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Saying No, Guilt Free

In light of my Friday, May 22 interview on San Diego's Fox 5 Morning News ('Ultimate Reminders,') here are my tips for saying no, guilt free, along with a few other links and goodies to help you have FUN wit this. Enjoy, and happy (almost) summer!

When you’re stressed to the max and still tempted to take on more, how do you say no without guilt? You can’t always do it all—but by being selective, you can find more enjoyment in what you do take on. And you can learn to say no with a smile!

1. Count the cost. The key here is not whether you say yes or no—but that you make your decision mindfully. Sometimes we count the cost of saying yes and figure out, “I know I’m going to pay through the nose for this, but you know what? I care enough about the cause or about the person asking that I’m going for it.”

Other times you might say, “This truly is going to cost too much, or it’s going to put me in a really bad mood.” That’s when it’s better to say no, or come up with an alternative, so you can breathe a sigh of relief.” There’s a lot to be said for maintaining a good mood. No one else can do it for us!

2. Rise above approval addiction. Nothing wrong with enjoying approval. The problem comes when that’s the thing driving our decisions. Talk about a recipe for burnout. Nobody ever died of disapproval—but a lot of us make life harder than it is by placing the approval of others above our own good health. What if everyone in the world liked you, except you? Too big of a price.

3. Learn to be “cheerfully crabby.” Figure out what you don’t want to do, and stop doing it. As an old friend of mine once said, “I don’t want to say grace over a plate of nachos!” Own it!

4. Unless you’re in court, don’t explain. Explaining should be optional. You’re going to handle it differently with your kids or your boss than you would with an acquaintance. But if you are going to explain, I would keep it brief, friendly, and unequivocal. Especially if something’s non-negotiable, why give the illusion that it is?

5. Be less available. Summer’s around the corner. If you want to have your relatives come stay with you, go for it. But if the very thought of that makes your neck hurt, make this the year you smile and recommend a hotel. You just don’t need to own other people’s dilemmas. That’s another recipe for burnout. As we said last week, be a saint, but not a martyr.

6. Say yes to the best. Life is supposed to be fun—not just the least possible drag. When we say yes to the people and activities we treasure the most, saying no in other areas becomes easy, and almost effortless. It might even become a guilty pleasure!

More Great Ideas on Saying No … So You Can Say YES to More Important Things!

Now’s the time to plan a stress-free, fun and very cool summer!
5 Tips to Take Back Your Life Already
10 Traits that Trump ‘Likable’
Swimming against a workaholic tide

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Gina DeLapa is America's Ultimate Reminders® Coach, a sought-after speaker, and the proud creator of the Ultimate Reminders® book series. Her wise and witty reminders ("Beware the organization whose response to a burning building is to form a committee") will make you laugh, stir your soul, and inspire your best. If you're not already getting her free Monday-Morning Pep Talk, be sure to sign up now at