Say No At Least Once a Week
Welcome to the Simple Life-Enhancing habit step 2 of 30! This is one of the most powerful steps of all 30. Telling others “no” is one of the hardest things for many people to do. Most of us tend to be people pleasers. Or some of us feel better when we offer to help or agree to help others. Yet, we need to re-evaluate to what extent do we take time away from ourselves as we spend this precious commodity with others. I am in no way saying to not help someone in crisis. I am referring to the little things. Things that peck away at the minutes in your day.
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Remember, our goal is to work through 30 steps that will help you develop positive life-enhancing habits. Last week, we reviewed the first step which was to write down 3 things for which you are grateful every day. To review this step, please refer to the article How to develop Positive Life-Enhancing Habits in 30 steps.
Simple Life-Enhancing Habit step 2 of 30
This series of articles is helping you towards building in daily habits that will make you more successful. The life-enhancing habit step 2 of 30 is to practice and habituate saying “no”. Here is how you begin implementing this step. For the next month or so, start saying “no” to something at least once a week. Make sure to be saying “no” to something that you would have said “yes” to in the recent past. Purposefully make yourself say “no”, then immediately acknowledge how it made you feel. You will most likely feel guilty at first, but, stand strong. Most times you will not need to provide an explanation of why you refused. Sometimes, though, there are always exceptions.
When is it ok to say No?
The best way to choose when to say “no” is to check your goals, look at your schedule, and ask yourself what you really want. If an action leads you to reach your goals and fits your schedule, then saying yes is fine. But, if it does not provide any value to you or does not fit into your schedule right now, say “no” without remorse. Remember, we are working towards building life-enhancing habits. Part of this process is to evaluate our personal goals in life. We need to figure out if we have not reached them yet, then what needs to change?
How to get started with simple life-enhancing habits
Sometimes, you simply know that you don’t want to do something no matter what it is. Instead of putting people off or saying yes just to avoid the issue, start saying no right away. For example, what if you have a friend involved in a home selling business and constantly asks you to come or host parties. Then, you always say yes, but know you really do not have the time or interest. What would happen if you started saying no? Feeling bold? Ask them to stop asking you to participate. If you don’t have that kind of gumption, just tell them the timing is not right for you. If they are really your friends, they will understand.
Say I’ll Think About It
This is a powerful strategy. Did you know you don’t have to give people answers right away about anything? Once you fully grasp this concept, saying “no” does start getting easier. Saying I’ll think about it sends the message that you may not want to give up your time for that type of event or project. This can help you reduce the pressure on yourself and allowing yourself time to actually check your schedule. Start making it a habit always to say, “Let me check my schedule. I’ll get back to you by 3 pm on Friday with my answer.” This way, they can wait patiently, and you can ensure yourself if you want to say yes or no.
Always Check Your Schedule – A life-enhancing habit
Even if your first thought is that it is something you want to do, you must always check your schedule before saying yes. You may be overbooked already, and even if you’re going to say yes, you need to say no. Doing this will ward off burnout. Stretching yourself too thin is bad for you and everyone else that depends on you too. Another plus side to checking your schedule is whoever is asking for your time, will learn that you do have other priorities in your life.
Sometimes you can’t do what your customer or the person wants, but you can turn your no into a yes in the recipient’s mind. If you know someone who can do the thing being asked of you better, tell them about it. There have been many instances when I have recommended someone else who might have been a better match for what was being asked of me. Or, if you can offer some help but not exactly what was asked for, say exactly that to the person. They might decide to keep looking for someone else who could help better.
One thing to remember is that you don’t have to be part of everything in your community. Keep in mind that saying no allows others to step up. Suppose you’re the type that runs your PTA, a small business, and more than two or three community organizations and clubs. You’re probably doing too much. Let others shine and take your time back. Your friends and family and you will thank you. If you are wanting to jump ahead and delve into complete books on this topic, I highly recommend habit-building books by Steven Covey.
Simple Life-Enhancing Habit wrap up
This is an easy but so important step to follow. You will see a theme as these total 30 steps all fall into place. None of them are unique or groundbreaking. All of them are easy to implement if you start slowly and with intent. To sum up steps 1 and 2 – every day write 3 things for which you are grateful and start saying NO! Sign up for my email subscription so you are notified when the next steps are revealed! See you next time!