How Saying “No” Can Change Your Life

Why is it so onerous to say, “No”?

Well, for one, disappointing individuals feels horrible.

(You hate to be a flake.)

Maybe your star worker standing relies on you saying, “Sure, I’ll stay late.”

Also, saying sure simply feels simpler, a whole lot of the time.

For instance, while you say “yes, I’ll drive you to rugby,” it means a child who will get to observe on time, and also you returning to a peaceable home.


Every time you say “yes” to at least one factor, you’re saying “no” to one thing else.

For instance, while you say “yes” to:

  • Watching the children since you really feel responsible asking your partner to commerce off, you additionally say “no” to that gymnasium membership you paid for, however not often use
  • Your boss’s midnight requests, anxiously checking your work electronic mail till late, you additionally say “no” to a full, restful evening’s sleep
  • Everyone else’s calls for (hello children, getting older dad and mom, and the PTA), you additionally say “no” to these appointments along with your dentist or therapeutic massage therapist

The consequence: You really feel like a ragdoll, pulled and tossed in direction of whoever wants you most. With no sense of your personal priorities, or the respite to are likely to them, you’re left feeling overwhelmed, overburdened, anxious, and harassed.

(Also: Hello, resentment.)

But attempt a thought experiment with us:

What when you flipped your responses—saying “yes” to your self just a little extra typically—and in flip, higher tending to your personal wants and objectives?

And, what when you stated “no” to extra of the issues that get in the way in which of that?

In the next article, we’ll supply three challenges that can assist you do this.

You’ll discover ways to select—with intention—when to say “yes” and when to say “no.”

One higher: You’ll construct the abilities to show down requests with out feeling so responsible, insecure, or uncomfortable.

And don’t fear:

This isn’t a 90’s speak show-style confrontation along with your family members. You don’t must “complete makeover” your life. Or inform somebody the place to shove it.

Instead, you’ll inch alongside a continuum of “no,” at your personal tempo.

With observe, you’ll discover a place for YOU in your to-do listing, translating to higher well being, deeper restoration, and extra power.

You can’t management different individuals’s requests of you, however saying “no” is inside your energy. And it’s some of the efficient issues you are able to do to handle stress.

Ready to attempt it? Let’s go.

Challenge #1: Track your time, power, and a focus

One motive you would possibly comply with do too many issues:

You could not truly know the place your time, power, and a focus are going.

Without a transparent sense of how a lot time you’ve gotten in a day—and the way you spend it—it’s simple to consider issues like:

“Oh, of course I can train that new employee!”


“Most days, I don’t even have five minutes to myself.”

You would possibly each over- and underestimate how a lot time you’ve gotten in a day.

This problem will show you how to see—on paper—the place your time goes. With this info, you’ll be capable to extra consciously resolve the place you need your time to go.

To do it:

Pick a monitoring technique.

Download our Planning and Time Use Worksheet, use a time-tracking app, or create your personal time-tracking system by utilizing a pocket book or calendar.

Record your each day actions.

Pay consideration to what drains your power and a focus—in addition to what boosts it. This info will turn out to be useful in problem #2.

Analyze your knowledge.

After monitoring for at the very least a day, have a look at your diary.

Any patterns or surprises? Is your time, power, and a focus going the place you’d assumed? Are you spending extra (or much less) time on sure duties than you thought? Finally, do you be ok with the place your time, power, and a focus are going?

While you do that, be sincere, but in addition variety to your self. Chances are, this process will reveal some uncomfortable truths.

Here’s an instance of a typical day {that a} consumer—a middle-class dad or mum with a full-time job and three kids below 10—shared with us.

