Find out how to Put Your self First—With out Feeling So Yucky


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Why is it so onerous to say, “No”?

Nicely, for one, disappointing individuals feels horrible.

(You hate to be a flake.)

Possibly your star worker standing is dependent upon you saying, “Certain, I’ll keep late.”

Additionally, saying sure simply feels simpler, numerous the time.

For instance, while you say “sure, I’ll drive you to rugby,” it means a child who will get to apply on time, and also you returning to a peaceable home.


Each time you say “sure” to 1 factor, you’re saying “no” to one thing else.

For instance, while you say “sure” to:

  • Watching the children since you really feel responsible asking your partner to commerce off, you additionally say “no” to that health club membership you paid for, however not often use
  • Your boss’s midnight requests, anxiously checking your work e mail till late, you additionally say “no” to a full, restful evening’s sleep
  • Everybody else’s calls for (hello children, growing older mother and father, and the PTA), you additionally say “no” to these appointments together with your dentist or therapeutic massage therapist

The end result: You are feeling like a ragdoll, pulled and tossed in the direction of whoever wants you most. With no sense of your individual priorities, or the respite to are inclined to them, you’re left feeling overwhelmed, overburdened, anxious, and confused.

(Additionally: Howdy, resentment.)

However strive a thought experiment with us:

What for those who flipped your responses—saying “sure” to your self somewhat extra typically—and in flip, higher tending to your individual wants and targets?

And, what for those who stated “no” to extra of the issues that get in the way in which of that?

Within the following article, we’ll supply three challenges that will help you try this.

You’ll discover ways to select—with intention—when to say “sure” and when to say “no.”

One higher: You’ll construct the abilities to show down requests with out feeling so responsible, insecure, or uncomfortable.

And don’t fear:

This isn’t a 90’s speak show-style confrontation together with your family members. You don’t need to “full makeover” your life. Or inform somebody the place to shove it.

As an alternative, you’ll inch alongside a continuum of “no,” at your individual tempo.

With apply, you’ll discover a place for YOU in your to-do record, translating to higher well being, deeper restoration, and extra vitality.

You’ll be able to’t management different individuals’s requests of you, however saying “no” is inside your energy. And it’s one of the efficient issues you are able to do to handle stress.

Able to strive it? Let’s go.

Problem #1: Observe your time, vitality, and a spotlight

One motive you would possibly comply with do too many issues:

It’s possible you’ll not truly know the place your time, vitality, and a spotlight are going.

And not using a clear sense of how a lot time you have got in a day—and the way you spend it—it’s straightforward to imagine issues like:

“Oh, in fact I can practice that new worker!”


“Most days, I don’t even have 5 minutes to myself.”

You would possibly each over- and underestimate how a lot time you have got in a day.

This problem will assist you see—on paper—the place your time goes. With this info, you’ll be capable of extra consciously resolve the place you need your time to go.

To do it:

Choose a monitoring technique.

Obtain our Planning and Time Use Worksheet, use a time-tracking app, or create your individual time-tracking system by utilizing a pocket book or calendar.

Document your each day actions.

Take note of what drains your vitality and a spotlight—in addition to what boosts it. This info will come in useful in problem #2.

Analyze your information.

After monitoring for a minimum of a day, take a look at your diary.

Any patterns or surprises? Is your time, vitality, and a spotlight going the place you’d assumed? Are you spending extra (or much less) time on sure duties than you thought? Lastly, do you be ok with the place your time, vitality, and a spotlight are going?

Whilst you do that, be trustworthy, but additionally variety to your self. Chances are high, this activity will reveal some uncomfortable truths.

Right here’s an instance of a typical day {that a} consumer—a middle-class mum or dad with a full-time job and three kids underneath 10—shared with us.

