Photo of large letters spelling "yes"
Each time you say 'Yes' to one thing, you are effectively saying 'No' to something else

Change your life: Say ‘yes’ to you…

7 April, 2014

There’s one issue that crops up over and over again in coach­ing sessions and that’s the need to say ‘No’ more often.

Such a tiny word. Seemingly so insignificant. But one that has such far-reaching implications.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re trying to improve the way you manage your time, your work/life balance, or your self-confidence, I guarantee that learning to say ‘No’ will make a massive difference.

It’s so much easier to say ‘Yes’ to things. We may feel flattered to be asked; saying ‘No’ might mean you’re not a team player;  perhaps we don’t want to let someone down or hurt their feelings; and of course we want to feel liked and included.

If you never say ‘no’ then what is your ‘yes’ worth?” — Anon

But remember: Each time you say ‘Yes’ to one thing, you are effectively saying ‘No’ to something else. And that may very well be time that you would otherwise have spent with your family, friends or – crucially – time for yourself.

How to do it? I think one of the best tips is to play for time. Whenever someone asks you to commit to doing something, don’t say “yes” as an automatic response. Instead, tell them that you’ll let them know in an hour – or tomorrow – or next week. This way you get the chance to think it over and decide if you really do have time to do it – and/or if it’s something that you can say yes to wholeheartedly.

If you want to measure the relative merits of those claims on your time, just try this mental exercise:

By saying YES to…

I am saying NO to…

Saying ‘No’ to the things that don’t truly serve you means that you are saying a resounding ‘Yes’ to yourself.


  • Annabel Sutton is a Professional Certified Coach and Author.  She has lived in Los Angeles and Indonesia; survived earthquakes and riots, lived with head-hunters and enjoyed a portfolio career.  She now enjoys a somewhat quieter life in Somerset!  Her latest book, 52 Ways to Transform Your Life (Weekly Wisdom for Busy People), contains 52 inspiring, quick-to-read life tips and is available from . Find more information at