The Two letter word that is keeping you stuck

You hear it all the time-

I remind my clients of this all the time,

(I remind myself too!)

“You have to know how to say ‘no’.”



As a complete sentence.

This works when you are trying to regain balance in your life, or to just begin to get a handle on the overwhelm you feel.

‘No’ doesn’t work when you are trying to change habits.

You may have set a goal that sounds like this:

  • No more cookies
  • No more coffee in the morning
  • No more staying up late
  • No more Facebook

If you’re like many of my clients, you start out here.  Often, when you are looking to make changes, the things that stand out most clearly, are the things you know you should STOP doing.

And what happens?  You white-knuckle yourself through a few days, or maybe even a week, and then crumble; beating yourself up for not “having enough willpower”.

There are two main problems with this approach:

  1. Your brain doesn’t register “No”– it only hears what’s after it. – ‘no cookies’ leaves your brain fixating on the next chewy chocolate chip cookie from the neighborhood bakery.
  2. Trying to stop doing something drains youstarting something fires you up.  When you give yourself something to focus on, something you want to do more of, you are in the act of creating.  Creating literally sparks your brain into a place of inspired brilliance. Creating a habit, creating a pattern, (of course, you’ll want to have a good reason WHY you want to start it), is much more energizing than focusing your brilliant mind on putting on the brakes.

How to turn a ‘no’ into a ‘yes’

Take the ‘no more facebook’ example from above.  You could turn that into ‘set a timer and spend 5 minutes on facebook’ or ‘Save facebook until I’ve spent 1 hour focusing, and have finished this specific part of the project I’m working on’.

In other words, what will you do instead of that thing that is dragging you down?

As always, start small, and be super specific about what you will do.

In the comments below, tell me what are you trying to do less of right now?  And how could you turn it around so it’s a yes instead of a no?


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