Learning to Say No (When Saying No is Really Hard)

I have a confession to make. I have a really hard time saying no.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Saying yes can be a really good thing! I love a good idea. I am not scared by a challenge. I thrive on hard work and staying busy. I jump at new projects and opportunities.

All of these things have made my family, personal, and work life very successful.

And yet, if we are talking honestly, I tend to stretch myself too thin. I over work. I over spend. I burn myself out.

But here’s the silver lining – I am getting better! I am learning when to confidently say yes — and when to confidently say no.

What have I learned? Here are a few ways I’m learning to say no this year to be healthier, wealthier, and most importantly – happier.

Think of the Big Picture

When you have a plan, a goal, a budget – saying yes to the right things becomes so much easier. In fact, this was my tipping point this last year.

Once my husband and I sat down and identified our joint goals and budget, it was so much easier to say both yes and no.

Should I buy those toys at the store because my kids won’t stop asking me? (no)

Should we invest in a home gym to reduce the cost of a gym membership long-term? (yes)

Should I ask for help more so I can take care of myself and my health? (yes, but can you remind me?)

The power here is that we now know how our daily actions impact our long-term goals. We have accountability (and in many cases spreadsheets and apps). And, we have a clear direction in our life.

All these things have incredible power. And all of a sudden, decisions (i.e. saying yes or saying no) became a lot easier.

Find The Yes’s That Really Excite You!

Once you have a plan and a goal, it is much easier to say no when there are yes’s that really excite you!

Does a freelance gig have you excitedly high-fiving yourself? No? It’s probably worth a pass. Yes? Go for it!

Does a multi-family vacation sound more draining than rejuvenating? Say no. It does not serve you.

We all have the power to say no to things that do not serve us, and to emphatically say yes to the things that do.

Learning to say no

Offer Alternatives to No

Speaking of saying no, I find I am much more comfortable saying no if I have an alternative.

For example, instead of accepting an invitation to a lunch out with friends, how about a rain check for a happy hour picnic with potluck-style food and beverages?

Or, instead of buying our kids the toys they want, how about they earn the money to buy them? It’s a win win. Our kids learn about managing money and we save money!

Find Your Tribe

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how the people we surround ourselves with impact our life decisions – including personal finances. The more we surround ourselves with like-minded people, the more supported we feel. And, the more we can prioritize our yes’s and no’s.

Cut Yourself Some Slack

Breathe… and know you’re working hard and you’re doing enough just for you. It’s okay if others don’t understand or don’t approve.

Know that you are going in the right direction. You have a solid plan. You know when to say yes and when to say no. And, you have a solid tribe to support you.

I’d say you’re doing a pretty kick ass job of saying yes (and no).

Related – The Power of Small Changes, Big Savings

Comments? Feedback? Leave a reply! I’d love to hear from you.

P.S.: Let’s connect! Find us over at FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Pinterest.

~ Christina

Learning to Say No

8 thoughts on “Learning to Say No (When Saying No is Really Hard)

  1. Emily Jividen says:

    Good advice for trying to pare down that huge list of obligations that can pile up if you let it. So often I end up saying yes to things without considering everything else I’ve committed to doing, and without considering my larger goals.


  2. Jamie @ Medium Sized Family says:

    This has been my biggest win so far this year. Learning how to say no has made all the difference in our debt payoff journey. But you’re right, the yeses are just as important as the nos. It’s important to make a good firm decision.


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