Why Saying No Matters for Your Well-being

You may have noticed it’s been a little quiet around here over the past week. We decided to throw in the towel on this whole project, take off to Florida again, and drink Mai Tais on the beach all day.

Juuuust kidding. We wouldn’t give up on ya that fast.

We’ve been kicking our own rear ends lately though. Here’s a look at the Crop Tops & Kale cal between Monday and Friday of last week:

  • work until 5:30-6 p.m.
  • class and/or drinks with new contacts
  • business meeting
  • podcast recording
  • blog deadlines
  • social media management
  • content/strategy planning
  • morning rituals/food/dog walking/exercise (hopefully)
  • sleep (eventually)

Somewhere between it all there were about 10 glasses of wine to be had … each.

It’s a very exciting time for us. There are a lot of things going on. There a lot of new contacts and a lot of cool opportunities coming our way. But man, are we really beating ourselves down. By Friday we both shared the same sentiment: Can’t. Think. About. Crop Tops & Kale. Anymore. We said yes to every invitation, and it straight up wore us out. Lesson learned.


In the inimitable words of Bill Lumbergh, umm yeah, I’m gonna have to say no.

So often we hear “say yes to every opportunity!” from people we view as successful. But saying no is just as important. Here’s why:

When we say no to things that we don’t enjoy or that don’t serve us, we create space for things that do.

Examples: choosing to go to the gym instead of yet another happy hour (with people I see often), opting out of a weekend trip because I know the time spent traveling could be spent doing something more enjoyable, or skipping a concert I don’t really care about to catch up on sleep.

Like all skills, saying no takes practice.

Most of us struggle with this for a variety of reasons. We say yes out of guilt or because we don’t have a good excuse, out of FOMO, or perhaps, underlying it all, because we want to be liked. We let these reasons dictate our lives and in the end, saying yes can potentially have an adverse effect on our health.

Here’s a good way to evaluate decisions:

1. Do I absolutely have to do this?

If the answer is yes (and sometimes there are reasons the answer is yes), so be it. If the answer is no, move on to step 2.

2. Will I enjoy doing this?

If the answer is no, then just say no. It can be that simple. If the answer is yes, move on to step 3.

3. Is this going to be beneficial for my health or serve me or my goals in some way?

If the answer is yes, do it. If the answer is no, what’s the cost? Ask, is this going to make me feel crappy? In some cases, it may be worth it (eating a cupcake when you really crave one knowing it’s a special treat, drinking a little too much with your friends because you’re having a really great time, investing in a blazer you’ll wear regularly, etc.). In other cases, it may not be (is this the third time this week you’re high on sugar, waking up hungover or pushing off your credit card payment?).

The key for me has really been step 2.

In some cases, I may not know if an activity will be enjoyable, but if I know there is something I would rather be doing or would make me feel better, I say no.

It can be really difficult, especially if it’s something that you know you’ll enjoy. You just have to trust that what you truly desire is more important. That feeling good is worth it. It can also be tough to communicate that choice gracefully. You don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, or be excluded from future invitations. Welp, reality check: surrounding yourself with people who are going to hold your decisions against you isn’t great for your health either. Trying to please everyone is the fastest path to burn-out.

When a decision comes up that you’re torn up about, try this. Check in with your gut, think about how you really feel (because your opinion is inevitably deep down there somewhere), and make a choice based on what’s going to help you feel good. I hope you feel a sense of relief.

Then keep practicing. Keep asking “what’s going to feel good?” in every decision, and eventually it will become a natural thought process.

Sometimes we slip up, overdo it and get overwhelmed. We are human. That’s when we find ourselves sprawled out on the couch in a state of blurriness at the end of the week, wondering how we even got there. No biggie. It’s just a reminder to slow down and start making more decisions based on what feels good.


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