11/02/2016 12:29 GMT | Updated 11/02/2017 05:12 GMT

The List Every Woman Needs to Have (Or Make)

I'm not a fan of the list generally.

Just so you're clear.

Yep they're useful and pretty handy, but they always give me the 'fear' that I'll never have enough time to get everything done.

Or 'the guilt' when I don't manage to tick everything off.

But recently I've decided that I need a list in my life. And that you do too! This list that I'm going to tell you about will change your life.

Yep you heard right. IT'S GOING TO CHANGE YOUR LIFE! (Or at least it certainly has the potential.)

It's a list that is going to help save us all from a lifetime of boredom, guilt and drudgery. It's a list that will make your days happier and brighter.

It's a list that instead of making you feel like a failure, will make you feel like you very own hero.

"What is it?", I hear you cry?

It is this. A list of NON-NEGOTIABLES. Yours. (And for me. Mine.)

Have you ever sat at home wondering why you never have time to do the stuff you love? Why your home is never as homely as you want it to be? Why you have people in your life who treat you poorly? Why you never manage to get stuff done? (Even with all the bloody to do lists.)

Yep me too. And it's very simple.

It's because you haven't made this list. It's because you haven't sat down, had five minutes to yourself and come up with your list of non-negotiables.

The stuff that matters to you. Things that make you happy. What you deserve. Your values. The behaviour you will not accept.

For years, I was a 'one day' person. You know the ones I mean!

One day, I will make time to read that pile of novels gathering dust in my bedroom. One day, I will start to tone up and have the body of my dreams. One day, I will find a way to only surround myself with truly lovely humans.

One day.

One day. After I tackled my mammoth 'to do' list first.

But no longer am I that woman. Hell no! And I changed or at least started to change last year, when I decided that I could no longer live without flowers in my life.

Yes flowers. In vases, jugs and old perfume bottles even, all dotted all around my house.

When I hit 35, I became a flower fanatic.

I started to take more of an interest in the blooming beauties and soon realised that buying a couple of bunches of flowers and arranging them back at home in various jars and vases, made me really happy.

As a self employed woman with a three year old daughter, most of my life is spent within my home's four walls. So I like to make it look pretty. And I like it to look as homely as it can be.

And that's how the flower thing started.

After a while, buying flowers soon became my weekly treat. And - this is the important bit - it became a habit. A habit I was determined to keep.


Since then, I've added a couple more things to my special non-negotiable list. Here's what I've got so far:

  • I will read for at least 15 minutes every day
  • I will always find time (and money) to have my nails painted
  • I will buy fresh flowers every week
  • I will always have avocados to eat
  • I will not listen to women slate other women
  • If an 'opportunity' isn't an immediate 'yes', then it's a no
  • If someone treats me poorly, they will not remain in my life

As you can see, it's quite a crazy, mixed bag of stuff! And it's growing each week.

But this little list of non-negotiables is already changing my life. Truly it is. It's helping me realise that only I can make myself a priority. That my happiness is in my hands. That I deserve better than how I have allowed some people to treat me.

And it's really bloody empowering. As I said earlier, I feel like I've become my own hero.

I had a chat with one of my closest friends on New Year's Day about my new non-negotiable list, when she started to tell me how she loved soaking in the tub, but never had time to do it.

"Ah", I said. "That's because you haven't made it non-negotiable. You haven't made it a 'must' in your life."

And I was right. She hadn't. (Although hopefully has started now!)

A non-negotiable list might sound a little bonkers but it's liberating, empowering and damn right fierce in a world that encourages us women to put up and shut up.

This kind of list helps you to find yourself, forces you to examine what makes your heart sing, makes your realise your own worth and allows you to make small immediate changes that will and can transform your world.

It can be as deep or as shallow as you like. But essentially it's all about YOU.

What are your 'musts'? And your 'must nots'?

Think about 'em. Write 'em down. And make them a priority.

Katie Portman writes Pouting In Heels, an award winning parenting and lifestyle blog. You can sign up to her weekly newsletter here, and follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.