“Being able to say “No” is a necessary ingredient in a healthy lifestyle.” ― David W. Earle
The further you dig into this health caper, the more you realise that it’s all about you… And, that can be counter-intuitive for most of us. It’s very likely we’ve grown up in an environment where we’ve been taught to be selfless; to worry about others before we do our self. This is especially true of women.
Unfortunately, many of us are discovering that this hasn’t served us. And, even if we are not ready to acknowledge this consciously, our body’s have other ideas.
So, to really effect lasting change, we must change our perspective. And, this involves creating boundaries to enable us to put our priorities where they need to be. For the sake of our health.
Today we’re offering up some tips on just how to achieve that goal…
Be Impeccable with Your Word (to Yourself)
The very first of The Four Agreements. To be impeccable with your word is to be truthful with yourself (and others), and to say things that have a positive influence – both on yourself and on others. We act on what we tell ourselves is real.
Screening our self-talk and reframing it to be more positive takes work. But so too does honouring our commitments…
Are you one of those people who reschedules plans (especially self-care plans) when you receive a last-minute call from a friend or loved one? Being impeccable with your word means applying this premise to yourself, too.
* you might like to pick up a copy of The Four Agreements if this is a challenge for you!
Learn to Say No
Are you challenged by finding it hard to say no? Being unable to say no can make you feel exhausted, stressed and generally p*ssed off. It could be undermining any efforts you’re making to improve your healthh if you’re spending time worrying over how to get out of an already-promised commitment.
Socially, we say “yes” because we don’t want to let people down. Sometimes it can make us feel trapped, too. We feel bad that we’re not helping a friend in need, or whatever the case may be. Saying “yes” is easier than saying “no,” and it’s a habit… We’d rather deal with our negative response than sense of judgment from others.
If your spare time is taken up with commitments to other people, it’s time to start asking yourself what you need…
How do you learn to say no…?
In very practical terms, there is aformula you can use to help out when you’re in the early stage of exercising your ‘no’ muscle.
- First, you can start with a compliment (if appropriate).
- Give your response. Say no – politely.
- Say thank you.
- Encourage the person.
- Change the subject or excuse yourself.
Don’t make a big deal out of it. Just smile and stay upbeat.
Here’s an example…
“You’re such a good friend to me, Emma. Unfortunately, I’m not available. Thank you for asking. I know how great your barbecues are.”
Create Routines that Support Your Health
According to Michael McCullogh, a professor of psychology at the University of Miami, “Routines are like mental butlers. Once you have a routine in place, then the mental processes that make the behavior happen take place automatically.”
In other words, you save time and energy and reduce stress by implementing routines that support your healthy lifestyle.
By eliminating the mental to-ing and fro-ing of making a decision, you move directly to getting a task done. Instead of creating each day from scratch, routines create a framework of small decisions you no longer have to make so you have more time to devote to things that matter. Routines also stop you from making unconscious choices that don’t serve you!
Some examples of routines that support an AIP lifestyle
- Creating a Morning Ritual
- Implementing a daily Food and Mood Journal practice
- Schedule a daily mindfulness session into your diary and commit to it (I love Legs Up the Wall. Emma’s a fan of Crocodile Breathing.)
- Eat breakfast. Every day. No excuses.
- Have a sleep routine.
Take Time for Reflection