We over commit because we want to please people; we want to be liked. But spreading yourself too thin ensures that some things on your list gets overlooked which does nothing to bolster your likeability. Do you want to be counted on to always says ‘yes’? Or to always do a good job?
Here’s a few strategies to help you overcome the “yes” syndrome and find that happy balance.
Bad habits are hard to break. Be careful not to build up a habit of over-commitment, since the more you say yes, the more people will ask. You’ll be asked to donate your time, your brain, and your resources. If you say yes to everything, you’ll over-commit yourself. In addition, your work will take a back seat. You’re attempt to meet other people’s needs will be at the expense of your own business.
Take time to consider the request. Never say yes first! Give yourself time to reflect and allow you time to examine your schedule before committing. Be sure to ask questions and get all the details so you’re all on the same page. Otherwise you may find yourself at a charity event you thought would take 2 hours is now 4 hours.
If you decide to say “no”, then stick to it. Don’t say “maybe” or “I could if…”, because these things usually turn into a “yes” in the end. There’s no reason for you to feel obligated to explain your decision either.
If the person needs an answer right away, your first inclination should be to say “no”. Any request for help should be able to come with a grace period for you to take all into consideration before making that commitment. If it doesn’t feel right, never say “yes”. Saying NO more often allows you to say “yes” to what matters to me. I still serve, help, contribute but it’s out of generosity, not a self-imposed obligation. It’s actually selfish to say “yes’ when you want to say NO, so no need to act or feel guilty, because you are doing what is best for everyone involved.
People-pleasing can have serious risks. Not only does it put a lot of pressure and stress on you, essentially you can make yourself sick from doing too much. If you’re over committed, you probably get less sleep and get more anxious and upset. You’re also depleting your energy resources. In the worst case scenario, you’ll wake up and find yourself depressed, because you’re on such overload because you possibly can’t do it all.
The first no to anyone is always the hardest. But once you get over that first bump, you will be well on your way to getting off the “yes” treadmill. Also, remember that you’re saying no for good reasons. You get time for yourself and for the people you really want to help.