How one can Put Your self First—With out Feeling So Yucky

Why is it so arduous to say, “No”?

Effectively, for one, disappointing individuals feels horrible.

(You hate to be a flake.)

Possibly your star worker standing will depend on you saying, “Positive, I’ll keep late.”

Additionally, saying sure simply feels simpler, plenty of the time.

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


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

For instance, while you say “sure” to:

  • Watching the children since you really feel responsible asking your partner to commerce off, you additionally say “no” to that fitness center membership you paid for, however not often use
  • Your boss’s midnight requests, anxiously checking your work e-mail till late, you additionally say “no” to a full, restful evening’s sleep
  • Everybody else’s calls for (hello children, growing old mother and father, and the PTA), you additionally say “no” to these appointments together with your dentist or therapeutic massage therapist

The outcome: You are feeling 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 burdened.

(Additionally: Hey, resentment.)

However strive a thought experiment with us:

What if you happen to flipped your responses—saying “sure” to your self just a little extra usually—and in flip, higher tending to your personal wants and objectives?

And, what if you happen to mentioned “no” to extra of the issues that get in the way in which of that?

Within the following article, we’ll supply three challenges that can assist you try this.

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

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

And don’t fear:

This isn’t a 90’s discuss show-style confrontation together with your family members. You don’t need to “full makeover” your life. Or inform somebody the place to shove it.

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

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

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

Able to strive it? Let’s go.

Problem #1: Monitor your time, power, and a focus

One purpose you would possibly conform to do too many issues:

You might not really know the place your time, power, and a focus are going.

With no clear sense of how a lot time you could have in a day—and the way you spend it—it’s simple to imagine issues like:

“Oh, after all I can prepare that new worker!”


“Most days, I don’t even have 5 minutes to myself.”

You would possibly each over- and underestimate how a lot time you could have in a day.

This problem will enable you to see—on paper—the place your time goes. With this data, you’ll have the ability to extra consciously resolve the place you need your time to go.

To do it:

Decide a monitoring methodology.

Obtain our Planning and Time Use Worksheet, use a time-tracking app, or create your personal time-tracking system through the use of a pocket book or calendar.

Document your every day actions.

Take note of what drains your power and a focus—in addition to what boosts it. This data will turn out to be useful in problem #2.

Analyze your knowledge.

After monitoring for no less than a day, take 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? Lastly, do you be ok with the place your time, power, and a focus are going?

Whilst you do that, be trustworthy, but additionally variety to your self. Likelihood is, this job will reveal some uncomfortable truths.

Right here’s an instance of a typical day {that a} shopper—a middle-class mother or father with a full-time job and three kids underneath 10—shared with us.

6:30 AM-8:30 AM Bounce away from bed after hitting snooze, wrangle children, put together breakfast whereas checking work texts and emails from cellphone, get children off to high school and daycare
8:30 AM-2:30 PM Conferences and calls. Skip lunch, work straight via
2:30 PM On cellphone to insurance coverage firm whereas answering work emails
3:30 PM Decide up children from faculty; scarf handfuls of their uneaten lunches whereas driving house to make 4 PM work assembly
4 PM Work assembly whereas making children after-school snacks and placing in a load of laundry as a result of youngest wants clear soccer uniform for follow at 6:30 PM
5:30 PM Rushed “dinner” (inhaling meals whereas arguing with partner about who has to drive)
6:20 PM Hop in automobile whereas yelling at children to rush up; velocity to a few completely different practices and classes, one for every child
7:30 PM Reply work emails and texts whereas on sidelines and sitting in automobile ready for teenagers
8:15 PM Again house; uncover one child wants cupcakes for a category birthday tomorrow. Bake one thing from a combination whereas attempting to wash and put children to mattress, overview homework, make lunches for tomorrow
10:30 PM Sit in mattress exhausted, half-watching a real crime present with partner, nonetheless answering work texts and emails
12:30 AM Lie awake worrying about tomorrow

As you’ll be able to see, she’s left zero area for… herself.

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

For many individuals, the above problem is transformative.

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

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

Problem #2: Select (deliberately) methods to spend your time

One more reason you would possibly say “sure” as a default response:

You don’t totally perceive the tradeoffs.

In different phrases, while you say “sure,” you’re not conscious of all the pieces 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 reveals the way you spend your time, power, and a focus on a typical day.

