What do you really want in life? I mean REALLY want. What are the things you are targeting in your day-to-day life? If you sat down and watched a video of your life for the past few weeks or even months, what would the video reveal? Would it show that you are going after the things you really believe are important or would it show something else? Are you saying yes to the right things?
We all have a list of things we believe are, or should be, important to us. However, we can often get distracted from pursuing those things because we decided to go after something less important. As I revealed a couple of weeks ago, I am working toward weight loss. I am having some success…and then there was Thanksgiving. You know the rest of that story…
Every time I say “yes” to something, I am saying “no” to something else. What things in your life do you say “yes” to that cause you to say “no” to the things that are really important to you? Be honest with yourself about this. Chances are, there are a few things that routinely take you off course toward the less important things in your life. Saying yes to the right things requires us to be intentional. Here are four steps to help you make sure you’re on the right track.
Make a list of the things that are really important to you. Perhaps your family, career, spirituality, health, friends, or any number of things makes the list. Try to come up with at least the top 5 things. I have found that outside of the top 5, they tend to run together.
2. Determine what Activities Fit into Each Area
What activities are associated with improving my health? The same for family, career, spirituality, friends, etc. At the end of the day, what things do you do that actually improves these areas of life? This can be tricky. Spending time with family is important and improves family relationships. However, sitting in the same room with family members with everyone looking at a phone or iPad screen doesn’t really do much for improving family relationships. Yes, you’re together in the same place, much in the same way that oranges and lemons are in the same section of the grocery store.
What really does improve family relationships? Spending time playing a game, looking at Christmas lights, going out to dinner, a walk in the park, or even being snuggled up watching a movie together can improve family relationships. Do this for each of your top 5 areas.
As stated earlier, there are probably some typical things that cause you to say “no” to the important things in search of something else. Perhaps saying “yes” to friends frequently causes you to say “no” to your financial wellbeing. Maybe saying “yes” to work causes you to say “no” to family. What are the traps in your life – we all have them.
4. Decide ways to Say No in Advance
Once you have identified the things that cause you to say “no” to important stuff, plan ways to say no to that instead. This might be deciding a way to turn down a request for coffee or dinner with a friend when you already have a date with your spouse planned. It might be deciding how to say no to that golf game when you have an important project at work. It might mean saying no to someone in order to attend church on Sunday. Michael Hyatt has written a great article on how to say no when you feel pressured to say yes.
Remember, every time you say yes you are saying no to something else. Make sure you are saying yes to the right things!
What are some ways you have learned to say no to others gracefully? We would love to hear from you!