6:30 AM-8:30 AMLeap off the bed after hitting snooze, wrangle children, put together breakfast whereas checking work texts and emails from telephone, get children off to high school and daycare
8:30 AM-2:30 PMConferences and calls. Skip lunch, work straight via
2:30 PMOn telephone to insurance coverage firm whereas answering work emails
3:30 PMChoose up children from college; scarf handfuls of their uneaten lunches whereas driving residence to make 4 PM work assembly
4 PMWork assembly whereas making children after-school snacks and placing in a load of laundry as a result of youngest wants clear soccer uniform for apply at 6:30 PM
5:30 PMRushed “dinner” (inhaling meals whereas arguing with partner about who has to drive)
6:20 PMHop in automotive whereas yelling at children to rush up; pace to a few completely different practices and classes, one for every child
7:30 PMReply work emails and texts whereas on sidelines and sitting in automotive ready for teenagers
8:15 PMAgain residence; uncover one child wants cupcakes for a category birthday tomorrow. Bake one thing from a combination whereas making an attempt to wash and put children to mattress, assessment homework, make lunches for tomorrow
10:30 PMSit in mattress exhausted, half-watching a real crime present with partner, nonetheless answering work texts and emails
12:30 AMLie awake worrying about tomorrow

As you possibly can see, she’s left zero house for… herself.

Not surprisingly, this consumer feels exhausted, overwhelmed, and anxious.

For many individuals, the above problem is transformative.

It helps them see—generally with painful readability—what their lived priorities are.

For instance, the above consumer didn’t consider themselves as a “slave to work.” However her time diary revealed in a different way.

Problem #2: Select (deliberately) tips on how to spend your time

One more reason you would possibly say “sure” as a default response:

You don’t absolutely perceive the tradeoffs.

In different phrases, while you say “sure,” you’re not conscious of every part you’re saying “no” to on the identical time.

This problem helps you get actual with these tradeoffs, and give you a stability of “yeses” and “nos” that higher displays your targets.

To do it:

Create a chart that represents your present actuality.

Take your information from problem #1—and create a pie chart that reveals the way you spend your time, vitality, and a spotlight on a typical day.

Your pie chart represents 100% of your complete capability. Identical to you possibly can’t negotiate a 26-hour day, you possibly can’t do greater than 100%.

Your time is finite.

However as you begin including up elements, you would possibly discover that you just’ve been making an attempt to stuff 48 hours value of stuff—or extra—into one 24-hour cycle.

Or possibly you’ve been considering your day is usually dedicated to productive actions which can be aligned together with your broader values and targets…

… However then you definately uncover you spend a minimum of an hour a day preventing together with your wardrobe (why does nothing match?!), after which one other two hours scrolling via “aspirational” health accounts, making you are feeling even worse about your too-tight pants.

In different phrases, earlier than doing this problem, you would possibly assume that your day appears just like the fantasy beneath:

In actuality, nevertheless, it’d actually look extra like this…

No marvel you are feeling crummy. (Most surprising: Wiping your children’ / canine’ butts is the least of your woes!)

Determine in case your pie slices are allotted to belongings you really care about.

Think about every part of your chart, and ask your self two questions:

  1. How a lot time, vitality, and a spotlight am I giving this proper now?
  2. How a lot do I WANT to present? In different phrases, would you like that pie slice to be… larger? Smaller? Or—poof!—gone? What are your hopes right here?

It could possibly assist to consider these questions visually, because the beneath graphic reveals.

Create your dream pie chart.

This represents the way you need to spend your time, vitality, and a spotlight. Possibly your new actuality appears one thing just like the beneath.

Nonetheless wiping butts (hey, must be completed).

However right here, there’s a stability between output (you caring and offering for others) and enter (you recovering, filling your individual cup).

(And keep in mind: Your time continues to be finite.)

In fact, the above is simply an instance.

Your pie chart will mirror your individual priorities, targets, and values. (Your values are the belongings you think about most essential, and sometimes drive decisions and behaviors.)

It would take you a couple of tries to get your pie chart the way in which you need it.

Mess around with it. Experiment with making some slices somewhat larger or smaller till you find yourself with one thing that’s a superb match—for you.

Most significantly, your dream pie ought to encourage a sense of “ahhhh.” A sigh of reduction, but additionally a way of pleasure and vitality.

Subsequent, you’ll work in the direction of tips on how to make that “dream pie” extra of a actuality.

Problem #3: Apply saying no

Together with your superb pie chart in thoughts, you now have a visible that may assist you resolve what to say “no” to and what to say “sure” to.

