While it may feel difficult to say no to other people’s requests, especially if you’re a people pleaser, saying yes to everyone constantly means you are saying no to yourself and your personal goals.

If you’re serious about getting focused on your own goals rather than helping advance someone else’s goals, you need to start learning how to say no.


First, you’re responsible for respecting your boundaries. When you say yes to everyone even when you don’t feel like it, you are crossing your boundaries. This can lead to frustration with yourself and will eventually take a hit at your self-esteem, both of which can set you back in your progress toward your goals.

Second of all, if you want to be successful, you need to focus on one goal at a time. By saying no to requests that don’t advantage you in any way or that aren’t aligned with your goals, you are moving faster towards your goals as you eliminate any distractions. It also allows you to deliver more for yourself and produce at a much higher quality.

Lastly, you just can’t do it all without your health and well-being taking a hit. Time is a limited resource and saying yes to everyone’s requests will only give you a never-ending to-do list that you just can’t seem to finish. When you’re constantly chasing after your tail, you’re more likely to burn out — especially if you’re overworking yourself with tasks that aren’t even what you want to be doing or passionate about.


Now that you know why you need to say no more often, here are 3 questions you can ask yourself to decide whether or not you should say yes or no to a request: Does this task help me achieve my goals?

A task that doesn’t bring you any closer to the finish line is not something you want on your to-do list: Is this task aligned with my priorities?

Ideally, everything you do daily is aligned with your priorities. You don’t want to do anything that is too far off from what you need to be focused on right now at this moment. Is there someone else who can do this instead?

Sometimes, there is someone that can do the job better than you can or simply has more time than you do. If that’s the case, you should consider declining the request.


As for how you can say no to someone or something, there are plenty of ways you can go about it. Here are 20:

  1. “Unfortunately, I have too much to do today. I can help you another time.”

  2. “The timing right now isn’t good. Can you keep me in mind for next time?

  3. “No, I won’t be able to fit that into my schedule this week.”

  4. “How thoughtful of you. I appreciate your offer, but this time I’m simply too busy with work.”

  5. “I can’t help, but I have some resources I can forward to you.”

  6. “I would love to help, but I have too much going on. Best of luck with your endeavors.”

  7. “I’m afraid I can’t. Let’s discuss this another time.”

  8. “I’m going to pass this time. Perhaps we can discuss this again next month.”

  9. “I’m not the right fit for this task. I can help you think of someone else to ask.”

  10. “I enjoyed helping you last time, but I am too busy to assist you right now.”

  11. “No, sorry. I need to prioritize other tasks right now.”

  12. “I’ve been feeling too busy at work lately. I will have to decline this time.”

  13. “I know that’s challenging for you, but I can’t help you at the moment.”

  14. “ I don’t have the bandwidth to help out right now.”

  15. “ I can’t help, but I know someone who can.”

  16. “ I don’t have any free time this week. Check in again with me next month.”

  17. “ I can’t help right now, but this person can.”

  18. “ I’m afraid my calendar is already full.”

  19. “ These resources can help you get started. Let me know if you have any questions.”

  20. “ No, I can’t.”

Remember, the more you say no to the things that don’t matter to you, the more you can say yes to the things that do.