I talk a lot about the importance of saying yes, and not making excuses that get in the way of your dreams and goals. And 2011 was definitely a year of yes for me, which taught me a lot about the amazing things I can accomplish if I just go for it.
But sometimes we can become so wrapped up in all the yesses, that we find ourselves realizing that we might also need to learn to say no. It’s not uncommon, especially for the active, motivated, go-getter types, to to find ourselves overbooking ourselves, overspending, or doing too much for other people and not taking sufficient “me time”. That’s when it’s time to reevaluate the balance between a life of saying yes and realizing it’s okay to say no.
Usually for me, I realize I need to start saying no when I look at my Google Calendar and see that in a month, I only have one or two days with nothing planned and I just need some time to rest. But this year, it’s a little different. This year it’s about the money.
This past December, I was laid off from my job working for a major publishing company. I was extremely lucky in that less than a month later I started a new job that I absolutely love, working in the nonprofit sector. But, as you can imagine, the move from the corporate world to the nonprofit world brought with it some shifts in my finances and I am trying to adapt.
I am not complaining and I am doing fine, but I just am realizing that in order to adjust to the change in salary, I need to start reevaluating where my money goes. I’ve never been one to buy much for myself in terms of clothing, jewelry, electronics, etc., but my money is usually spent on experiences and adventures. And I have been blessed to have had as many awesome experiences as I have thus far.
But now I need to start making choices as to which things are most important to me. No more going out for food and drinks EVERY time I’m invited. No more buying Groupons for every class and adventure my friends try to talk me into. It’s time to be more selective about which restaurants I really want to try and which races I really want to run.
It’s been hard, but I’ve already been practicing. I’ve turned down a few nights out, concerts, and dinners. I passed on purchasing the Groupon for the crepe making class I wanted to do with some friends. I’ve made some choices to not run races that I’ve done regularly but found I don’t enjoy all that much. And I’ve opted to try to cook more at home so I can get more comfortable inviting people over for dinner instead of always going to a restaurant.
That said, I’m not giving up on the things I really want to say yes to. With the money I’ve saved from the things I’ve said no to, I have enough money for a few really awesome things – including the Disneyland Half Marathon to earn my Coast-to-Coast medal!
I think it’s going to be an ongoing challenge to find the right balance between a life of saying “yes” and realizing when it’s okay to say no. But in the end, I am confident that I will figure out a way to do the things I want to do and have the means to do it.