Now that it’s mid-December, most people are frantically running around looking for the best gifts and attending tons of holiday parties to celebrate the season. I find that the hustle and bustle can be quite addicting and fun at first, but then you may get into a stressed out frantic time. and this is no fun!
How can you change this problem? Start by learning to use the phrase, “Thank you but I can’t…” and this can be for anything that anyone asks of you that isn’t in your best interests. Do you know your best interests? I realize that most women have no clue, and I was one of the most unfocused messes out there just a few years ago!
I am the type of person who likes to “please” everyone and “help” anyone who asks me for it. Can you guess what happened when the word spread that this was something I enjoyed??? You got that right! Everyone and anyone will ask you if you are the “go to” person to help. Don’t believe me? Think about your social circles. Who in your life would you ask most often for “favors” and “help” over the rest? Do you know why that is? One small reason might be that you are comfortable enough with them to ask, but the biggest reason is that they most likely never (or rarely, for that case) say “NO”.
Does the mere thought of telling someone “no” to a request; even something relatively small make you queasy and light-headed? Yes, I can relate and if that’s the case then you need to take some notes! Your sanity and life’s happiness depends on it! I have a few tips to start using TODAY and help you feel empowered; and less “guilty” of starting this new habit. (sidenote: “guilt” is a response to doing some wrong, taking care of your needs and your family’s needs instead of putting someone else’s request above these is never ‘wrong’)
When you say “YES” to something, did you ever take the time to realize you are saying “NO” to something else? Most often, these things we are saying NO to are the most dear to our hearts…and yet, we continue to do it. Why? Because we worry what others will think of us, right? Do those same people stop their lives for you and do they pay your bills and help you with the most important things in your life?
I would imagine for most of us, this would be a NO. (unless this “person” is your parent and you are still under-age and living at home)
So how do we decipher when to say “NO” (hint: 80% of the time) and when to say “YES” to these requests? I’ll share what I did and how it’s helped me, although I have to keep reminding myself of this as time goes on because it’s easy to let old habits and behaviors creep back in.
- Take inventory of what and who is most important to you. To start; get that pen and paper out again and set your timer for 10-15 minutes. Begin writing down everyone in your life who you value; write down every role you hold in your life (this includes any and all categories such as; career, parent, spouse, family role, church/community roles, school, etc) and also everything you cannot imagine living without.
- Next, stop for a minute or two and just look at the list. Does it seem overwhelming? Mine did. I looked at all the roles I held in my daily life and wondered how the heck I hadn’t lost my mind yet. I was juggling a million different roles, carrying many people I loved on my back and just kept accepting more requests as the days went on.
- Now that you have a better idea of the amount of responsibilities you are working so hard on balancing out…let’s find the roles and areas that are most meaningful to you today. (I say “today” because after 6 months to a year or so, these may shift as life rolls along). Again, set your timer for 30-60 seconds (trust me speed is your friend on this practice) and without judging or overthinking, quickly circle the top 10-20 areas that mean the most to you today.
- Once again, set your timer for 15-30 seconds and as quickly as you can, go through the circled areas and “tick” off the top 6-7 areas. NO MORE!!
- These are you main focus now. If someone asks something of you anytime following this realization; your first response always sounds like this, “I’ll have to check my calendar and get back to you.” That is IT! Not anything else! Practice saying this to yourself out loud many times and then practice saying it to someone in your life that you can ask for help in this. Don’t think you’ll be able to do it without practice! I am speaking from personal experience!!! The first time I tried to say this, it sounded more like, “ummm….errrr….uhhhh…” Practice will make perfect as you go along so don’t worry if you stumble a few times at first. 😉
- Now that you have time to think about the person’s request, look back at your list of 6-7 most important people/roles list and ask yourself this question: “Does this help benefit any of my needs/roles/people circled here?”
- If the answer is no, then you aren’t able to do it. If the answer is yes, obviously go for it! How do you say NO? Again, practice this, “I’m sorry but I won’t be able to…” NO MORE! If you try to add any more information here, you will start to either: A) get yourself backed into a corner or B) sound ridiculous and guilty (which we clearly learned is not the issue)
So there you go. Start now and I would love to hear how it goes for you. Sure, you are going to stumble and screw it up a few times. You are going to feel like the biggest a-hole ever (which you are not…but you have created this role for yourself and it will take time to readjust). But over time, you are going to feel quite empowered and you are going to have less stress and more success to move forward in areas that never seem to get much attention.
Have you been wanting to take a class with your significant other but never had the “time”?? Well now you do! Because obviously, this benefits you and your loved one! Have you been promising to take a trip or spend some quality time with your daughter/son but never have the “time”? Now you do!! See how awesome this game is??
Now that we have this figured out, we will be moving on to bigger and better for the New Year…are you nervous??? Share below! And follow my blog for more fun and tips along the way!