4 Signs You Need to Say 'No' More Often
“Saying ‘yes’ to one thing means saying ‘no’ to something else.”
I heard this on the Tim Ferriss podcast the other day - and it couldn’t ring more true.
When you say ‘yes’ to everything, the chance of you doing a good job on everything? Very unlikely.
Agreeing to take too much on your plate could potentially lead to serious burnout.
It’s a time struggle; you only have so much of it. It’s impossible to do everything. When you say yes to something, keep in mind that it means closing the door to something else - which is absolutely okay. Life is full of choices, and the choices you make lead you down your chosen life path (which is different for everyone!). These choices make you - you.
Thus, practicing mindfulness is of utmost importance when it comes to making a decision. Can you handle more on your plate? Will you have to give up something else that you enjoy? What opportunity does this offer to you and your life? What are the pros and the cons? And the most critical question to ask yourself; do you want to do what you’re being asked to do?
It’s about stress management and self-care. You want to truly be able to enjoy your life. But if your life is filled with things you said ‘yes’ to - but don’t really want to do (or don’t really fulfill you), you aren’t really living your best life.
How do you know you’ve been doing this? What are the tell-tale signs?
1. You aren’t making enough time for self-care.
Yes, we go through busy phases of life. You may have a couple weeks where you just don’t have a chance to sit down. C’est la vie.
Yet, if you never have a little self-care time, it’s time to learn your limits because it’s likely you’re headed straight for a brick wall called burnout.
You desperately want that night to sit and watch Netflix. Perhaps you constantly jump from one activity to the next, or you’ve been needing that massage for months now. You feel like you’ve been giving and giving - but you’re getting jaded. You’re not getting enough back to justify it all.
You need to start setting boundaries. Saying ‘no’ won’t make you a jerk. In fact, it makes you responsible. And you need to take responsibility for your own life, your goals, and your health. Start setting aside time for yourself. Make self-care a habit!
2. You don’t feel like you’re excelling in any one particular area of your life.
Your heart isn’t in your work. You don’t particularly feel like you’re doing great at any one thing. You don’t even care anymore about it all. The result? You end up with mediocracy across the board. You’re stretching yourself too thin. It’s become more about quantity than quality.
Here’s the thing: You want your life to be about quality - quality relationships, quality experiences, etc. To live a meaningful life (which is something we all crave), you need meaningful relationships.
It relates back to the idea of minimalism. You don’t want to collect more and more - you want to focus on meaning. Does this particular experience you said ‘yes’ to bring you joy or fulfill you in some way? If not, it’s time to toss it.
Quit going to that Sunday brunch if you hate it or constantly find it a drag. Stay home, wake up slow, and take that midday Sunday bubble bath. Say ‘no’ to that work project that you know you can’t give your full attention to and that will seriously stress you out.
Be honest with yourself and others. And yes, be selfish sometimes! This is your life.
3. You’re trying to please everyone, but it’s not working.
Raise your hand if you aim to please. The dilemma of not being able to say “no” is often found in people-pleasers. But you can never make everyone happy. It’s impossible. Remember, we are all different. Every person has a different opinion and a different perspective. Different things are going to make different people happy.
Maybe you’re overwhelmed. No one is happy with you. Your stress management tactics are failing and you just want to curl up into a ball and cry. You aim to please, but it’s not working. Learn to say ‘no.’ If someone gets mad at you for saying no, you don’t need them in your life. Cut those ties. It’s not worth the drama or time.
4. You’ve lost track of what you want in your life.
What are your goals? What do you crave out of your life? Are you living someone else’s life? It’s time to put your foot down. Be assertive. Go after what you want. Because guess what? No one else is going to do it for you.
And if you aren’t sure what your goals are, it’s time to bring a little more mindfulness back into your life. Set time aside and think about it. And then, create those goals. Make them S.M.A.R.T. - this means they have to be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-oriented. It’s a way to measure if you’re actually accomplishing what you set out to do.
Get back on track! Indulge in self-care tactics to help you out - think meditation, gratefulness, and goal-setting. You’ve got this.
Say ‘No’ to Saying ‘Yes’ More Often
It takes practice and mindfulness to be able to say ‘no.’ But you can. And people might even respect you more for it. It shows you know your limits. You know your strengths. And a balance between ‘yes’ and ‘no’ is necessary to harness those qualities.
Go ahead. Say “no.” Say “yes” to only the things that really spark that fire within - only then will you become the person you’ve always wanted to be.
Related Article: How Spending More Time Alone Can Help You Manage Your Anxiety