It’s hard to turn people down. Most of us tend to be people-pleasers and, as a result, we find ourselves overwhelmed and stressed. ’Tis the season for holiday parties, shopping, entertaining, etc. While we encourage you to be pure in heart and boast holiday cheer through good deeds, we also encourage you to find balance-which sometimes means letting yourself off the hook. Here’s how to avoid getting bogged down in the next month.
- Be honest. Before responding “Yes” to an invitation or agreeing to a favor, slow down and communicate your schedule. “Let me double check my calendar and get back to you!” is a more realistic response. If you can’t take something more on, say so.
- Let go of guilt. Often times we feel guilty turning down the chance to help out, which isn't a bad thing. Guilt is, however, unproductive and leads to making commitments we can’t always keep. Rather than taking the guilty path to disappointment, keep your priorities straight. If you can’t wrap presents for your friends and babysit Susie’s kids, it’s ok to say so. Overcommitting won’t help either party.
- Say it straight. Avoid being vague as a result of feeling bad about saying no. Instead of saying, “I wish I could attend, I want to be there.” Reply with “I appreciate the invitation, but I’m committed to spending time with my family this Saturday.” People see through a weak response, so save yourself further explanation and put it on the table from the start.
- Reply with grace. Start with a compliment or flattery that is fits the situation or event. Proceed to your response and always thank the recipient for the chance to help or invitation. After encouraging the individual, take the conversation away from the subject in a smooth manner. Example: “Jill, you’re an awesome volunteer! I can’t help with the fundraiser this week because I’m taking time for Christmas shopping with my kids, but thank you for thinking of me! Keep rocking, those kids appreciate you! Will I see you at Triplex next Tuesday morning?”
- Don’t cave. Saying “No” from the beginning is a great start, and some people won’t take no for an answer. Be firm, you're not a doormat, and no one has the right to hold your priorities over your head. Be strong. :)
- Diet. It’s equally, if not more, challenging to turn down holiday treats and goodies. It’s as simple as saying NO when it comes to all the temptations of the season. No special trick, new diet, or fun fact will keep you from staying disciplined. Remember your goals, be mentally tough, and say no to overindulgence.
Decrease your stress levels and stay focused on being balanced this year. Happy Holidays!