Your pie chart represents one hundred pc of your complete capability. Identical to you’ll be able to’t negotiate a 26-hour day, you’ll be able to’t do greater than one hundred pc.

Your time is finite.

However 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 possibly you’ve been pondering your day is usually dedicated to productive actions which can be aligned together with your broader values and objectives…

… However you then uncover you spend no less than an hour a day preventing together with your wardrobe (why does nothing match?!), after which one other two hours scrolling via “aspirational” health accounts, making you’re feeling even worse about your too-tight pants.

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

In actuality, nonetheless, it’d actually look extra like this…

No marvel you’re feeling crummy. (Most stunning: Wiping your children’ / canines’ butts is the least of your woes!)

Determine in case your pie slices are allotted to stuff you really care about.

Think about 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 present? In different phrases, would you like that pie slice to be… larger? Smaller? Or—poof!—gone? What are your hopes right here?

It could actually assist to consider these questions visually, because the under graphic reveals.

Create your dream pie chart.

This represents the way you need to spend your time, power, and a focus. Possibly your new actuality appears one thing just like the under.

Nonetheless wiping butts (hey, must be completed).

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

(And keep in mind: Your time remains to be finite.)

After all, the above is simply an instance.

Your pie chart will replicate your personal priorities, objectives, and values. (Your values are the stuff you take into account most essential, and infrequently drive decisions and behaviors.)

It’d take you just a few tries to get your pie chart the way in which you need it.

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

Most significantly, taking a look at your dream pie ought to encourage a sense of “ahhhh.” A sigh of aid, but additionally a way of pleasure and power.

Subsequent, you’ll work in direction of methods to make that “dream pie” extra of a actuality.

Problem #3: Observe saying no

Along with your excellent pie chart in thoughts, you now have a visible that may enable you to resolve what to say “no” to and what to say “sure” to.

However now, you’ll have to put it into follow.

And which means studying to really say “no” to an precise particular person whose opinion issues to you.


However we’ve acquired your again, with a follow from Pam Ruhland, one in every of our in-house PN supercoaches, that’ll enable you to ease into saying “no” with extra confidence.

To do it:

Think about some “no” challenges.

Take into consideration the way you’ll flip down requests to your time, power, and a focus that sit outdoors of your “pie chart of priorities.”

Undergo some hypothetical eventualities and provide you with different responses to them. It could actually assist to consider previous obligations you took on that you simply ended up wishing you’d mentioned no to.

How do you want you’d’ve responded?

Generally, you would possibly need to preserve your reply quick, saying “No, I don’t have the bandwidth for that.” Or just, “No.” (Sure, “No” is a full sentence!)

Different instances you would possibly need to mix a “no” with a “sure”—a compromise of kinds. For instance:

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

▶ I can’t tackle that mission 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 communicate at that occasion if I’ve to journey [no to request], but when I could be a digital speaker, I’d be blissful to take part [yes, but only under certain conditions].

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

Strive some mirror follow.

Take a look at your self within the mirror and follow some variations of claiming “no.”

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

Permit 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 utterly sympathize together with your scenario; I’m simply not accessible.”
  • “It’s actually considerate of you to ask, however I can’t do it.”
  • “Oh wow, that does look scrumptious. I’m full although.”
  • “As I mentioned, I’m not accessible after 6 PM.”
  • “I’ve chosen to not drink proper now. Please respect my selection.”

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

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

Maintain training within the mirror till the yucky feeling subsides (though it might by no means go away utterly).

Acknowledge how tough 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 primary time would be the hardest. Begin small, in conditions you’re feeling assured you’ll be able to deal with.

Positive, some individuals may not be blissful together with your response. In any case, they preferred having somebody to bail them out—anytime, wherever.

Nonetheless, 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.

However the larger payoff?

You’re taking again some management over your life.

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

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

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

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

For those who’re a well being and health coach…

Studying methods to assist purchasers handle stress, construct resilience, and optimize sleep and restoration could be deeply transformative—for each of you.

It helps purchasers get “unstuck” and makes all the pieces else simpler—whether or not they need to eat higher, transfer extra, shed extra pounds, or reclaim their well being.

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

The brand-new PN Stage 1 Sleep, Stress Administration, and Restoration Teaching Certification will present you the way.

Wish to know extra?

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

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