It seems like it happens every time. I decide to make positive changes in my life. I buy healthy food, get myself to bed early, or arrive at the gym, and something interferes. I find myself helping someone else with their essential task instead of carrying through with my plan.

You probably relate to this. You probably find yourself changing your plans to accommodate someone else’s poor planning. You struggle to squeeze in one more task at the last minute, then give up on your goals when you can’t accomplish everything. The worst part is that I blame myself for not achieving what I planned.

It’s time to stop the blame game. Instead of feeling trapped in tasks and activities, learn to say no to unwanted requests. Angel V. Shannon covers the how’s and why’s of saying no in her recent video:

Saying No Without Guilt

When we agree to tasks that we prefer to avoid, we respond emotionally. We are attempting to send a message of kindness and acceptance to the other person. Responding to their distressed request for help with no seems unkind. It seems to devalue the other person. We prefer to appear kind and devalue ourselves.

Women tend to struggle with saying no. We are taught to be accommodating from an early age, so we feel uncomfortable choosing our interests. As a result, we try to maintain an impossible standard and end up short-changing ourselves.

In reality, we aren’t saying no to the person. We are providing emotional soothing by agreeing, but that isn’t the case. We respond to a question about a task and are allowed to choose in our best interests. 

Let’s explore the concept of saying no. It turns out many of us have been thinking about it wrong!

  • Everyone’s time is limited. We can only accomplish so many things with our time—everything we say yes to limits our ability to communicate yes to another request. Every yes limits our future yes’s!
  • Focus is deciding what things we aren’t going to do. Remember that everything can’t be a priority – if everything is a priority, nothing is. Choose how you will spend your time most effectively and how you won’t spend your time. Know your capacity!
  • Watch for those who routinely use the time you planned for other tasks or events. They are thieves of your success, of your productivity. They prevent you from gaining momentum with your life changes. Consider them an incredible opportunity to practice saying no.

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