Three Ways to Say No (When Part of You Really Wants to Say Yes)
We’re all tempted now and then to say yes to things that we’re much better off saying no to. Usually this happens when the thing we’re tempted by is at odds with a larger goal — such as improving our financial lives, losing weight, getting healthy, or accomplishing some other task in a limited period of time.
When it comes to money, that temptation could take several forms. It might be a great deal that arrives in our email, seeing something expensive we’d love to get while out shopping for a planned purchase, or blowing our budget because we’re just tired of working so hard for so long to reach a goal.
Here are three ways to say no when a part of you really wants to say yes.
- Remind yourself of your goal. Sometimes literally reminding yourself of your larger goal can make a big difference. If you’re tempted by unplanned purchases that might derail you, place a note or a picture that describes your SMART goals right on your wallet. Think in detail about what it will be like when you reach that goal. By focusing on that instead of the temptation of the moment, you’ll be more likely to see the value of what you really want, and less likely to succumb to temptation.
- Avoid temptation in the first place. If you’ve got a goal of paying off your house, don’t leave email alerts set to notify you of great deals on a trip to Paris. If you often get sidetracked by catalogs, toss them in the recycling bin when you get them. (Or better yet, have your name removed from the mailing list.) If you usually spend more than you intended to while at the mall, stay out of the mall. If your friends and relatives often call you up and ask you to do things that you can’t afford at this time, tell them about what you’re trying to accomplish and enlist their help. (Or suggest alternative things to do that are less costly or free.)
- Build in breaks. If you’ve got a goal that you know will take a long time to achieve, build in breaks where you can indulge a little in the things you’re most tempted by. Just make these at either set intervals or after set milestones. For example, you might agree to eat a meal out after every $500 in progress toward your debt reduction, or you might agree to treat yourself to $50 in clothing every 3 months. Knowing these breaks are coming up will help you to say “no” to temptation in the meantime. And you’ll feel good about yourself for doing so.
The thing about sticking to your guns when you’re tempted to do otherwise is that you feel really, really good for doing so. Deep down, you know you’re doing the thing that you most want to do. And of course, every no to a little thing that isn’t all that important in the big scheme of things, brings you that much closer to a great big yes to your main goal.