The secret to stress-free living.

The secret to stress-free living. March 13, 2013

I believe that the two words that have the most power are the simple words “Yes” and “No,” and when and how you use them will have more impact on your life than nearly another factor. Personally, I have a hard time saying “No.” I’m really more of a “Yes” kind of guy, but I’ve found out the hard way that saying “Yes” too often can lead to disaster.

“Dad, can we have ice cream for breakfast?” “Sure! I think I’ll have some too!”

“Dave, can you please take on this big commitment that you don’t have time to do?” “Okay! I’ll find time.”

“Sir, could I talk to you about how purchasing a Time Share could be a great investment?” “Sounds awesome!” 

I’ve had to learn the hard way that without a healthy amount of “No’s,” I end up overcommitted, broke, burned out, stressed out and ineffective. Maybe you can relate to what I’m saying. Perhaps you’ve gotten into the habit of saying “Yes” a little too often and it’s time to push the “No Button” a little more frequently.

So, how do we do it? How do we restore balance and healthy boundaries into our life? Here are a few tips that I’m learning…

1. Always take time before committing.

Get out of the habit of immediately saying “Yes” and replace it with “Maybe” or “That sounds like an interesting opportunity. Give me some time to think it over.” There’s wisdom in thinking before committing. A quick decision is rarely a wise decision. Be very slow and cautious to make commitments, but then always keep the commitments you make.

2. Realize that every “Yes” means “No” for something else.

Every time I commit to something, I’m taking time and energy away from other relationship and priorities to do it. Every “Yes” comes with a cost and I need to be intentional and wise about investing in the right opportunities.

3. Don’t Give Excuses.

When I do say ‘No,” I find myself immediately wanting to rattle off a bunch of good reasons why I can’t say “Yes” and might ultimately talk myself into changing my mind. The bottom line is I don’t need to justify my decision. A simple, “Thank you, but I can’t commit to that right now,” is plenty.

4. Remember what Matters Most!

Don’t let too many “Yes’s” redefine your priorities. My Faith, My Family and My Health have to take priority and I don’t want to jeopardize any of them just to appease or impress people. If you don’t set your priorities, someone else will set them for you!

I’m writing all this as a guy who still has a lot to learn, so I would love to hear from You. What have you done to bring balance to your schedule? How have you protected yourself and your family from overcommitment?

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  • Candace Hiers

    Awesome! I needed that! !

  • Charlotte

    Good article and very true. I am working on this too. Just wish I had to way to not let the guilt when I say No get to me. 🙂 I really have to work on the not making excuses thing.

  • Diana B

    The reason why I am reading this article is because of my persistent desire of pleasing others. My life is not exactly in order and now I understand why. I thought I was coming in here to read about a meditation or some kind of breathing technique, but I find something completely different and I understand now why I have so much stress! I am not prioritizing correctly!
    Thank you so much.

  • antoinette.clay

    I have a problem with saying no in the past always feeling bad when saying. No to people. I have made some adjustment and will take your suggestions and apply them today.

  • Bekah

    Your statement that “every ‘yes’ means ‘no’ for something else” really clicked for me. I tend to be an excuses woman when it comes to saying no. But that statement made me realize, I do not have to justify my no to others when I can recognize in my self I will let myself down if I say yes. Someone else feeling better because of my excuse, or me eventually giving in because I fall victim due to the “lame” excuse it may be, does not need to over rule my no to a commitment I should not keep. Another yes in my life will be let down and that is not okay.

    Thank you for this! Very encouraging!