6:30 AM-8:30 AMJump off the bed after hitting snooze, wrangle children, put together breakfast whereas checking work texts and emails from telephone, get children off to highschool and daycare
8:30 AM-2:30 PMMeetings and calls. Skip lunch, work straight by means of
2:30 PMOn telephone to insurance coverage firm whereas answering work emails
3:30 PMPick up children from college; scarf handfuls of their uneaten lunches whereas driving residence to make 4 PM work assembly
4 PMWork assembly whereas making children after-school snacks and placing in a load of laundry as a result of youngest wants clear soccer uniform for observe at 6:30 PM
5:30 PMRushed “dinner” (inhaling meals whereas arguing with partner about who has to drive)
6:20 PMHop in automotive whereas yelling at children to rush up; velocity to a few totally different practices and classes, one for every child
7:30 PMAnswer work emails and texts whereas on sidelines and sitting in automotive ready for teenagers
8:15 PMBack residence; uncover one child wants cupcakes for a category birthday tomorrow. Bake one thing from a mixture whereas attempting to wash and put children to mattress, overview homework, make lunches for tomorrow
10:30 PMSit in mattress exhausted, half-watching a real crime present with partner, nonetheless answering work texts and emails
12:30 AMLie awake worrying about tomorrow

As you may see, she’s left zero area for… herself.

Not surprisingly, this consumer feels exhausted, overwhelmed, and anxious.

For many individuals, the above problem is transformative.

It helps them see—typically with painful readability—what their lived priorities are.

For instance, the above consumer didn’t consider themselves as a “slave to work.” But her time diary revealed in a different way.

Challenge #2: Choose (deliberately) the best way to spend your time

Another motive you would possibly say “yes” as a default response:

You don’t absolutely perceive the tradeoffs.

In different phrases, while you say “yes,” you’re not conscious of every thing you’re saying “no” to on the identical time.

This problem helps you get actual with these tradeoffs, and provide you with a stability of “yeses” and “nos” that higher displays your objectives.

To do it:

Create a chart that represents your present actuality.

Take your knowledge from problem #1—and create a pie chart that exhibits the way you spend your time, power, and a focus on a typical day.

Your pie chart represents one hundred pc of your whole capability. Just like you may’t negotiate a 26-hour day, you may’t do greater than one hundred pc.

Your time is finite.

But as you begin including up elements, you would possibly discover that you simply’ve been attempting to stuff 48 hours value of stuff—or extra—into one 24-hour cycle.

Or perhaps you’ve been pondering your day is generally dedicated to productive actions which are aligned along with your broader values and objectives…

… But then you definately uncover you spend at the very least an hour a day combating along with your wardrobe (why does nothing match?!), after which one other two hours scrolling by means of “aspirational” health accounts, making you are feeling even worse about your too-tight pants.

In different phrases, earlier than doing this problem, you would possibly assume that your day seems just like the fantasy beneath:

In actuality, nonetheless, it would actually look extra like this…

No marvel you are feeling crummy. (Most surprising: Wiping your children’ / canine’ butts is the least of your woes!)

Decide in case your pie slices are allotted to belongings you actually care about.

Consider every part of your chart, and ask your self two questions:

  1. How a lot time, power, and a focus am I giving this proper now?
  2. How a lot do I WANT to provide? In different phrases, would you like that pie slice to be… larger? Smaller? Or—poof!—gone? What are your hopes right here?

It might help to consider these questions visually, because the beneath graphic exhibits.

Create your dream pie chart.

This represents the way you need to spend your time, power, and a focus. Maybe your new actuality seems one thing just like the beneath.

Still wiping butts (hey, must be executed).

But right here, there’s a stability between output (you caring and offering for others) and enter (you recovering, filling your personal cup).

(And bear in mind: Your time continues to be finite.)

Of course, the above is simply an instance.

Your pie chart will replicate your personal priorities, objectives, and values. (Your values are the belongings you think about most essential, and sometimes drive selections and behaviors.)

It would possibly take you a couple of tries to get your pie chart the way in which you need it.

Play round with it. Experiment with making some slices just a little larger or smaller till you find yourself with one thing that’s a superb match—for you.

Most importantly, taking a look at your dream pie ought to encourage a sense of “ahhhh.” A sigh of reduction, but in addition a way of pleasure and power.

Next, you’ll work in direction of the best way to make that “dream pie” extra of a actuality.

