Make saying “no” a habit?!?! What? That doesn’t sound right. It’s true normally I would be encouraging you to get rid of the NO! But stick with me for a minute because this time NO is one of the most important things you can say.
I recently sent out an email (are you on the list?) asking how parents are finding time to take care of themselves. Are you surprised that I had a huge response of “I’M NOT”!? I wasn’t. We are busy, we are all busy. And we are allowing everyone and everything else to come first.
Over the next couple of months I’m going to be talking a lot about taking care of you and that starts with learning to say “NO”!
3 Reasons to Say “No” A Lot
- Saying “no” to something always means you are saying “yes” to something else. NO I will not bake cookies for the party (store bought will work) means YES I can read two extra chapters in the book I can’t put down.
- Saying “no” to things that aren’t that important clears the space for saying “yes” to things that really matter. In Rachel Macy Staffords brand new book Hands Free Life: Nine Habits for Overcoming Distraction, Living Better, and Loving More she shares how setting boundaries to protect moments meant that saying “NO” to spreading some really great news to everyone meant saying “YES” to allowing her daughter to share that moment privately with her.
- Saying “no” allows for unexpected moments. A “NO” just because you don’t really want to say “YES” means there is space for the unexpected. How often have you wished you could make a spontaneous trip to the park but can’t because of an overwhelming to-do list?
5 Ways to Make Saying “No” a Habit
- Think about why. What is the reason you want to say “yes”? Do you want to say “yes” because you really want to say “yes”… or is it something else? Will you say “yes” because you feel like you should or you don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings? Are those really good enough reasons to fill that space with something you don’t want to do?
- Don’t say “yes”! If you know you don’t want to do something, just say “no”. If you say “yes” intending to cancel later, you’re setting yourself up to feel guilty. Or worse you might get stuck doing something you don’t want to do because you forgot to cancel!
- I’ll have to get back to you. Have a standard response no matter who asks or when. “I need to check my calendar, I’ll text you when I’m at home.” OR “I want to run that by hubby, I’ll let you know tomorrow.” If you are in the habit of always checking before saying “yes”, you’ll have the time to think about whether you really want to say “yes” or not.
- Think about what the “yes” really means. Remember how I said saying “yes” to something always means you are saying “no” to something else? Sometimes the best way to find the “NO” is to think about what you would be giving up by saying “yes”.
- Practice, practice, practice. I can almost guarantee that you will end up failing miserably at this when you first set out to intentionally pick what fills your day. That’s okay, just like anything else this takes practice. When you find yourself in the midst of something you wish you would have said no to, try to think of what you would say or do next time to avoid it.
I was so lucky to have received a copy of Hands Free Life: Nine Habits for Overcoming Distraction, Living Better, and Loving More. Rachel Macy Stafford has made it her mission to overcome distraction and live a better life by becoming hands free. She is inspiring others to join the movement!
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