Say 'No' to These Five Things and Your Life Will Immediately Improve

We're creatures of habit. No matter how we strive to improve our everyday lives, our tendencies will pull us back to our natural inclination. 

One bad habit most of us have is saying ‘yes’ to a lot of things we don't really want to do. If you seldom deny your friends and family's requests, you end up knows as the "pushover" and invite even more unwanted things into your life. By learning to say "no" to these five things, you will bring more stability to your personal and work life. 

1. Being nice ALL the time, to EVERYONE

In an article published by Psychology Today, entitled “Being Nice Can Change Your Brain,” the benefits of being polite and courteous to others is emphasized. 

The rationale is pretty simple: the nicer the things you do for people, the better you’ll feel as serotonin, a feel-good neurotransmitter, is secreted by the brain.

However, being nice isn’t the same with being an extreme people or customer pleaser. When your customers and the people around you sense that your time and energy are always available for them, there’s a great chance that they’ll abuse it. 

For instance, other customers will perceive that the prices of your products or services are easily bargained, when you give out so much to some clients. 

Meanwhile, you may lack some quality ‘me-time’ or family time, if you keep on answering for other people’s personal baggage.  

You can’t be too generous and charitable. Remember that goodwill is good only if those high heaps of praises are converted to actual benefit or profit. 

In the same article, Psychology Today suggests to “make a conscious decision to do something nice daily.” It could be little, yet impacting things, but not too extravagant. 

2. Your crazy boss’ demands

Really? Is that possible? Won’t you end up with disciplinary actions if you said ‘no’ to your boss’ requests? 

Yes, it’s possible, and no, you won’t get demoted or axed from the organization if you said ‘no.’ 

By trying to take more tasks than what you can really handle, the quality of each of your work decreases, dragging down your overall effectivity. 

Explain this to your boss, and if he insists that you should prioritize the new task he gave you, then there should be something that needs to be moved down from your existing tasks. Sell the pros and cons for each course of action.

Though you may not be able to tackle all of them in one seating, vow to give it your all. 

You declined him, but in a very acceptable workplace manner. 

3. Toxic people – both personal, AND digital

An article entitled, “How Social Media Is a Toxic Mirror” from Time states that social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook “allow teens to earn approval for their appearance and compare themselves to others.”

Aside from the insecurity issue, we all have those online acquaintances who are all about personal rants and demoralizing posts. Their negativity is destructive and contagious, and frankly, exhausting! 

Say ‘no more’ to their feeds. Make your social media browsing time a real period for leisure and enjoyment. Make your feed more breathable by removing them from your list or unfollowing them. Yes, unfollow even your personal friends. If they ask why, (kindly) tell the truth. 

There are also problematic friendship, romance or coworker relationships you should’ve long ended. You know the feeling when you've tried so hard to salvage it, only to end up even more anxious. Have the guts to sever those destructive ties as well, and say ‘no more.’ 

4. Habits that felt good in the moment

We all have our kryptonite. New clothes, happy hour, that new cute pair of shoes  you saw on your friend and simply have to have. They make us forget all of our priorities and do whatever it takes to get our hands on that thing we just know will make us feel pretty and amazing. 

By saying no to habits that damages you later on (e.g., impulse buying, drug and alcohol abuse, binge eating, etc.), you’ll have more time, focus, and energy for things that matter more. Earthly pleasures may seem irresistible, but you have more control than what you realize. 

5. Getting stuck in the past

Remember the fight you had with your brother or your cousin 3 months ago and you still haven't spoken? Every time you think of something you want to share with them, you stomp your foot and say "nope, I am still mad". We've all been there, but think about this: what if they (or you) were in an accident and could never repair those damaged relationships? Would it be worth all the stubbornness? 

The truth is, that person who deeply hurt you in the past can now be an instrumental piece for your success and recovery, if you let it. Even for your own sake, letting go of unpleasant things in the past improves your quality of life. Holding on to it will continue to frustrate you and may hamper your ability to work effectively, conduct business, or live happily. 

Practice this mental exercise: Picture yourself on the beach, and draw a line in the sand. Go ahead and step over that line. This signifies moving on, and every time those feelings stir back up, remind yourself  "no, I have stepped over the line and left this behind. I can't dwell on it any longer".

Saying ‘no’ can be hard and takes practice, but it reflects your confidence and proves you have absolute authority over your life. It shows others and yourself that you won’t tolerate people and things who take energy away from the things that really matter.

Words by: Jacob Silva

Silva is a former elementary professor and life coach. He loves relating with people and helping solve their concerns. Jacob is a full-time father too. He decided to work at home to better cater the needs of his two sons. Currently, Jacob works as web administrator and essayist at