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3 Tips On How To Say NO And Mean It

Updated: Mar 23, 2022

I don't know about you, but my life has kept on getting crazier, especially the start of the year with all the set up of new activities. I still vividly remember the point in my life when I realised that 'This is life now.' My youngest was about 6 months old, I had 4 kids 6 and under and life was super hectic. I was forever feeding, cleaning, picking up toys, going to the playground, breaking up fights and so on, you know, mum stuff.

I came to the realisation that I was actually still waiting for life to get back to 'normal' or to be something other than the crazy I was experiencing. Then the next realisation hit me like a ton of bricks... 'This is life now', and the sooner I accepted that, the quicker I could move on from this weird unsettled limbo feeling.

Have you ever felt like that?

It has continued to be what I call ‘crazy’ around here. Some days more than others, but I do love it. Not so much when it gets hectic, but I love all the things I spend my time on (obviously NOT the dishes) although I do wish I had more time for the hammock or the beach, don’t we all! 🏖

Now we have a teenager, a tween, a 9 year old eating machine and a 7 year old girl who has really started testing the boundaries of late. So with all that mix, trying to meet everyone's needs AND working, AND volunteering, AND still wanting a great marriage, AND study, AND having some sort of social life can be very tough to manage.

Add other people's expectations of you and you're in for some trouble. Do you have a hard time saying NO to people or things? Do you find yourself saying yes in the moment, and then regretting it later?

You might be doing really well in one area of your life, even two, but how well are you doing in the other areas?

Someone, I don’t recall who (which pretty much sums up my current memory state) once said it’s like juggling a bunch of different balls, you’re doing ok but there will be times where you drop the ball, or ‘a’ ball. Just make sure it’s not one made of glass.

I really like that analogy. The most important thing in that, is that it normalises the dropping of a ball. We aren’t perfect and neither is our juggling ability. It does mean there are things in your life that require more of your attention and more quality attention, whereas other areas are more flexible, and they can bounce if you drop them or roll under the lounge to be forgotten for a while.

Of course we know what all the areas in our life are, and how important they are, but why is it sometimes so hard to say NO to new things or opportunities, to things that would fight your priorities for time and space in your life?

If that’s a question you’re asking, here are my 3 Tips On How To Say NO And Mean It:

1. Be clear about what is important to you.

When you know what your priorities are, and you have them in mind when you are asked a question or presented with an opportunity, it will be not only easy to say NO, but you will also recognise that as you say NO, you are saying YES to the things that you see as more important.

2. Never, and I mean never, say YES straight away.

We are humans and we are emotional beings, that means when we are excited about something, we want to get involved. This isn't a bad thing, but when emotions run high, it is easy to OVER commit. Instead of just helping out, all of a sudden you're running a committee 🤣 So instead, answer with, 'Let me think about it' or 'Let me get back to you on that.' Once you've had time to think, if it lines up with your priorities and you have time, awesome. You are now saying yes to something you have both time and passion for and there won't be guilt or regret hovering over your shoulder.

3. Accept that some people won't like your NO.

Dare I say 'some' family members or friends won't like your boundaries, they may even take cheap shots at you. It is never easy to be in the firing line especially from family members. But I say this with all the love I can give, if you don't stand up for yourself, draw that line in the sand and say NO, you will ALWAYS be making decisions that please someone else, and you won't be honouring your priorities.

I have a pretty big capacity to do things… IF I SLEEP ENOUGH. But there are still times I have to make some decisions and say NO to things in my life that aren't lining up with mine or my family's priorities, funny enough I always feel better and less cluttered when I do.

Let me know how you go saying NO, is it easy, hard or somewhere in between?


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