Do those words roll easily off your tongue? Can you say them without stammering, apologizing, or feeling guilty? If not, you probably won’t stay on track with your goals and priorities for this year. Why? Because if you can’t say those words easily, you’re going to commit to things that aren’t important to you or your family, limiting the time and energy you can devote to the things that are.
Because when you say “yes,” to one thing, you almost always say “no” to something else. And very often the something else is the thing you really wanted to do.
So saying “yes” to “Can you serve as the fundraising chairperson this fall?” may mean saying “no” to your plan to organize your home, get rid of “stuff,” and live with less stress. And saying “yes” to “Can you coordinate the children’s programs at church this year?” may mean saying “no” to your plan to start eating well and exercising regularly. And agreeing to your 8-year-old child’s request to play traveling soccer almost certainly means that you won’t be relaxing with your husband and family on the weekends.
So why don’t women say those 5 words more often? Lots of reasons – we want people to like us, we feel more important when we’re busy, we’ve gotten into the habit of saying “yes,” or we just haven’t practiced saying them – to name a few. And sometimes, we don’t say them because staying busy keeps us from having to deal with issues or problems we’d rather not address.
I don’t like saying any of those words, primarily because I want people to like me. But recently I said “not anymore” to a volunteer job I had done for many years. I didn’t like saying it, and I’m pretty sure some people didn’t like hearing it! But I took the plunge, which allowed me to make time for things that are higher priority right now. And to be honest, it really wasn’t as hard as I expected!
So, if you’re working to create a calm and healthy life for you and your family and a fun and sexy marriage for you and your husband, you need to learn to say them too.
So let’s practice:
- “Can you serve as room mother this year?” No.
- “Mom, can I play soccer this season?” Not while you’re taking ballet. (Not now.)
- “I hope you’re planning to run the basketball concessions again this winter.” Sorry, not this year. (Not anymore.)
- “Can you take my shifts at work next weekend? No.
- “Can we go to the store tonight? I need new notebooks and paper for tomorrow.” Sorry, you should have asked me earlier. (Not now.)
- “You’re coordinating Vacation Bible School again this year, aren’t you?” No, it’s someone else’s turn. (Not anymore)
I think every woman can learn to say “no,” “not now,” and “not anymore” when she needs to, in order to say “yes” to the things she really values. However, if you find it difficult at first, try this – say, “I need to think/pray about it” or “I need to talk it over with my husband.” That buys you some time to think it through and discuss it with your husband, so the two of you are making decisions that involve big time commitments together.
In the long run, learning to say these 5 words can make the difference between living the life you really want and living the life others want you to live.
Is it easy or hard for you to say them? Have you discovered any strategies that make it easier? Please share your ideas in the Comments – I would love to hear from you.