When is the last time you laughed? I mean, really laughed…cheeks hurt, belly hurt laughed?
If you’re smiling at the memory, these tips will help you to create more of these happy moments and memories. If you’re still trying to remember, I recommend you drop everything and read this.
You must learn to say no.
We are so very skilled at saying yes. We say it to everyone else so often we never seem to have enough time for ourselves. We’re used to it and it seems fine. Until it’s not. Until we can’t remember the last time we laughed.
Reflect for a moment—who do you say yes to when you want to say no? Why do you find yourself doing that? What pressures do you feel? What are you afraid will happen if you say no?
Now look at the true effects of saying yes to everyone else’s priorities. What do you see? Chances are, it's not good.
By learning to say "no" to other people, you're learning to say "yes" to your joy. Here are five steps to help you on your path to greater joy:
Prepare: Pick your words in advance. Here are some of my go-to "no" statements:
- No, thank you!
- No, that doesn’t work for me.
- No, I can’t do that, but I would like to do this.
- No. I have other plans. (Pro-Tip: I use this one even if my plans are to binge-watch my favorite show while wearing sweats and eating chips.)
Plan: Pick a day that will be your "no"-day. This is when you’ll begin honoring your priorities.
Practice: Say your "no" out loud to yourself, to the mirror, and in your car. Practice until the words feel natural.
Pause: This is the simplest trick of all. Anytime you can say yes or no, wait. You are allowed not to answer immediately. In person or on the phone, you can say you need to think about it. You don’t have to respond to a text or email right away either.
Power: Own your "no". Don’t defend it. Just say "no." It’s a complete sentence all by itself. No.
Not everyone will love your new skill right away, and that’s ok. They will most likely come to enjoy the new more relaxed and peaceful you. The you that gets to spend more time doing things that make your heart sing. The more joyful you.
Now go make a list of what makes you smile. Protect your joy. Choose your joy. Create your Joy.
Are you a "yes"-woman? What do you find yourself struggling to stay no to? What joy would you like to protect? Leave it in the comments below!
Jennifer Embery is an empowerment coach and speaker who connects women to their joy so they design a life that enables them to create the change they wish to see in the world. She spent 24 years in corporate America in the adult learning & development field, with 14 of those years in leadership. Then she chose joy. Through her own journey, she was inspired to help other women to do the same.