Do you find yourself exhausted all the time? Is your plate always full? Are you running around and still not accomplishing everything on your to-do list? Do you feel like you can’t give 100% of your attention to everything going on in your life because there’s just too much?
You’re not alone. We run around all day long, saying yes to just about everything that’s asked of us, and then don’t have time to accomplish what we’ve agreed to do. Or worse yet, we’ve left no time for our family, community, or our own self-care.
I’m going to show you how easy it is to decide what you need to let go of in your life and how to graciously say no without feeling guilty the next time someone asks you to do something.
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I often hear people say that they need to create more margin in their life by getting up earlier, learning to work more efficiently and picking up the latest time management skill. While I’ll be the first to tell you that these do help when it comes to accomplishing more in your day, I believe it also comes down to giving up some things in your life in order to have the time, energy, and focus to do what’s really important.
When you say yes to one thing, you’re saying no to something else.
Therefore, it’s important to make sure that what you’re giving up is worth it.
Why do we commit before considering it?
Frequently when something is asked of us, we say yes right away without considering our other obligations or how it’ll affect our personal lives and families.
We immediately say yes because:
- We don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings.
- We’re embarrassed someone will think we’re incapable of do it.
- We’re afraid they’ll look down on us for saying no.
- We have a fear of missing out.
It seems pretty silly when you break it down like that. I mean, after all, when you try to do everything that comes your way, you aren’t able to give 100% of your attention to any given thing at any given time.
It’s time to let go of the need to try to please everyone. Truly, God’s opinion of you is the only one that matters. He is the only one you truly need to please.
Though I love social media, it’s brought with it several downfalls. There’s entirely too much comparison, shame, and embarrassment. There’s this ridiculous need to feel like you must live the “Pinterest” or “Instagram” life or you’re not a success.
There are very few, if any, people out there that truly have the “Pinterest perfect” life, and when you really begin to understand that and stop playing the comparison game, it becomes so incredibly freeing!
God created you to be exactly who you are. He gave each person special gifts and talents to bring glory to His kingdom. Therefore, there’s no need for any one person to do try to do it all. That was certainly not His intention.
4 Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, 5 so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other. Romans 12:4-5 NLT
Several years ago, a wise friend helped me see how important and true this really is. You see, she and her husband travel to Honduras twice a year to provide medical, dental, and ophthalmic care for a local community. (You can check out what they do here.)
For years I had been telling her that I wanted to go down and be a part of the team, but at that particular time, I was raising my boys, working outside the home, starting a business, suffering from my chronic illness, and leading the youth at church. A full-plate to say the least.
After telling her, again, that one of these days I would make it down there, she said, “Tammy, each of us has been created with specific gifts and talents and we can’t all be involved in the same ministry. God’s Kingdom is big and He calls each of us to different ministries in different seasons of our life.”
(I told you, she’s a wise one!)
She’s right. In that season of my life, I was raising my boys and my plate was full. My ministry at that time was at home.
You lose yourself in the process
Trying to do it all is the quickest way to burnout and exhaustion. Not many people can do everything well. It leaves you feeling exhausted, unsatisfied, unhappy and unfulfilled, but I don’t really need to tell you that, do I? If you’re reading this, then I have no doubt you know first hand how it feels.
When you try to be everything to everyone, you lose yourself.
You’re so busy giving all you have to everyone else and before you know it, several years have gone by and you discover that you’ve lost yourself somewhere along the way.
No is not a dirty word
The word no often has negative connotations, but truthfully, that two-letter word can actually bring so much freedom to your life.
It gives you the control to make better choices for you, your well being, and the well being of your family.
You’ll find more time to enjoy what really matters – God, family, and even the incredibly important, self-care (that’s not a dirty word either, but we’ll leave that for another post!).
Setting yourself up for success
The first crucial step in learning to graciously say no is to spend some time figuring out what’s truly important to you and your family.
I’ve put together a FREE printable, Learning to Let Go, to help walk you through this crucial step. You can download it for FREE in our community library. Simply subscribe below and get immediate access to it and all of our FREE resources…
Setting up these guidelines will help you let go of what’s not important, and make it easier to graciously say no when someone asks you for something that does not fit within your personal and family guidelines.
Start by determining where your priorities lie. Consider the following:
- What is most important to your family?
- What tasks cannot be given up?
- What things make you excited to jump out of bed in the morning?
- What are the things that make you anxious the minute you begin thinking about them?
(If you need some guidance on how to set your priorities, I highly recommend the Priority Living 5-day E-course by Living Our Priorities. I’ve taken this study myself and retake it every time I feel like my priorities begin to slip.)
It’s time to make some important decisions
Here’s where you’re going to find the freedom you so desperately need and crave.
Now that you have your personal and family guidelines, it’s time to start making some important choices.
- List out every responsibility that you have.
- Circle anything that you can not give up.
- Put a check mark next to the things that have to be done, but can be outsourced to someone else (including sharing the responsibility with your spouse or another family member).
- Referring back to your family guidelines, cross out everything that does not fit within your parameters.
Review that list and determine if anything on there can be outsourced.
Take grocery shopping, for instance. Because of my chronic illness and severe perfume and cologne trigger, going to the grocery store can wind up putting me in bed for the rest of the day (and sometimes days) so this is not a good use of my time. Therefore, my husband has taken this task over, reducing my risk of getting sick, and my time is better spent working on FOI or doing something productive around the house.
Another example would be cleaning. I love having a clean house, but I honestly hate doing it. At the moment, it’s on my have-to-do list, but as soon as the budget allows, we’ll be outsourcing this.
Now it’s time for the fun part. Take a red pen and make a nice, fat “x” on everything you’re going to cut out.
Ahhhh, do you feel it? It’s called freedom, my friend! Isn’t it glorious?!
Do you see how it works? Tradeoffs. You let go of what’s not important or isn’t a good fit any longer.
For now on when someone asks you to do something, if it doesn’t fall within your personal or family guidelines, you can graciously say no without feeling guilty. You’ll already know ahead of time that you’re doing what’s best for your family.
How to say no
This is the hard part. Actually looking at someone and telling them no without hurting their feelings or upsetting them. I get it, I really do. And it can be even more difficult if you’ve already said yes and now have to go back and tell them no.
There are two things you can do here.
- Suck it up and complete the task you’ve already agreed to. Then simply let them know that though you appreciate their confidence in you, it’s just not something you can continue to do without sacrificing your family.
- If it’s something you just can’t continue to do, explain that you’ve had to reconsider everything you have on your plate and have had to cut some things to make life easier on your family.
Most of the time, when you’re honest and explain why you’re saying no, they’ll understand.
In fact, if you tell them about this exercise and how it’s helped you to prioritize what’s truly important for your family, most people will respect you for it. Perhaps it’ll even encourage them to do the same thing in their own life.
Setting yourself up with these important practices is going to make it a lot easier to say no in the future.
You’ll be able to work more efficiently, accomplish more in your day, stay focused, and go to bed feeling like you succeeded instead of feeling defeated and exhausted every night.
You may still go to bed tired, but it’s going to be a “productive tired” from a job well done.
I’d love to hear from you! Leave me a comment below and tell me one thing you’re going to let go of starting today.
Don’t forget to grab our free printable, Learning to Let Go, to help walk you through the crucial steps of determining what to let go of in your life. Simply subscribe below to get instant access to it.
Thanks for taking the time to stop by the blog today. Be sure to pin this post so you can refer back to it later and share it with your friends!
Until next time…
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