I love fall. I love new school shoes, sharpened No. 2 pencils, candy corn and the crisp morning air. It’s also the time of year when activities start back up, paper piles up, and sales gear up (that pesky little financial downturn has made it mighty tempting to hit the mall and take advantage of low prices). All of this newness can make it really easy to say “yes.” Yes to activities, yes to volunteering, yes to buying…yes, yes, yes! But it’s important to realize that just about every time you say “yes” to one thing, what you’re really doing is saying “no” to something else. Remember…space and time are not infinite. Harness the power of the word “no” so you can keep your time and your stuff under control.
Just say “no” to time thieves
You’ve heard it a million times…there are only 24 hours in a day, so it’s up to you to make the most of them. Yet we all find ourselves trying to cram more and more into that finite amount of time. And often what has to give is sleep, exercise, or quality time with loved ones or yourself. Decide now to live your life differently by embracing the power of the word “no.” First, you must know what really matters to you. Take 5 minutes and write down the things that mean the most to you in your life. Go ahead…do it right now…I’ll wait. Once you’ve established what goes on this list, it should be easier to say “no” to things that are less important. If you find that saying “no” to a request for your time is difficult, then practice. Look in the mirror and say “No, that just doesn’t fit into my schedule right now.” (I know this sounds goofy, but you’ll thank me when you can say it with authority and stick by it!). Or if that feels too challenging, at least practice saying “Let me think about it and get back to you.”
Just say “no” to procrastination
Sometimes, saying “no” to something helps you re-evaluate your goals. If you find you’re putting something off, give yourself permission to say “no” to it. Usually, if it’s still important to you, your will to achieve it will overcome the “no” and you’ll jump right into the task. But maybe your goals have changed and it’s no longer important to you. By saying “no” to it, you’re giving yourself permission to move on and say “yes” to something else.
Just say “no” to clutter
Saying “no” can also come in handy when managing all of the physical stuff in your life. If you want to stay on top of your clutter, it’s important to adopt a “one in, one out” rule in your household. If your closet is bursting at the seams, you need to recognize that nothing new can go in until something old goes out (and if it’s super full, you may need a “one in, two or three out” rule until it gets under control!). Same goes for books, kitchen equipment, furniture, and other house hold items. If you see something you’re in love with and just have to buy, decide now where it’s going to go in your house and decide what you must say “no” to in order to accommodate it.
Next time you find yourself saying “yes” to something that is going to take up space in your life, just say “no” instead. I think you’ll find that saying “no” to one thing is really saying “yes” to yourself and the things that matter most.