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There are only two words that will always lead you to success. Those words are yes and no. Undoubtedly, you’ve mastered saying yes. So start practicing saying no. Your goals depend on it!  (Jack Canfield)

Looking at the root issues of over commitment whether it is the result of codependency or lack of good boundaries over commitment is something that we often struggle with in our busy world.

No is a power word. It gives a definite sense of self. Children recognize its power very early and go through a stage where it is their favorite word. However, unless we learn to say no we will continue to be stressed and have too much to do and not enough time. And generally it is our ideas, our health, and quality time with our family or our self that suffer. Learning to say NO will release you from the burden of always pleasing others and give you more time and freedom to do what you want and need to do.

Ironically as we learn to say no more, we more than likely feel guilty. Choose to see this as a sign that you are making changes in your life.


  • When it’s someone else’s issue
  • When it’s something you don’t want to do
  • When there’s something you’d MUCH rather do
  • When it takes away from your values and wishes
  • When you think you’re taken for granted
  • When you deserve or need some time to yourself


  • When you’re stressed or overwhelmed
  • When you’re already doing too much
  • When you’re tired or sick, ask yourself: what things in your life do you need to say no to? Don’t overthink it, just write down whatever pops into your heads right now!
  1. ______________________________
  2. ______________________________
  3. ______________________________
  4. ______________________________
  5. ______________________________

What currently stops you from saying “no” to these things? What are your beliefs about saying “no” and what are your beliefs about saying “yes”? Why do you say “Yes” when you’d rather be saying No? How do you BENEFIT by saying “Yes”? Understanding this is an essential step to saying “No” – and valuing your goals, needs and time!

  • When I say “Yes” I feel ­­­­____________________
  • When I say “Yes” I want other people to think I am   ______________________
  • By saying “Yes”, what am I saying “No” to in my own life? _____________________
  • Remember: Whenever we say “Yes” to something, we are saying “No” to something else – even if that something is simply relaxing!
  • When I say “No” I feel ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­_______________________
  • When I say “No” I worry other people will think I am _________________
  • By saying “No”, I could say “Yes” to these things in my life ______________________
  • Lastly, when I say “Yes”, but I really want to say “No” I feel ________________
  • My biggest fears about saying “No” are ________________________

When we say “No” to something, it’s an opportunity to make room for something else that is truly important to us. In order to say “No” effectively you need to be in touch with what’s important to YOU – to know YOUR priorities in life. It’s then much easier to say “No” because we’re clear on what we want and need instead. Ask yourself:

    • What is MOST important to ME in life
    • How would I like to spend MORE time?
    • Where would I like to spend LESS time?
    • What is my top priority this year?
    • What is my top priority this month?
    • What is my top priority this week
    • If I had a magic wand I would ….

As with most things in life, there is no one size fits all answer. Everything depends on the relative importance of the situation, people affected, what’s going on in your life at the time, the person asking, your history with them etc. Changing gradually is just fine: If, in the past you have been a “Yes” person, you may want to gradually become a person who says “No”. You may want to take your time and practice on small things, working up. When “No” is the right answer for you, say it pleasantly, assertively and with conviction. If it leaves you feeling strong and good in yourself (even if there is a small amount of guilt) then you have made the right choice for you!