7 ways to say no without feeling guilty

It’s such a small word but so difficult to use sometimes. We seem to use this word so easily with our spouse and children but have a hard time saying it to other people. So the trick is to figure out how and when to say no.

I’m not saying that you should be selfish and never help anybody out. However, most people are running around stressed because they’re saying yes to everybody but themselves.

You should only be saying yes when you genuinely want to do something, you feel excitement at the thought of doing it or it ties in with your life goals or definition of success.


1. You don’t have to have another appointment first in order to say no

If you’ve planned to have an evening in (bubble bath, reading, TV, tidying the house) and you get invited out, this does not automatically mean you have to accept. An appointment with yourself is just as important as one with other people. Value your time!

2. Realise that when you say yes to one thing, you ALWAYS say no to something else

When this happens, you usually say no to the more important parts of your life – God, family, yourself. For example, you’re asked to help out on a committee at your child’s school. You could end up so busy with committee work that you deprive your child of quality time. Another example is saying yes to everybody at work collecting money for birthdays, leaving presents, etc, and no to your own financial future.

3. Don’t instinctively say yes. Buy time to think about it first.

Always check your diary first before committing to plans. Or just take a deep breath. Otherwise you end up saying yes to everything and at the end of a hectic period, you’re virtually burnt out.

4. It becomes easier to say yes the more you practise

At first when you have to say no to something or someone, it feels terrible. But it is incredibly empowering when you realise that you made the correct decision in saying no. It is an acquired skill and the more you use your “no” muscle, the stronger it’ll get. I promise.

5. When you say yes and you feel resentment, it means that you should have said no

Learn to listen to your heart. The Bible says that we mustn’t give grudgingly or under compulsion, and yet, so many of us do. We say yes, and harbour deep feelings of resentment and bitterness. Nothing good comes from a resentful attitude.

6. Saying no comes easier when you are confident in your own capabilities

When you say no firmly and without apology, it affirms your self-worth and it’s a way to stand up for yourself. Men seem to do really well at this but women seem to want to explain everything and apologise while they’re saying no.

7. You don’t have to be rude or ugly about it – there are many ways to say no

No can be “I can’t help you this time”, “I can only do it next month”, “that’s not my strong suit” or simply “no, thanks”.


1. Make a quality decision this week to look at your schedule and see where you’re saying yes to activities or commitments that don’t support your goals. Then, work at saying no to them so you can say yes to more important things.

2. If you need help or support, contact me for a once-off coaching session to help get you unstuck or book a get-acquainted chat with me to see if we’re a good fit for a monthly coaching relationship.


1. How to say no …and live to tell about it – Mary Byers (one of my absolute FAVOURITES on time mastery – I bought this one in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for 33 Ringgit 🙂 many moons ago)

2. Book a Success Strategy Session with me and let’s brainstorm why and how to overcome your limiting people-pleasing behaviour.

 On a scale of 1 – 10 with 1 being “I’m terrible at saying no” and 10 being “it’s easy for me to say no”, where do you think you fall?


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  1. I really needed to see a post like this as school will be starting very soon around here! Those are excellent tips and I see myself in many of them. I think I used to be a 1 but last year made a conscious effort to say no more often and while I wasn’t as successful as I hoped (It’s very hard to say no to people you respect and admire or when you feel as though an organization is depending on you), I do think I managed to get myself to perhaps a 4. Nowhere to go but up when you start at the bottom of the scale 🙂

  2. Mmmm…last year this time I was a 4. I am now a 5.5 and I am still working on improving this. I actually want to be a 10 an I find that it really does get easier the more you do it.

Speak Your Mind


CommentLuv badge