she realized the key to unlocking her potential was a simple. It's a 5 second countdown.
There’s no room for negation - in 5 seconds, you skip right to the closure and implementation stage.
The strategy is the most simple one discussed here, and it goes like this …
Countdown from 5, then take action.
This utilizes all 5 styles of negotiation - it avoids negotiating all together, thus it is aggressive and competitive in its conclusion. The compromise is short and sweet. The collaboration has been agreed upon prior to the discussion, and it accommodates, meaning, you need to have prepared yourself in advance and prepped the scene to able to launch in 5 seconds. Simple. Brilliant.
Not only does this strategy work for anyone, it works in any situation you’ve given any thought to in advance.
Want to wake up earlier? Not eat the cookie? Stop what you’re doing and be on time? Tell your boss what you think? 5-4-3-2-1. Action.
The 5 Second Rule may not be your go to if you hadn’t, say ... gotten your work-out clothes ready, put gas in the car, thought out your talking points with your boss, and generally, not anticipated this negotiation.
The Power Of Now (apologies for the soundtrack, but the video is great)
Don’t let the title of this book fool you, it’s full of straight forward and tactical advice on how to conquer the overwhelm, get over yourself, and get on with It, what ever It may be.
Often times we allow past failures or future what-if’s inform our decisions and actions right now.
Just because you didn’t wake up early yesterday (or everyday, forever), doesn’t mean that has to happen today. Just because waking up early and getting to the gym sounds like the worst idea ever, we don’t know that will be the case until we do it.
It sounds simple, and super woo, to “stay present,” “stop suffering,” and “be intentional.” BUT HOW THE FUCK DO YOU ACTUALLY DO THAT. These aren’t even actions, they're whimsical ponderings hippies spew when you ask them to clean up their dishes.
The Power of Now largely focuses on control, and breaks it down into our: desires to be able to predict what will happen, based on what has happened; how relying on old strategies and tactics to create something new can’t work; and why pain is inevitable but suffering is optional. Yeah, the big stuff.
To distill what are ultimately some pretty heavy concepts, Eckhart Tolle presents the argument that fear (future based imaginations) and suffering (past informed experiences) are thoughts and feelings we choose to apply to our current situation.
When we let go of the desire to control everything, essentially our ego’s need to present ourselves in a certain way, we are able to truly embrace the moment.
In THIS moment, the past no longer exists and the future hasn’t happened.
The reason we suffer is we try to apply old, outdated skills to the now, OR we interpret and assume things are a particular way based on our experience.
If we set our selves free ...
If we believe that there are limitless possibilities ...
If we learn to trust the way we feel in this current moment ...
If the only question we try to answer is, "Does this feel good?"
... We make the best choice and take intentional action to create desired results.
And by doing the above, our happiness and satisfaction grow, exponentially.
This is incredibly powerful if you have a habit if worrying, if you feel overwhelmed, or if you’re struggling to take any action at all.
This strategy works very well when you are taken by surprise, or you find yourself in a truly new place where you literally have no idea what to do.
This is not a great strategy for getting your ass out of bed and getting to the gym / be on time / put down the donut.
Snooze or Cruise (™) <- just kidding about the (™) but, I'm seriously considering it!
This is my hybrid strategy, and when I take a big enough step back, it applies to everything.
Wanna hear it, here it goes ...
We can avoid, procrastinate, pretend, or simply sleep through It.
Or we can even push through, tick all the boxes, and get It done - but we’re still snoozing.
If you wake the fuck up, and actually, consciously, purposefully DO, life becomes pretty cruisey.
There is a huge difference between easy and simple.
Easy is going back to sleep and telling yourself you work really hard, you take care of everyone else, and you not only deserve another hour of sleep, you need it. Brilliant negotiation, employing 4/5 styles, and with a successful outcome: Snooze.
Simple is going through the stages of negotiation in advance. You create a stagey that anticipates your best bargaining offers. You prep your work out clothes, maybe even laying them out so you don’t even have to turn the light on and disturb the early morning vibes. You set the coffee maker timer for 10 minutes prior to your alarm, so the fresh brew and delicious smells are ready when you are. AND you put the alarm on the other side of the room so you have to physically get out of bed to turn it off. Cruise.
Put your self negotiation on cruise control. Be aware of what style you use in different scenarios. Go through the various stages - you’ve been through them before, believe me, you’re as played out as my waking up early example.
And here’s why I use that example, it took me a year. A YEAR to win that negotiation. But the most important part of cruise control is knowing your desired destination.
I know how it feels when I snooze. I am sick of the excuses and bargaining. All 5 styles of negotiating got very boring. The 5 Second Rule and The Power of Now are hard to tick my subconscious self into applying, so I made it simple for me.
Snooze or Cruise.
Self negotiating is self sabotage at its best. It’s like self-love wrapped up in deceit and lies, with a pretty bow on it that feels like a win. For 1 hot second.
At its best its a bad habit, and at it’s worst its the one thing holding you back from the life of your dreams.
What if you could just wake up early, smash that gym work out, have that awkward but necessary conversation, and get to everything on time? Or what if you and your day had the space to accommodate anything that came up?
There’s only one way to find out.