How to Put Yourself First—without Feeling Selfish

by | Jun 30, 2022 | Health Blog | 0 comments


Why is it so exhausting to say, “No”?

Properly, for one, disappointing folks feels horrible.

(You hate to be a flake.)

Possibly your star worker standing is determined by you saying, “Positive, I’ll keep late.”

Additionally, saying sure simply feels simpler, a variety of the time.

For instance, whenever you say “sure, I’ll drive you to rugby,” it means a child who will get to follow on time, and also you returning to a peaceable home.


Each time you say “sure” to at least one factor, you’re saying “no” to one thing else.

For instance, whenever you say “sure” to:

  • Watching the youngsters since you really feel responsible asking your partner to commerce off, you additionally say “no” to that gymnasium membership you paid for, however hardly ever use
  • Your boss’s midnight requests, anxiously checking your work electronic mail till late, you additionally say “no” to a full, restful evening’s sleep
  • Everybody else’s calls for (hello children, growing old dad and mom, and the PTA), you additionally say “no” to these appointments along with your dentist or therapeutic massage therapist

The consequence: You’re feeling like a ragdoll, pulled and tossed in direction of whoever wants you most. With no sense of your personal priorities, or the respite to are inclined to them, you’re left feeling overwhelmed, overburdened, anxious, and careworn.

(Additionally: Hey, resentment.)

However strive a thought experiment with us:

What for those who flipped your responses—saying “sure” to your self a bit of extra usually—and in flip, higher tending to your personal wants and targets?

And, what for those who mentioned “no” to extra of the issues that get in the way in which of that?

Within the following article, we’ll provide three challenges that will help you try this.

You’ll discover ways to select—with intention—when to say “sure” and when to say “no.”

One higher: You’ll construct the abilities to show down requests with out feeling so responsible, insecure, or uncomfortable.

And don’t fear:

This isn’t a 90’s speak show-style confrontation along with your family members. You don’t should “full makeover” your life. Or inform somebody the place to shove it.

As a substitute, you’ll inch alongside a continuum of “no,” at your personal tempo.

With follow, you’ll discover a place for YOU in your to-do checklist, translating to higher well being, deeper restoration, and extra power.

You possibly can’t management different folks’s requests of you, however saying “no” is inside your energy. And it’s one of the vital efficient issues you are able to do to handle stress.

Able to strive it? Let’s go.

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Problem #1: Monitor your time, power, and a spotlight

One purpose you may comply with do too many issues:

You could not truly know the place your time, power, and a spotlight are going.

With no clear sense of how a lot time you’ve gotten in a day—and the way you spend it—it’s simple to imagine issues like:

“Oh, in fact I can prepare that new worker!”


“Most days, I don’t even have 5 minutes to myself.”

You may each over- and underestimate how a lot time you’ve gotten in a day.

This problem will assist you to see—on paper—the place your time goes. With this info, you’ll have the ability to extra consciously determine the place you need your time to go.

To do it:

Choose a monitoring methodology.

Obtain our Planning and Time Use Worksheet, use a time-tracking app, or create your personal time-tracking system through the use of a pocket book or calendar.

Report your every day actions.

Take note of what drains your power and a spotlight—in addition to what boosts it. This info will turn out to be useful in problem #2.

Analyze your knowledge.

After monitoring for not less than a day, take a look at your diary.

Any patterns or surprises? Is your time, power, and a spotlight going the place you’d assumed? Are you spending extra (or much less) time on sure duties than you thought? Lastly, do you be ok with the place your time, power, and a spotlight are going?

When you do that, be trustworthy, but additionally variety to your self. Chances are high, this activity will reveal some uncomfortable truths.

Right here’s an instance of a typical day {that a} shopper—a middle-class dad or mum with a full-time job and three youngsters below 10—shared with us.

