The word no can be a touchy subject and learning to say no can be a difficult skill to balance.
Everything in life needs balance and too much of anything typically has a negative outcome.
In this article I’m referring to the balance of saying no vs saying yes, pertaining to nutrition, health , and mindset.
For most people it’s natural to say yes more often than saying no.
Saying yes can be great, for example it leaves a smile on people’s faces and it even makes us as individuals feel like we did something good by pleasing others wishes.
We live in a world that currently lauds the power of yes.
It’s a trend: numerous blogs, self-help books, and even plots of novels and movies suggest that saying yes unlocks more from life.
So why am I saying yes is bad?
First we need to learn why it’s natural behavior to say yes and feel guilty for saying no.
Then we need to look into why saying yes to often can lead to problems in your life and when it comes to your health.
If you have personal goals for your life and health, saying yes to often to friends and loved ones could actually be holding you back.
Many may think this is selfish but it’s actually the opposite and it saying yes too often can develop into a disease to please.
The Disease to Please: Why You Say Yes?
Why do you say yes so often?
Is it culture, how we were raised, feeling of guilt or is it just pure pleasure to please others?
How much of a people pleaser are you?
Often, people who regularly respond to requests with a yes rather than a no don’t recognize their willingness or selflessness as a hindrance to their own progress and happiness.
Ask yourself these questions.
- find you don’t have enough time to exercise, relax, get enough sleep, or accomplish what you set out to do?
- Are you often unable to express yourself or ask for what you want?
- say yes and then regret committing to what was asked of you?
- feel guilty when you turn someone down?
- resent the person who asked?
- have a need to be loved or liked?
- feel duped or manipulated once you’ve agreed to help out?
- some of your relationships feel one-sided? Do you find yourself asking, “What does this person do for me, if anything?”
- people see you as someone who is always available?
- your fear of missing a fun event or fear of being left out influence how you respond to invitations or plans to get together?
- you seem to be the person called on to make personal sacrifices whenever there is a problem?
- you wish to be seen as the responsible, reliable person?
If you had more yeses than nos, you probably say yes too often—you have the “disease” to please.
Your yes man disease
If you are someone who does things for others, leaving little to no time for yourself, and often feel at your wit’s end, put yourself in the “people-pleaser” category.
There can be a few things that lead to the diseased mindset.
You may be reluctant to state your needs, and by not stating your needs, you’re leaving the door open to saying yes.
Yes is the default position for many over committed people.
After all, busy people get things done.
Maybe you hate confrontation. For you, yes is the path of least resistance and the way to avoid damaging your relationship with the asker.
Perhaps you like being needed and have gotten into the habit of being amenable. You enjoy the feelings of being liked or loved that emanate from saying yes.
Sometimes many are are driven to say yes too much because you fear you will miss something fun or important.
In moderation, being available is a good thing. Self-sacrificing, on the other hand, is not.
Yes-people become weighed down, feel torn, trapped, or taken advantage of, and are often annoyed with themselves for being easy marks.
The damage of saying yes indiscriminately affects you much more than your refusals affect the people you turn down.
why no is important
It takes time to start seeing the true power of no—to protect your time, balance your relationships, safe-guard your health, and create positive change.
Before you can fully embrace no, you have to understand why no is important.
Being on a yes-treadmill is an unhealthy place to be.
A perpetual diet of yeses is depleting and not good for the mind or the body.
Stress and frustration build; added stress can affect your sleep and temperament and lead to depression.
Feeling “under the gun” too often can also cause stomachaches or headaches and contribute to habits, such as overeating, that some
use to cope with stress.
In short, by saying no more often, you keep your stress level in check, avoiding possible health complications.
No: A Learned Skill Example: physique goals.
At family dinners you do not have to say yes to every dish your mother or father cooks for supper.
Instead learn to say no to some items and stick to your goals and what’s important to you.
They may not understand and they sometimes will be disappointed. In the end your loved ones will soon let it go and the discomfort will pass.
The more you say no at the dinner table to certain foods, eventually they will accept your wishes and not ask as much. They will become understanding to your wishes.
Saying no to the food will lead to guilt and feelings of letting others down at first.
In the end you will feel better realizing the next day you reached your physique goal when you stand on the scale.
By this time no one is even thinking about the food from the night before or why you said no, life goes on.
This is just one example of saying no, saying no will have it’s levels of discomfort.
Becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable is a skill of it’s own.
Saying No: A Learned Skill: How to?
If you’re used to saying yes, saying no more often is going to be very foreign.
Think of the transition as a adventure into the unknown.
The goal of the adventure in the end: a calmer, Healthier and happier life.
Saying no will allow you to supervise your own life.
When you first start to tell people no, you might get the feelings of fear.
You have to understand that its not the actual situation of telling someone no that you fear.
What you fear are your thoughts about telling someone no.
A situation is only as big as you make it.
To master saying no, you may have to move out of your comfort zone.
Lean to view these discomforts from an observer’s perspective.
Do not over analyze your feelings right away, only observe and identify what causes you discomfort.
Just by shifting your mind to become consciously aware of the problem allows you to build the skill of confronting the problem head-on.
Your feelings of discomfort holding causing you to always say yes do not define you.
The actions you take in the present moment define you in that very moment.
Learn to recognize these feelings of discomfort before they subconsciously overwhelm you.You could say a persons level of success and happiness can be determined by the amount of uncomfortable and difficult decisions they have made. Click & Tweet!
Becoming comfortable with the uncomfortable is one of the secrets to a successful life, I write more on this subject here.
While saying no won’t change your personality, it will help you assert yourself and put an end to that empty feeling in the pit of your stomach when you commit beyond your stamina or to the point of draining your emotional reserves.
Over time and with practice, no will become your first option instead of a current, deeply ingrained propensity to say yes.
No: A learned Skill- Setting boundaries
To stop people from overstepping your boundaries, plan for what you want and reserve steadfast time slots—your family time, for example, or an hour when you get home from work to train, or after dinner.
When someone makes a request, you will know you don’t want to give up the time you’ve saved.
Make lists (daily, weekly, monthly, or long term) and make it a practice to check them before you agree to anything.
Post your list where you can see it as a reminder: tape it on your desk or put it in your cell phone—somewhere it’s readily accessible to act as a sort of conscience.
Equally effective: think about the things you want to stop doing. Jot them down to remind yourself.
Consider that each request may obliterate plans you’ve made.
Answering these questions before you respond will reinforce your new attitude and better mark your boundaries:
- Do I have the time?
- What do I have to give up to do this?
- pressured to get it done?
- be upset with myself after saying yes?
- Will I resent the person asking?
- feel duped, had, or coerced?
- Why am I agreeing? What’s the gain?
It’s frustrating when you can’t get to what you want on a given day or accomplish goals you had percolating for months, possibly years.
Hours and days vanish in a flash of getting sidetracked.
By saying no, you state your opinion, stand up for yourself, and become sole proprietor of your life.
Begin by using a few refusals here and there as a testing ground.
The first no to a person makes subsequent refusals easier.
A short statement to express your denial is sufficient.
Lengthy explanations leave wiggle room for debate or misinterpretation or can tacitly grant permission to ask again.
People don’t think about you as much as you worry about what they think.
As soon as you say no, they move on to find someone to do what they are asking or get over it.
Think of no as your assistant, your cheerleader, the vehicle to become your best self.
Saying no improves your state of mind and frees you to stay on course—your course—and feel more purposeful.
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