Do you ever find yourself saying yes when every ounce of you is screaming ‘no’?

Going through your head are all the reasons to say no:

  • I don’t want to…
  • I don’t have time…
  • I don’t like…

But you still say ‘yes’!

It’s like saying yes has become your automatic response.  Fears or doubts creep up. You hate the idea that someone may think you’re being rude, or unkind.  You find yourself saying yes and instantly start to regret the decision.

Saying ‘no’ is essential

Learning to say no is essential to your health and well-being.  When you say no to something, you’re opening up the space to do something else instead.  Saying yes to something you don’t want to do creates clutter in your mind and causes you unnecessary stress.  It takes up a huge amount of your time and energy.

We give up our time more readily than anything else yet it’s our most valuable commodity.  You only get to spend time once and it’s gone so it’s critical to use it wisely.  Saying no demonstrates we are respecting ourselves and valuing our time.

We also need to learn when to say no to ourselves and our own unrealistic expectations.  This is especially important when we’re trying to do too much and being perfectionists.

Why are you saying yes?

  • You’re a helpful person and putting others first?
  • Your concerned others may be upset or angry if you say no?
  • You’ll end up in an uncomfortable situation you’d rather avoid?
  • You scared you’ll miss out on something amazing?
  • Do you want to avoid feeling guilty about saying no?
  • Are you trying to take on too much and do things perfectly?

Get comfortable saying ‘no’

Start by saying no to smaller things and recognise how good it feels when you make the right choice for you.  As your confidence grows, you’ll be able to say no to bigger things.

Take a moment

When you are asked for something, take time to check in with yourself and see if it’s right for you.  Ask yourself, “what do I really want to do here?”.  You’ll learn to trust your instinct to make the right decision.

You don’t have to explain

Do you find yourself over-explaining your decision to say no?  You somehow feel it will soften the blow.  You don’t have to waffle around and tie yourself in knots, no is a sentence on its own.  It may seem a little abrupt, but you really don’t have to explain yourself.

Strategies for saying no

Keep a couple of ways to say no available to use as and when needed.  Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Let me get back to you – this is a great way to buy you some thinking time.
  • Now’s not a good time as I’m in the middle of something, we can speak tomorrow – another good way to buy you some space so you can prepare for the conversation.
  • I can’t commit to this as I have other priorities – at least the other person knows you don’t have the capacity for requests at this time.
  • I would love to do this but…. (fill in the gap) – this is a gentle way of letting someone know you like the idea but don’t have the capacity right now.
  • This isn’t right for me now, but I’ll keep it in mind – use this to say no to something you’re being offered whether you may want it in the future or not.
  • I’m not the best person for this, have you asked X – if you’re being asked for something that you don’t have the right skills for, you’re being helpful and pointing them in the right direction.
  • Thank you, but no – you can thank someone for their offer and still say no.

Learning to say no to the things that aren’t right for you is liberating – try it and see!  If this is something you struggle with, contact us to find out how we can help you.