The Life Changing Magic of Saying No
Your No is just as important as your Yes.
Establishing a lifestyle that allows us to be healthy and well requires clarity on priorities. Our priorities set the groundwork for our actions and habits.
Once I made the decision to embed wellness into all parts of my lifestyle, I said Yes to everything that came with it (even if I wasn't aware exactly what that entailed). And I quickly realized that this decision also meant saying No to other things. I don't mean saying No forever and ever to what might be unhealthy for me. Wellness isn’t about restricting yourself or following a certain diet or workout routine perfectly, but about mindfully making choices that support the experience you want to have of your body, mind and spirit. So I made changes in moderation to create more time, space and energy to have a life of abundant wellbeing and see the results from my focus.
With the amount of time you have in a day, there are many opportunities for you to choose an action that reflects the results you want to experience, or an action that does not. This means that there are many choices for which you either are saying Yes to those desired results or saying No to them.
Our No can come in different forms: how we allocate our time, who we choose to interact with, situations on which we focus our emotional energy, and environments or spaces we choose to inhabit that are either conducive to our wellbeing or not.
I see various reasons why I have been and my clients have been hesitant to say No. The most common are:
It can just be uncomfortable. It often feels better in the moment to hit snooze on the alarm rather than doing an intense workout in the morning. There are many ways to hack your habits and set yourself up for inevitable success, which I work through with my coaching clients based on their lifestyle.
It can make you feel left out in our relationships. If your healthy eating habits mean you no longer join your favorite coworker for your usual afternoon donut break, then it can feel like you’re disconnected from someone you care about and enjoy being around. It’s up to you to find other ways to connect with friends and loved ones that are supportive of your wellbeing.
There are often mental barriers or limiting beliefs that cause us to sabotage ourselves because we may feel subconsciously that we are not deserving or worthy of feeling great and looking great. This is deeper work that I often help my clients overcome in my coaching practice.
Saying No does take a measure of confidence in your stance on the changes you are making and the lifestyle you are creating for yourself. But if you are not confident right now, know that you can build this up over time. And the best way to build up that confidence in your No is through practice and remembering your "why". It may feel uncomfortable to say No at first, but practicing it in real time will build your trust in your gut that you are making the right choice. And continuously connecting to the core reason, or your "why", that made you decide to make changes for your wellbeing helps keep you accountable.
There is often a negative perception around the word No as a rejection or denial of something. But remember, each time you want to say No to something that sabotages your wellness, you are saying a resolute Yes to you!