Monday, December 21, 2009

learn how to say 'no'

So many of us are overextended, but we need to remind ourselves that there are only 24 hours a day.

Saying 'No' is an art form and there are many reasons why we have so much trouble saying it, even if it's in our best interest to do so.

Some of the reasons include:

· we don't want to hurt the other person's feelings

· we don't want them to think negative thoughts such as we're being unkind

· we avoid it in order to try to escape confrontation

Many of us lack daily refusal skills. 'No' may be a mere two letters--but it is a powerful word. So what can you do to get a little better at saying ‘no’ and give yourself more time for what you want to do? Here are a few ideas.

1. Be brief, direct, and honest. Do not make excuses. People respect honesty. Be fair, and most of all remember to be fair to yourself.

2. Do not make commitments you are not prepared to keep. Take a minute and breathe before answering a request.

3. If you feel that you are unable to say 'no', especially to someone's face, say you 'need to think about it.' Call after you have thought about it for a day or two before you answer, but be honest with yourself.

4. Don't feel like you explain yourself. We don't give reasons when we say 'yes' so why should we have to give a reason for saying 'no.' A simple 'I appreciate you asking, but no thanks' will often do the trick. Kick your guilt to the curb!

5. Set limits. If you are only available to help a friend for 4 hours on Saturday, tell them that and stick to your limits. Keep in mind to be firm but polite.

6. Know what the expectations are. Before you make a commitment, make sure you understand what exactly is expected of you. Are you expected to organize the entire party or just cook a dessert?

7. Think ahead. Organize yourself. Have clear to-do lists and a calendar in order to allow you to know what is coming up and whether you are able to make another commitment.

8. Give some away. If nothing else works, remember to delegate some of your commitments to others. Delegation is the key to being a good leader. Break up things among family members, friends, organizations, or co-workers. Allow others to help you.

Now put one or two of these ideas into practice and start creating time for the people and activities you love…no guilt allowed!

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