7 tips that will help you learn to say NO


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“All the mistakes I ever made were when I wanted to say ‘no’ and said ‘yes.’ ” – Moss Hart

NO. Such a short word. N. O.  Should be easy to say. However, saying NO is something we all struggle with. And it is so important if you want to be free, live life according to your principles and have time to work on your dream. Here are my top tips if you want to say no more often and free up time to work on what you really enjoy.

1. Realize why you say YES.

Some people say YES out of fear. What are you afraid of? Fear of being left out, being looked down upon, not being good enough. Is this you? Other people say YES because of passion and inspiration. There’s so much fun to do! So many opportunities! Whatever the reason is that you take on too much, it really helps if you know your patterns.

2. Learn to set yourself first.

You can always start saying no from now on. But what if you are already drowning in work? Lets say you have already taken on too much. I say, okay, you should honor your word. But some times it is more important to honor yourself and let someone else down for a change. If you have taken on too much, cancel something. Saying no after you said yes is even harder than just saying no in the first place. But letting yourself down is even worse.

3. Sort out your priorities.

If you know what you want, it is easier to know where you stand when a request comes up. Take some time and make a conscious decision on what you want to focus on at the time being. Does it fit your priorities? Then hell YES! If not? NO.

4. Say no with confidence.

You never own anyone anything. By saying no to things you don’t want, you are being true to yourself. You can hold your head up high. It can be hard, but it is definitely worth it in the end.

5. Start with MAYBE.

This is the perfect solution if you still find it hard to say no in front of people, or if you haven’t sorted out your priorities yet. Don’t give an answer right away. Promise to get back to them. And then do get back to them. It is so much easier to call them up a day or two later and say “I really want to help, but I just can’t find the time”. People will understand and you will be happier.

6. Keep what you promise.

When you cut back on your YES it is even more important that you actually fulfill your obligations and do what you accept to do. This is especially important with friends and in the workplace. After you have started to set your own boundaries, people will notice and start to respect you for it. And then your YES gets a whole different meaning. Its value increases. Make sure you keep up to the standard and it will be even easier to say no.

7. Say no to other distractions.

Now that you have started to make informed choices, it is important to be aware that YES and NO does not only apply to direct requests.  Learn to say no to other distractions like TV, commercials, bad music, bad friends, demanding bosses, and all the other sources that are fighting over your attention. Breathe deep and focus on following your path.

Do you find it easy to say NO? Can you add any great tips to the list?


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Krissy October 28, 2010 at 7:00 pm

Oh dear, I’m terrible at saying no to anything. I think it stems from a personal need to please and be liked, and always make others happy before myself. It’s something I’m still struggling with, but I’m trying harder to start standing up for myself and what I want. We only live once, after all. Best make ourselves happy in the little time we have. :)


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