What is your intention for this summer?
Do you plan to slow down and enjoy expanses of unscheduled time with your family? Is there a work or creative project you want to complete by the end of August? Do you want to reconnect with those you love and start living more in the present? Maybe you’re exhausted and need to pull out your calendar and schedule periods for rest and renewal? Or, perhaps you’re looking forward to the summer months as an opportunity to try something new or reflect on any course corrections you need to make before fall?
If you’ve ever had the experience of waking up on Labor Day and realizing your summer was not quite what you had envisioned, you know how key it is to enter this season with intention.
One of the most popular tools from my first book, The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal: How to Reclaim, Rejuvenate and Re-Balance Your Life (click here to read two sample chapters) is the Nine Ways to Say No list from Chapter Four on Managing Your Energy, Setting Priorities and Saying No.
We have a finite amount of energy.
In addition to being overscheduled and overworked, most of us waste a lot of energy through endless hours in front of the TV, lost in cyberspace or engaging in unnecessary conversations. One highly effective way to harness your attention and energy so you can focus on what really matters, is to say “no” to those things that are non-essential and to the “shoulds.”
It’s like exercising---the more you practice saying no, the stronger you become. Here’s some helpful language from my book to support you in this new skill:
Nine Creative Ways to Say No
- Just No: “Thanks, I’ll have to pass on that.” (Say it, then shut up.)
- The Gracious No: “I really appreciate you asking me, but my time is already committed.”
- The “I’m Sorry” No: “I wish I could, but it’s just not going to work right now.”
- The “It’s Someone Else’s Decision” No: “I promised my coach (therapist, etc.) I wouldn’t take on any more projects right now. I’m working on creating more balance in my life.”
- The “My Family is the Reason” No: “Thanks so much for the invite, but that’s the day of my son’s soccer game, and I never miss those.”
- The “I Know Someone Else” No: “I just don’t have time right now. Let me recommend someone who may be able to help you.”
- The “I’m Already Booked” No: “I appreciate you thinking of me, but I’m afraid I’m already booked that day.”
- The “Setting Boundaries” No: “Let me tell you what I can do …” Then limit the commitment to what will be comfortable for you.
- The “Not No, But Not Yes” No: “Let me think about it, and I’ll get back to you.”
(This list is adapted in part from Work Less, Make More—Stop Working So Hard and Create the Life You Really Want, by Jennifer White.)
The next time you are considering a new work, family or volunteer project or commitment, remember that while important, it will take away time and valuable energy from that which matters most. Pause, reflect on how you really want to experience the next three months and ask yourself what you need to release so you can begin to move back into the driver’s seat and reclaim your life.
I would love to hear your intentions for this summer and encourage you to find some quiet time this weekend (or perhaps consider taking a retreat) to reflect on what you really want to experience over the coming months. Please share your intentions on our Live Inside Out Facebook community!
This summer, I’ll be working on finishing up my new book Nurturing the Soul of Your Family: 10 Ways to Reconnect and Experience Peace in Everyday Life (New World Library, March 2013) in June and then going on some adventures with my ten-year-old son in July. I can’t wait!
Please let us know how we can support you; view our services here. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.
Warmly—Renee and the RTA Team (Sara, Sarina, Angela, Brooke and JaneMarie) firstname.lastname@example.org 512-459-6700
P.S. Did you meet Nora, the winner of our $2700 Year-of-Self-Care Retreat Giveaway? Make sure and visit The Journey to hear her story and read highlights from the more than 350 women that shared responses to “What does self-care mean to me.” We loved this community event—thanks to all who participated!
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