6:30 AM-8:30 AM Bounce away from bed after hitting snooze, wrangle children, put together breakfast whereas checking work texts and emails from cellphone, get children off to high school and daycare
8:30 AM-2:30 PM Conferences and calls. Skip lunch, work straight by
2:30 PM On cellphone to insurance coverage firm whereas answering work emails
3:30 PM Choose up children from faculty; scarf handfuls of their uneaten lunches whereas driving dwelling to make 4 PM work assembly
4 PM Work assembly whereas making children after-school snacks and placing in a load of laundry as a result of youngest wants clear soccer uniform for follow at 6:30 PM
5:30 PM Rushed “dinner” (inhaling meals whereas arguing with partner about who has to drive)
6:20 PM Hop in automobile whereas yelling at children to rush up; pace to a few totally different practices and classes, one for every child
7:30 PM Reply work emails and texts whereas on sidelines and sitting in automobile ready for youths
8:15 PM Again dwelling; uncover one child wants cupcakes for a category birthday tomorrow. Bake one thing from a mixture whereas making an attempt to wash and put children to mattress, overview homework, make lunches for tomorrow
10:30 PM Sit in mattress exhausted, half-watching a real crime present with partner, nonetheless answering work texts and emails
12:30 AM Lie awake worrying about tomorrow

As you possibly can see, she’s left zero area for… herself.

Not surprisingly, this shopper feels exhausted, overwhelmed, and anxious.

For many individuals, the above problem is transformative.

It helps them see—typically with painful readability—what their lived priorities are.

For instance, the above shopper didn’t consider themselves as a “slave to work.” However her time diary revealed in a different way.

Problem #2: Select (deliberately) spend your time

One more reason you may say “sure” as a default response:

You don’t absolutely perceive the tradeoffs.

In different phrases, whenever you say “sure,” you’re not conscious of every part you’re saying “no” to on the identical time.

This problem helps you get actual with these tradeoffs, and give you a steadiness of “yeses” and “nos” that higher displays your targets.

To do it:

Create a chart that represents your present actuality.

Take your knowledge from problem #1—and create a pie chart that reveals the way you spend your time, power, and a spotlight on a typical day.

Your pie chart represents one hundred pc of your whole capability. Similar to you possibly can’t negotiate a 26-hour day, you possibly can’t do greater than one hundred pc.

Your time is finite.

However as you begin including up elements, you may discover that you just’ve been making an attempt to stuff 48 hours value of stuff—or extra—into one 24-hour cycle.

Or perhaps you’ve been pondering your day is generally dedicated to productive actions which are aligned along with your broader values and targets…

… However then you definitely uncover you spend not less than an hour a day combating along with your wardrobe (why does nothing match?!), after which one other two hours scrolling by “aspirational” health accounts, making you are feeling even worse about your too-tight pants.

In different phrases, earlier than doing this problem, you may assume that your day appears to be like just like the fantasy under:

In actuality, nevertheless, it’d actually look extra like this…

No surprise you are feeling crummy. (Most stunning: Wiping your children’ / canine’ butts is the least of your woes!)

Resolve in case your pie slices are allotted to belongings you really care about.

Take into account every part of your chart, and ask your self two questions:

  1. How a lot time, power, and a spotlight am I giving this proper now?
  2. How a lot do I WANT to present? In different phrases, would you like that pie slice to be… larger? Smaller? Or—poof!—gone? What are your hopes right here?

It will probably assist to consider these questions visually, because the under graphic reveals.

Create your dream pie chart.

This represents the way you need to spend your time, power, and a spotlight. Possibly your new actuality appears to be like one thing just like the under.

Nonetheless wiping butts (hey, must be performed).

However right here, there’s a steadiness between output (you caring and offering for others) and enter (you recovering, filling your personal cup).

(And bear in mind: Your time remains to be finite.)

In fact, the above is simply an instance.

Your pie chart will mirror your personal priorities, targets, and values. (Your values are the belongings you contemplate most essential, and infrequently drive decisions and behaviors.)

It’d take you a number of tries to get your pie chart the way in which you need it.

Mess around with it. Experiment with making some slices a bit of larger or smaller till you find yourself with one thing that’s a superb match—for you.

Most significantly, your dream pie ought to encourage a sense of “ahhhh.” A sigh of reduction, but additionally a way of pleasure and power.

Subsequent, you’ll work in direction of make that “dream pie” extra of a actuality.

