Learn to Say NO

There’s one thing in life that I’m not the best at and (in all honesty) has really always been a struggle for me… learning to say NO. I need to get better and learn to say NO to things that I just can’t fit in, do at the moment or even really want to do. I’m a YES girl. I always have been. If someone asks me to do something, I say YES and figure it out later. This has worked for me well for 40 years, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve begun to realize the power in saying NO for yourself. It’s not a bad thing, it’s a smart thing when it needs to be said.

Learn to Say NO

Learning the Power of Saying No

This morning I had one of those “ah-ha” moments. I’ve had my workout clothes on since Sunday morning. I’m not kidding – sports bra, workout pants, cotton tank – it’s been on since yesterday morning. We did an early morning stroll for a dear friend and all I wanted to do later in the day was go for a nice run. The weather was spot on and I knew I just wanted to enjoy the warm weather because I’ve been waiting for it for months. But there were so many other things that kept popping up that needed to get done. Laundry. Emails. Photos for the week. Dinner prep. Kitchen floor needed to be cleaned. Every single thing that needed to get “done,” I did INSTEAD of just working out.


I said NO to the worst person of all, myself.

I went to bed so frustrated, which I hate to do. And I laid in bed thinking about a conversation I recently had with a friend last week. She was telling me that she says “No” to things now that she just doesn’t have time to do. And she shrugged her shoulders and said, “It’s just the way it is, I can only do so much.” We have different circumstances in life personally and professionally, so she can say NO a lot easier than I can to work things or life things, but I left our conversation thinking to myself, “Why don’t I do that?”

I don’t say NO to anything. I mean, to ANYTHING.


I’m afraid I’m going to hurt someone or upset someone. I always make the time to make something work even when I don’t want to. I just don’t know how to say the magic word of NO.

My friend didn’t realize that in that moment last week, she genuinely awoke something inside of me. It’s not a bad thing to say no. Sometimes you need to learn to say no for your own well being. It’s not essential in life to just always be a yes girl. Sometimes the most powerful thing you can do for yourself is to learn to say no. To honor the voice the within. To listen to that inner being. To know that by saying no to somethings in life is like giving yourself a gift.

I started to draft out some questions for myself on the NO front:

1. Will saying NO hurt someone I love?

2. Will saying NO impact my relationship with someone you like/love?

3. Will saying NO hurt me professionally?

4. Will saying NO hurt me later on?

5. Will saying NO make it difficult for someone else?

And these are really the 5 questions I’m going to ask myself when it comes to deciding whether or not I want to do something or not. Or better yet, need to do something or not.

I need to get better at giving myself permission to say NO. I mean – I give my permission to hustle, and I’ve built a business around it. So I just need to take that same philosophy and use it towards saying no. I’ve said it 100 times, giving yourself permission to hustle isn’t a bad thing. You go out there and go full steam after your passions and dreams. When you give yourself permission to say no, it’s also a gift. You’re giving yourself permission to look at something and decide if it’s good for you or not.

I’m not a fan of having a full schedule from morning to night, especially on the weekends. I love to be with my family and just enjoy the weekend. I love to DO things together. So I can tell you right now, if there’s anything on the weekends that doesn’t incorporate my kids or my husband, I feel like I now just have to stop and think if it’s going to work.

Sometimes in life we need to have these moments that help define us, help define what’s important and what’s not. Saying NO isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes saying NO is the best thing we can do for ourselves at the time. Sometimes saying NO is the most amazing thing of all. Sometimes saying NO is the best way to honor yourself and your family and your life.

I’ve only learned this lesson at 40 years old. I know it’s never too late to learn “new” tricks, but I think as I get older I’m just more in tune with what needs to be. I love my work. I love my family. I love my friends. I love taking care of myself. I give them them my all 100% of the time every single day. Or – at least I try to! I’m not 100% at all of these things at the same time. Not by any means! This is why learning to say NO is something that I need to start doing.

How do you say NO?

How did you learn it was OK to say NO?

I had a friend that gave me the best advice of all, start saying YES to NO.

I love being able to share here and be honest. I blogged about thinking about Someday with my Kids a few weeks ago and it really felt nice to share.

I also love this read on Medium.com called, “Here’s a Simple Strategy for Finding Personal Fulfillment” – it’s awesome and I think it’s worth a good read!

About Audrey

Audrey McClelland has been a digital influencer since 2005. She’s a mom of 5 and shares tips on her three favorite things: parenting, fashion and beauty. She’s also a Contemporary Romance Author.

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  1. 4.8.19
    Kristen said:

    I’ve gotten much better about say no 🙂

  2. 4.9.19
    mami2jcn said:

    I struggle with guilt over saying no, too.

  3. 4.9.19
    Amy said:

    This has been so hard for me with my 3 yr old son. My husband says I’m too soft.

  4. 4.9.19
    Kim Pincombe-Cole said:

    These 5 questions to ask yourself are REALLY good. I find that I carry guilt & worry about what others think about me too much – this awareness has made it easier for me to finally start saying no more often.

  5. 4.9.19
    shelly peterson said:

    This is a great post. I have a hard time saying no.

  6. 4.9.19
    Krista Roberts said:

    I love that you mentioned not being a fan of having a full schedule morning-night, as I am the exact same way. Learning to say no is something I am very much still struggling with!

  7. 4.9.19
    Lynne said:

    Oh, I can so relate – I loved your question list – I am going to be using that idea. I know that everyone is busy, so I always hesitate to use that as a reason – but man, as I age, my energy levels just are not what they used to be…….but saying no is hard.

  8. 4.9.19
    rana durham said:

    i really need to apply this to my life as i struggle with this. i appreciate this article as it going to help me with saying no.

  9. 4.10.19
    bn100 said:

    interesting questions to think about

  10. 4.10.19
    Kayley said:

    This is a very important point. Sometimes you have to say “no” for the sake of your own health and sanity.

  11. 4.10.19
    Dana Rodriguez said:

    I really like this post. I have problems saying no myself sometimes.

  12. 4.10.19
    Lauren said:

    This post is so inspiring, thank you for sharing!

  13. 4.10.19
    harolde said:

    I have a hard time saying no to my family, I always give in, especially to my kids and Grandkids!

  14. 4.11.19
    Kelly Hanley said:

    I really struggle with this! Thanks for sharing!

  15. 4.12.19
    Susan Smith said:

    I have trouble saying no at times. I’m always afraid I will hurt someones feelings.

  16. 4.15.19
    Diana Camden said:

    Saying no is a very important skill to learn. It goes a long way.


  17. 4.15.19
    Donna Evans said:

    I need to do better at saying no, but when you get old you want to make everyone happy

  18. 4.17.19
    MIchelle L. said:

    Saying no isn’t easy because women are generally taught from a very young age to be caretakers…sometimes to the expense of their own needs…

  19. 4.18.19
    Calvin said:

    There’s an art to turn down people, definitely a step to take if you want to take control of your life.

  20. 4.19.19
    Natalie said:

    I have a hard time saying NO at work because I want my boss and coworkers to have a good opinion of me!

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