Saying yes to everything is something many of us do in our goals to please everyone. However, it is important to know that it is okay to say no, especially when you have a lot of obligations already. Check out these tips on how to stop saying yes all the time (even when you absolutely would so absolutely rather not):

A great place to start is to assess your priorities and set clear boundaries. It is always important to understand what is most important to you and think ahead about what kind of opportunities will provide you with the most value and what opportunities may not be able to offer as much benefit. This way, you will have a clearer picture of what potential opportunities you will be sure to say “Yes!” to, and what opportunities you can give a hard “No.” Having unclear boundaries will make it difficult to say no to things even if they cause discomfort.

It is also important to understand your current time commitments. It is not always a good idea to take on every opportunity available to you. When you have too much on your plate, the quality of your work and life will usually diminish as your stress to complete a myriad of tasks increases. Understanding what is feasible to you will allow you to make the most of your time. It is always better to commit yourself to three things that you can do well with passion than 18 things that you cannot complete competently.

Next, be sure to get clear on your personal values. All decisions you make are a reflection of the values you honor. When you set a good moral compass and understand your own self-worth and value, it will be easier to say no to things that do not fill your cup. 

When asked to commit to something you are unsure of, be sure to utilize phrases like, “I’ll let you know” and “Let me get back to you.” When asked to take on something new, it can often catch us off guard when we’re least expecting it. Thus, many people will agree to requests without thinking them through. It is always important to know that you deserve the opportunity to think about the offer before committing to a decision. Simple phrases like “Let me get back to you” are a great way to give you a chance to reassess your priorities and give you a chance to curate a proper “No.”

The phrase, “Yes, and” can also be helpful! When you’re faced with an opportunity you do want to take but have reservations about, use the phrase “Yes, and” to show your willingness but also share some of the constraints you may have. You can open up a conversation to find a suitable compromise in the case you are constrained by time or other projects.

Remember to say yes to what you want. People will often sacrifice the things they want to do when they say yes to things they would have rather said no to. It’s important to put yourself and your needs first, so you have time to explore your passions.

Finally, what might be the most difficult step to complete is to stop worrying what others think. Avoiding the disappointment of those around us is usually a key motivator to saying yes to things even if they inconvenience us and provide no value. Overthinking about what others may think of us is a debilitating habit because what we assume others are thinking is usually wrong. No matter what others may think, it is more than okay to say no.

Saying no will get easier with practice and time. Hopefully these tips can help you set your priorities and life straight! Check out these links for more information: