Stop Hoping, Start Committing: How To Ensure Your Personal Priorities Don’t Take A Backseat To Work

By Randy H. Nelson

The very best leaders amongst us are those who are self-aware, as they understand that a lack of self-awareness can be the fatal flaw in their career. By either overcoming or compensating for their weaknesses, leaders go a long way toward setting themselves up for success in their business life.

But what is the potential fatal flaw that leaders should avoid in their personal life?

Setting passive goals and making passive statements that never get done.

Chances are you have caught yourself saying, “I really need to…” or, “I know I should…” or, “I want to…” Prefacing goals in these ways always translates to the same end result: they will rarely get done.

Do any of these sound familiar?

  • I want to lose weight.
  • I know I should spend more time with my kids.
  • I really need to travel less.

Having worked alongside business leaders over the past 30 years, I can’t tell you the amount of times I have observed a person deal with the same problems, year after year.

So if self-awareness is not enough to fix the problem, what can?

Setting non-negotiables

Your non-negotiables are not open for discussion. They are the commitments to which you are simply unwilling to compromise.

Consider the revised statements below to the flimsy hopes from above. These include non-negotiable statements that add commitment to your previous “goals.”

  • I will go to the gym at 6:00am three days per week and I will schedule it on my calendar.
  • I have scheduled time with my kids every week, on the calendar, and will be home by 5:00pm three nights every week to have dinner with my family.
  • I will travel a maximum of 10 nights per month.

If you truly desire to make changes in your personal life, make your decisions non-negotiable. Get specific and intentional with your goals, such as scheduling them on your calendar. Stop hoping, start committing.

The Third Decision, the next book to be published in my Decision Series for Entrepreneurs®, is focused around the top regrets each of us have in our personal lives. In the book, I challenge driven and ambitious entrepreneurs and leaders everywhere to raise their self-awareness, and to set non-negotiables in their personal lives, so that they can avoid some of the regrets we often set ourselves up for. The book will be released in early 2018 and you can follow progress at randyhnelson.com.


Randy H. Nelson is a serial entrepreneur, speaker, coach, former nuclear submarine officer, and author of The Second Decision with ForbesBooks. Learn more at randyhnelson.com.

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