Challenge #3: Practice saying no

With your very best pie chart in thoughts, you now have a visible that may show you how to resolve what to say “no” to and what to say “yes” to.

But now, you’ll must put it into observe.

And meaning studying to truly say “no” to an precise individual whose opinion issues to you.


But we’ve acquired your again, with a observe from Pam Ruhland, one in all our in-house PN supercoaches, that’ll show you how to ease into saying “no” with extra confidence.

To do it:

Imagine some “no” challenges.

Think about the way you’ll flip down requests in your time, power, and a focus that sit outdoors of your “pie chart of priorities.”

Go by means of some hypothetical eventualities and provide you with various responses to them. It might help to think about previous obligations you took on that you simply ended up wishing you’d stated no to.

How do you want you’d’ve responded?

Sometimes, you would possibly wish to preserve your reply brief, saying “No, I don’t have the bandwidth for that.” Or merely, “No.” (Yes, “No” is a full sentence!)

Other instances you would possibly wish to mix a “no” with a “yes”—a compromise of kinds. For instance:

▶ I can’t make that assembly [no to request]. Can we do it at X time as a substitute? [yes to an alternative, or compromise]

▶ I can’t tackle that undertaking proper now [no to request], however I do know somebody superior who has a little bit of time proper now and would love the chance [yes, but for someone who wants to say yes].

▶ I can’t converse at that occasion if I’ve to journey [no to request], but when I is usually a digital speaker, I’d be joyful to take part [yes, but only under certain conditions].

Consider conditions previously the place it’s been onerous so that you can prioritize your wants, and consider the place alongside the continuum of “no” you would like you’d responded with.

Try some mirror observe.

Look at your self within the mirror and observe some variations of claiming “no.”

Maybe, think about that individual you care about that’s actually stretching you skinny proper now—and say “no” to them.

Allow your self to really feel that uncomfortable feeling that comes up for you while you flip somebody down. Say “no” kindly and respectfully, however firmly.

For instance:

  • “I completely sympathize with your situation; I’m just not available.”
  • “It’s really thoughtful of you to ask, but I can’t do it.”
  • “Oh wow, that does look delicious. I’m full though.”
  • “As I said, I’m not available after 6 PM.”
  • “I’ve chosen not to drink right now. Please respect my choice.”

This train would possibly really feel foolish (good day, you’re speaking to you—in your housecoat no much less) however it nonetheless would possibly convey up some emotion.

You would possibly really feel responsible, self-indulgent, or hear the echoes of a dad or mum who used to let you know it was rude to show down dessert, or lazy to show down work.

Keep practising within the mirror till the yucky feeling subsides (though it could by no means go away fully).

Acknowledge how troublesome it may be to so clearly state your boundaries, and provides your self a pat on the again.

It’s showtime! Say “no” in actual life.

Revisit your time diary and select somebody / one thing to say “no” to.

Know this: The first time would be the hardest. Start small, in conditions you are feeling assured you may deal with.

Sure, some individuals may not be joyful along with your response. After all, they preferred having somebody to bail them out—anytime, anyplace.

However, you’ll in all probability discover that most individuals will settle for your reply and nonetheless such as you—and a few of them will respect you extra.

But the larger payoff?

You take again some management over your life.

Instead of ready in your child, your boss, or a magic fairy to say to you, “You know what? You deserve some YOU time,” you take the reins.

You resolve what’s essential, and elbow that point out for your self.

When you do, you give your self a greater probability on the sort of life you’ve all the time wished—one with much less stress, nervousness, and overwhelm, and extra intention, power, and pleasure.

That’s not solely good for you, however for everybody.

If you’re a well being and health coach…

Learning the best way to assist shoppers handle stress, construct resilience, and optimize sleep and restoration might be deeply transformative—for each of you.

It helps shoppers get “unstuck” and makes every thing else simpler—whether or not they wish to eat higher, transfer extra, drop pounds, or reclaim their well being.

And for coaches: It provides you a rarified ability that may set you aside as an elite change maker.

The brand-new PN Level 1 Sleep, Stress Management, and Recovery Coaching Certification will present you ways.

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