Problem #3: Apply saying no

Along with your ideally suited pie chart in thoughts, you now have a visible that may assist you to determine what to say “no” to and what to say “sure” to.

However now, you’ll have to put it into follow.

And which means studying to truly say “no” to an precise particular person whose opinion issues to you.


However we’ve received your again, with a follow from Pam Ruhland, one in every of our in-house PN supercoaches, that’ll assist you to ease into saying “no” with extra confidence.

To do it:

Think about some “no” challenges.

Take into consideration the way you’ll flip down requests in your time, power, and a spotlight that sit exterior of your “pie chart of priorities.”

Undergo some hypothetical situations and give you various responses to them. It will probably assist to consider previous obligations you took on that you just ended up wishing you’d mentioned no to.

How do you want you’d’ve responded?

Typically, you may need to hold your reply brief, saying “No, I don’t have the bandwidth for that.” Or just, “No.” (Sure, “No” is a full sentence!)

Different occasions you may need to mix a “no” with a “sure”—a compromise of kinds. For instance:

▶ I can’t make that assembly [no to request]. Can we do it at X time as an alternative? [yes to an alternative, or compromise]

▶ I can’t tackle that challenge proper now [no to request], however I do know somebody superior who has a little bit of time proper now and would love the chance [yes, but for someone who wants to say yes].

▶ I can’t converse at that occasion if I’ve to journey [no to request], but when I generally is a digital speaker, I’d be blissful to take part [yes, but only under certain conditions].

Take into account conditions previously the place it’s been exhausting so that you can prioritize your wants, and consider the place alongside the continuum of “no” you would like you’d responded with.

Strive some mirror follow.

Have a look at your self within the mirror and follow some variations of claiming “no.”

Possibly, think about that particular person you care about that’s actually stretching you skinny proper now—and say “no” to them.

Enable your self to really feel that uncomfortable feeling that comes up for you whenever you flip somebody down. Say “no” kindly and respectfully, however firmly.

For instance:

  • “I fully sympathize along with your state of affairs; I’m simply not accessible.”
  • “It’s actually considerate of you to ask, however I can’t do it.”
  • “Oh wow, that does look scrumptious. I’m full although.”
  • “As I mentioned, I’m not accessible after 6 PM.”
  • “I’ve chosen to not drink proper now. Please respect my selection.”

This train may really feel foolish (howdy, you’re speaking to you—in your housecoat no much less) however it nonetheless may convey up some emotion.

You may really feel responsible, self-indulgent, or hear the echoes of a dad or mum who used to let you know it was rude to show down dessert, or lazy to show down work.

Hold training within the mirror till the yucky feeling subsides (though it might by no means go away fully).

Acknowledge how troublesome it may be to so clearly state your boundaries, and provides your self a pat on the again.

It’s showtime! Say “no” in actual life.

Revisit your time diary and select somebody / one thing to say “no” to.

Know this: The primary time would be the hardest. Begin small, in conditions you are feeling assured you possibly can deal with.

Positive, some folks won’t be blissful along with your response. In spite of everything, they appreciated having somebody to bail them out—anytime, wherever.

Nevertheless, you’ll in all probability discover that most individuals will settle for your reply and nonetheless such as you—and a few of them will respect you extra.

However the larger payoff?

You’re taking again some management over your life.

As a substitute of ready in your child, your boss, or a magic fairy to say to you, “You realize what? You deserve some YOU time,” you take the reins.

You determine what’s essential, and elbow that point out for your self.

While you do, you give your self a greater likelihood on the sort of life you’ve all the time needed—one with much less stress, anxiousness, and overwhelm, and extra intention, power, and pleasure.

That’s not solely good for you, however for everybody.

Should you’re a well being and health professional…

Studying assist purchasers handle stress and optimize sleep can massively change your purchasers’ outcomes.

They’ll get “unstuck” and eventually transfer ahead—whether or not they need to eat higher, transfer extra, drop some pounds, or reclaim their well being.

Plus, it’ll provide the confidence and credibility as a specialised coach who can clear up the largest issues blocking any purchasers’ progress.

The brand-new PN Level 1 Sleep, Stress Management, and Recovery Coaching Certification will present you the way.


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