“NO”vember—A Time to Start Saying “No”

“NO”vember—A Time to Start Saying “No”

“NO”vember: a time to start saying “no” to people, places and things that drain your energy. — @spiritualasylum

November is all about the word “NO.” For many of us, it is challenging to set limits, create boundaries and say no when necessary. This month, the focus is to practice saying no when needed. Truth is, it’s probably needed more than you realize.

The statement above is a good place to start. What are you saying yes to that later causes you regret? What are you agreeing to do that you notice builds resentment? What do you accommodate that doesn’t serve you? A very wise man (also known as my dad) suggested that I always ask myself (before I agree to anything), “how does this benefit me?” It’s a question I return to frequently and use to inform my decision making.

Why is saying no so difficult? Generally, it comes down to not wanting to disappoint others. As social creatures, we want to please others and to be looked upon favorably. Unfortunately, this can come at a great cost to ourselves. Remember, it is better to disappoint others than to disappoint yourself.

I say this frequently and it bears repeating: “No” is a full sentence. Let’s talk about where to start in setting limits and boundaries.

  • Pause:  When asked for something, whatever it may be, take a second before responding. Your initial reaction may be to say yes and then later you realize you wanted to say no. If you hit pause before responding, your genuine answer may come to the surface and you will be able to say no off the bat.
  • Check your facts:  As you pause, ask yourself some questions: Do I want to do this? How will it benefit me? What’s the risk if I say no? What do I need? These questions help get you into a wise-minded place and promote honesty.
  • Own it:  If your gut is giving you information about saying no, recognize that and own it. People can be disappointed and have their reactions to your limits—that doesn’t mean you should have said yes.
  • You can change your mind:  Sometimes, after we agree to something, we truly realize we need to change our mind and say no. We don’t follow this because we are concerned about the outcome. Much of the time, we can change our minds and set the boundaries and limits we needed from the beginning. If you need to do this, be open and honest, recognizing that you overextended and need to pull back. Recognize the impact this has on others and don’t over-apologize for taking care of yourself.

Boundaries and limits are something we all need. If we don’t create these for ourselves, we increase our risk for burnout in all areas of our lives. Take this month to focus on what you can say no to and where you need to create space and boundaries. No is in the name of the month, so it’s an easy reminder. What do you need to say NO to???

Authored by: Dr. Jennifer Hartstein