Saying No and the Stop Doing List

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: we all have the same 24 hours in a day.

When it comes to trying to achieve our goals, it’s not enough for us to decide to start doing certain things (such as working out more, eating better, creating an emergency fund, etc.). We also have to stop doing other things.

Part of saying “yes” to the best things in our lives involves saying “no” to things that are perhaps good, but not the best things, at least not at this moment in our lives.

Saying yes 2 the best things = saying “no” to good things that aren't best #goals Click To Tweet

We All Need to Find Our Own Stop Doing List

As to what those things you’ll need to say no to, you’ll need to decide on those for yourself, because it will vary for each person.

For example, if you want to be a more attentive parent, you may need to say no to your smartphone. I was actually an early smartphone user (I got a blackberry back in 2008, before it was cool). I loved it, because it enabled me to not be chained to my computer all day long doing tech support. I could answer questions on the go.

However, the smartphone soon started to invade my life in not-so-good ways. It was constantly calling my name, begging to be looked at, played with, and attended to.

Eventually, due to financial issues, we switched to cheapie pay as you go phones from the Dollar Store, and I suddenly remembered what life was like before spending time looking at a screen. I would be thrilled if I got an iPhone, but I know at this moment it doesn’t fit my financial or personal goals, and that’s okay. (Sometimes I have to remind myself of this thought J)

What to Say No To

How do you decide what to say no to? I found it helpful to go through every area of my life, and think about:

What steals the time I’d rather spend on better things? Click To Tweet
  • What steals the time I’d rather spend on better things?
  • What steals the money I’d rather spend/save towards better things?
  • What steals my joy when I’m involved in it?
  • Are there people in my life that drag me down constantly or push me towards bad choices?

That last one is a tough one, but if you have someone in your life who constantly brings you down, and pressures you towards bad decisions, some time off from that person might be a good idea.

How to Say No

Knowing what to say no to is one thing, but having the courage and ability to do it is another.

Saying no is almost like a muscle you’re exercising and building up. Click To Tweet

Here are a few things I’ve learned about saying no:

  • Just do it. Sometimes the easiest way to get started is to dive in. You don’t need special tools, tricks, apps, or self-help books to say no. Just say no the next time it comes up.
  • The more you say no to the less-than-best things, to easier it becomes. Saying no is almost like a muscle you’re exercising and building up.
  • Remind yourself of what you’re saying “yes” to as you say “no” to the less than best opportunities coming your way. Eyes on the prize, my friends. Remind yourself of what you’re saying “yes” to as you say “no” to the less than best Click To Tweet
  • You don’t have to give an explanation to anyone for your decisions, either as an individual or ones you decided on as a family. Explanations and excuses and reasons only serve to give them opportunity and fuel to try to convince you to say yes, partly out of a desire to get you involved, and partly from feeling convicted about their own inability to say no. You don’t have to give an explanation to anyone for your decision to say no to something Click To Tweet
  • Resist the urge to feel guilty about saying no to things that detract from what you know you need to be doing. Don’t let anyone else make you feel guilty for doing what you (and your family) have decided is really important.
  • “Small” obligations, involvements, and commitments are rarely as small as advertised. If you are not sure whether to say yes or no to some opportunity, at least get all of the facts (not the “advertised version”), before committing.
  • Just because something is on sale, doesn’t mean you have to buy it. You may be saving 20% by buying it now, but you’re saving 100% by not buying it at all. If you remind yourself of that truth, walking past sale racks of things you really don’t need at this moment becomes easier.
You may save 20% by buying now, but you save 100% by not buying at all. Click To Tweet

A Video from Rachel Cruze

Rachel Cruze (Dave Ramsey’s Daughter) does some great videos for young adults on money management. Right after I wrote the draft to this article, she put this up on You Tube. It syncs nicely with what I am trying to say.

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