1. Don’t provide endless reasons or excuses
There are so many ways to say no. But a simple “no, I can’t do that today” or “no thank you” is sufficient. Drop the need to provide reasons or excuses for why you cannot do something. You don’t owe anyone an explanation and you aren’t being rude when you don’t offer one.
2. Be firm in your response
You might get some pushback when you say no, especially if those around you are accustomed to you always saying yes to everything.
Expect this pushback but be firm in your response. You might have to say no more than once for someone to get the hint, but stand your ground, even under this pressure.
3. Don’t apologize
It is not rude to say no, so stop apologizing for doing it! You haven’t done anything wrong by saying no.
4. Set and stick to your boundaries
Establish boundaries for yourself. What are you willing to say yes to? For example, do you want to get to bed every night by 10 p.m.? If so, then you will want to say no to anything that would keep you up past that time.
5. Practice saying no
Just like everything else in life, learning how to say no takes practice. At first, it might feel uncomfortable. If so, practice with little things and work your way up to declining bigger invitations or bigger responsibilities. By practicing on small things, you’ll prepare yourself for the larger ones.
6. Offer another option
A no doesn’t necessarily mean you have to shut someone down or close the door on them entirely. Instead, consider saying no and offering an alternative suggestion. For example, what if someone asks you for a loan, but you don’t want to give it to them?
You can say no to the loan, but offer to help in another way, such as directing them to free resources to learn more about their finances and helping them on their journey.
7. Surround yourself with supportive people
Surround yourself with people who will accept your nos and support your ambitions and goals. With understanding friends and family around you, it will be easier to say no (although, if you don’t have this support system, don’t let that stop you from saying no and sticking to it).
8. Get clear on your goals and priorities
Decide what you want out of life. What are your dreams and goals? Spend some time imagining and dreaming about the life you want and setting goals to achieve that life. Then, be ruthless in not letting anything get in your way of those pursuits – including saying yes to others.
9. Distinguish between want vs. should
Do what you want to do, not what you think you should do. So many of us have been conditioned to put others’ needs before our own and we think we have an obligation to always say yes.
10. Put yourself above all else
By realizing that you are truly the most important person in your life, you’ll be able to stop bending to the will of others and put yourself above everything and everyone else.
Saying no is sometimes easier said than done, especially if you’re not accustomed to it. However, with a little practice and with these tips, hopefully, you will feel more confident the next time someone approaches you with an offer you’d really rather pass on.
Whether it is something relatively small (like a dinner that is a stretch for your budget) or something large (like a personal loan), learn how to say no. It might feel uncomfortable at first, but nothing is worth derailing your financial goals for. Saying no means saying yes to yourself and your financial goals.