How to negotiate with yourself to achieve your goals

We are living uncertain times in a global pandemic and maybe now more than ever, it’s essential to understand where do we stand in terms of personal development, life achievements and new objectives. My guest, Ana-Maria Velica, has 14 years of experience in negotiation and leadership. Also, she was a Lecturer at the University of Sussex, UK, in Personal and Professional Development, and I asked her to share techniques of how to negotiate with yourself to achieve your goals.

Negotiation, by definition, is “a formal discussion between people who are trying to reach an agreement” (Cambridge Dictionary). A process that usually includes at least two parties, but what if we could apply it with ourselves? Would this be possible?

Ana-Maria Velica, an expert in negotiation and leadership with a vast experience in three multinational companies in four different countries across Europe, says, “yes, the most difficult is to negotiate with yourself”.  

How to negotiate with yourself to achieve your goals with expert Ana-Maria Velica.

Tips from a negotiator

Introducing Ana-Maria Velica, first video interview from a new series of “Inspiring People”

Do your homework: get to know yourself

In a negotiation process, you have to do your research and get to know your negotiation party. Same when you have to deal with yourself. The more you understand yourself, the more you will know what you want to achieve. 

  • It’s all about preparation.
  • Set your goals.
  • Why do you aim to achieve those goals?

Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement

BATNA is the acronym that stands for the “Best alternative to a negotiated agreement”, in the situation with yourself. 

What is your best scenario? Ana-Maria is a fitness enthusiast and for her the best alternative is five workouts per week. Versus the worst scenario, which would be no exercises.

What is your least acceptable scenario? She considers three workouts per week being the least acceptable to achieve her fitness goals.

Second round: introducing variables

When the negotiation is not progressing well, be prepared to organise the next stage and introduce variables. In a personal matter, this could mean small things that could help you make a step closer to your goal. If you strive to be healthy, achieving five workouts per week might be challenging. Therefore, you bring variables: better hydration, advice from a nutritionist, advice from a personal trainer, take the stairs instead of using elevator etc.

Behaviours for a Win-Win negotiation

  • Respect yourself; Show respect and commitment to your goals.
  • Don’t forget to schedule time with yourself in your diary.
  • Discipline is the mindset.
  • Working hard is the key.

Turn anxiety into excitement

Approaching a negotiation can cause blood pressure, but keeping calm is essential. Ana-Maria’s example is in regards to her tenancy agreement. “In a global pandemic, the landlord is asking for a rent increase. The tenancy agreement is coming to an end, and you feel anxious. Turn the anxiety into excitement by: 

  • staying courageous and committed to your principles of fairness
  • be objective: money is in your pocket; there are plenty of available properties to rent.”  And her approach was successful.

Other negotiation tactics

  • Keep an open mind and a positive attitude towards your goals.
  • Be clear and transparent with what you try to achieve.
  • Take a time-out. When you feel stuck, take a break, collect yourself, find your inner power and start over.

Taking all the pieces of advice shared by my guest, I feel that every one of us can hope for more from what life has to offer. Achieving our goals can be demanding, and I agree that negotiating with yourself is the most difficult. But before relying on others, first, you have to rely on yourself. So believe in yourself, and stay safe!

You can follow how is Ana-Maria achieving her fitness goals on her Instagram page and her professional goals on LinkedIn .

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