However now, you’ll have to put it into apply.

And meaning studying to truly say “no” to an precise individual whose opinion issues to you.


However we’ve received your again, with a apply from Pam Ruhland, certainly one of our in-house PN supercoaches, that’ll assist you ease into saying “no” with extra confidence.

To do it:

Think about some “no” challenges.

Take into consideration the way you’ll flip down requests on your time, vitality, and a spotlight that sit outdoors of your “pie chart of priorities.”

Undergo some hypothetical eventualities and give you various responses to them. It could possibly assist to consider previous obligations you took on that you just ended up wishing you’d stated no to.

How do you want you’d’ve responded?

Generally, you would possibly wish to hold your reply brief, saying “No, I don’t have the bandwidth for that.” Or just, “No.” (Sure, “No” is a full sentence!)

Different instances you would possibly wish to mix a “no” with a “sure”—a compromise of kinds. For instance:

▶ I can’t make that assembly [no to request]. Can we do it at X time as a substitute? [yes to an alternative, or compromise]

▶ I can’t tackle that venture proper now [no to request], however I do know somebody superior who has a little bit of time proper now and would love the chance [yes, but for someone who wants to say yes].

▶ I can’t converse at that occasion if I’ve to journey [no to request], but when I could be a digital speaker, I’d be glad to take part [yes, but only under certain conditions].

Think about conditions previously the place it’s been onerous so that you can prioritize your wants, and consider the place alongside the continuum of “no” you want you’d responded with.

Attempt some mirror apply.

Have a look at your self within the mirror and apply some variations of claiming “no.”

Possibly, think about that individual you care about that’s actually stretching you skinny proper now—and say “no” to them.

Enable your self to really feel that uncomfortable feeling that comes up for you while you flip somebody down. Say “no” kindly and respectfully, however firmly.

For instance:

  • “I utterly sympathize together with your state of affairs; I’m simply not out there.”
  • “It’s actually considerate of you to ask, however I can’t do it.”
  • “Oh wow, that does look scrumptious. I’m full although.”
  • “As I stated, I’m not out there after 6 PM.”
  • “I’ve chosen to not drink proper now. Please respect my alternative.”

This train would possibly really feel foolish (whats up, you’re speaking to you—in your housecoat no much less) however it nonetheless would possibly convey up some emotion.

You would possibly really feel responsible, self-indulgent, or hear the echoes of a mum or dad who used to inform you it was rude to show down dessert, or lazy to show down work.

Maintain working towards within the mirror till the yucky feeling subsides (though it could by no means go away utterly).

Acknowledge how tough it may be to so clearly state your boundaries, and provides your self a pat on the again.

It’s showtime! Say “no” in actual life.

Revisit your time diary and select somebody / one thing to say “no” to.

Know this: The primary time would be the hardest. Begin small, in conditions you are feeling assured you possibly can deal with.

Certain, some individuals may not be glad together with your response. In spite of everything, they appreciated having somebody to bail them out—anytime, anyplace.

Nevertheless, you’ll in all probability discover that most individuals will settle for your reply and nonetheless such as you—and a few of them will respect you extra.

However the larger payoff?

You are taking again some management over your life.

As an alternative of ready on your child, your boss, or a magic fairy to say to you, “ what? You deserve some YOU time,” you take the reins.

You resolve what’s essential, and elbow that point out for your self.

If you do, you give your self a greater probability on the form of life you’ve at all times needed—one with much less stress, nervousness, and overwhelm, and extra intention, vitality, and pleasure.

That’s not solely good for you, however for everybody.

When you’re a well being and health coach…

Studying tips on how to assist shoppers handle stress, construct resilience, and optimize sleep and restoration might be deeply transformative—for each of you.

It helps shoppers get “unstuck” and makes every part else simpler—whether or not they wish to eat higher, transfer extra, drop some weight, or reclaim their well being.

And for coaches: It offers you a rarified ability that can set you aside as an elite change maker.

The brand-new PN Degree 1 Sleep, Stress Administration, and Restoration Teaching Certification will present you ways.

Need to know extra?


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