The Power of Saying No


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Do you have a hard time saying no when someone asks you for a favor or sends you an invitation to get together? You’re not alone. I do too.

I totally understand — sometimes you just suck it up and give your precious time away.

Why we say “Yes”

  1. Wanting to help — If you’re a people pleaser, saying no is not in your vocabulary.
  2. Not wanting to come off as rude — Many of us correlate “no” with an insult.
  3. To avoid conflict — It’s common to say yes just to please a friend or coworker.

Sometimes I say yes to things I don’t want to do or have time for even if it makes me unhappy.

What happens when we say yes to everything

  1. People will stop asking and just automatically expect you to say yes.
  2. You will become overworked and overwhelmed.
  3. Valuable time is decreased for more important and fun tasks.
  4. You become resentful

Here’s the thing — there are actually a lot of good reasons to say no, and saying it saying “no” will set you free.

Once I started to really put value in my minutes — things changed and I got to do more of the things I love while still maintaining my friendships and relationships.  But It’s easier said than done right?

How to say “No”

  1. Be plain — Tell the person you can’t and politely decline right away.  That way you don’t hold up anyone else’s plans.
  2. Be honest — Explain that you have other commitments and just can’t make it.
  3. Suggest an alternative — Give them a suggestion for another person who could take your place.
  4. Ask for a raincheck — Sometimes we really do want to do something but just don’t have the time right now — make a plan for the future so you still show good faith.

Sometimes it’s a good idea to have criteria for what you say yes to and what you say no to — to make your decision making easier.  Here are some questions to ask yourself before you decide:

  1. Do I want to do this — truly?
  2. What do I gain out of doing this task/attending this function?
  3. What has this person done for me lately?
  4. What else will I do with my time if I don’t do this thing?

Saying no typically feels awkward and definitely takes practice. Once you overcome your fear of saying no, you’ll realize how easy it is! Try not to substitute ways to be agreeable, go ahead and say no to requests that don’t work for you or meet your needs. That way, you can make more time for important tasks, obligations, and most importantly – yourself!

Want to be less stressed and get more done too? Check out my book, Listful Living: A List-Making Journey to a Less Stressed You. It will help you design a more productive and less-stressed life. 

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  1. […] However as we get older, when we take on too many responsibilities it’s not quite as easy to skirt responsibility. I don’t want to discourage you from taking on new projects, but before you do, really think about whether or not you will be able to see them through.  Remember, it’s OK to say no. […]

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