You need to realize you have the ability to say no and be assertive and not give into temptation. Don’t let other people outside influence your decisions in terms of what you’re trying to achieve with your goals and your lifestyle changes.
You need to always keep going back to your goals. As you can see you’re building your program step by step. Chances are by now that you’ve come across some situations where you’ve had to say no to people or where you felt uncomfortable about asserting your new diet.
What we are going to review is how to say no and not feel guilty about it. Your weight loss goals are important to you in achieving your goals and you’re hoping other people around you respect your boundaries and what you’re trying to accomplish.
Saying no, is if we look at you as a person and you have your sphere of influence, which is where you control your life.
Now, let’s introduce the concept of personal boundary. To a lot of people the concept might seem a bit strange of your personal boundaries and personal space. Let’s delve a little bit deeper and talk about what actually happens inside your personal boundary and how you should think about it.
This step will help you say no, and not only say no, but hear no as well. Some don’t like to say no to people and they also don’t like being told no themselves, however, this can be used to your benefit.
Imagine you have a big circle and inside of the circle is your boundary. This boundary is where you have total control over what influences your life. Inside your boundary is 100% in your control. You have the ultimate choice as to what happens within you as a person and this really just basically comes down to what decisions you are able to make.
Everything that’s outside of your circle is where you have no control what so ever. This could be the weather, your kids, your partner, how people drive, anything, zero control. However, you can influence certain things to have some control, but ultimately at the end of the day when we’re talking about others, you have zero control over what any person does, says, feels, acts, etcetera.
You control you. You can never control the decisions of another person. And factors outside of your control aren’t in your control. However you can control how you react to them.
The Personal Boundary
Now, problems occur when you have a weak boundary. When your circle is not complete and has holes or gaps that can cause you weakness in moving forward.
Your boundary is essentially your security and your line of defence against stress and possibly hurt or loss. Stress is based on these two forms – hurt and loss.
It’s like the border of a country it and you decide what enters and what goes out. You are your very own customs and border protection for your personal boundary.
Yes, these have happened to us in the past and without control of your boundary, it gets weakened and distracts you from moving forward. What happens when you have a weak personal boundary, the inabilities to say no to people, things, or situations and stress can creep in and out again whenever it likes.
This happens mainly because of the big gaping holes in your boundary. You have no line of defence to help protect your motivation, your mindset, and how you feel about yourself because stress can come in whenever it wants.
You can imagine if you ever been in that situation where people take advantage of you, you’re complacent, you let things happen. What happens is that you feel pressured to give in to temptation.
Anytime you have a hole in your personal boundary it is where you want to say no to someone or a situation but you always give in and say yes. Even though you didn’t really want to.
To expand a little bit further on your personal boundary is what you control 100%. You actually will have energy or fuel to move forward in the direction of your goal. Your obligation to yourself as a person to be happy is essentially how you can fill your boundary or tank to the brim so you’re happy.
This is one way we can think about self-esteem.
You would have to agree that if you were low on energy, low on confidence, low on well-being, low on self-esteem and you could fill up to where you’re absolutely overflowing and have more than enough to give away; you have the choice.
But there is a recipe like way to build self-esteem and confidence. And it starts by saying no to those situations that do not serve you.
Essentially, it’s the difference between happiness and not being happy and my guess is that everybody likes to be happy.
Let’s go back to the holes and the boundary and say you have a container full of happiness, confidence, and well-being, but your container has holes, so your confidence, well-being, self-esteem just falls out through the holes.
Remember, anytime you do feel good about yourself, say you had a good workout, you went to the gym, you followed your diet correctly, or you did all these great stuff then you’re filling up your tank. Patching your holes may be harder with other people’s views of, why are you doing that or that’s not how you do it.
There could be anything trying to keep those holes in your boundaries open and it’s just things outside your boundary that you have zero control over. This constant struggle can leave you depleted with energy, confidence, and self-esteem.
Learning to say no and feel that it is okay is a main step in staying on track. Your psychological resources are worth protecting because this is what makes us happy and feel good. Then you’ve got the outside influences that can sometimes take you off track.
They may not have any idea of what they are doing, but essentially it’s something like- “I brought this cake into work, I know you’re on a diet, will you have some anyway?” And you’re just like, oh, I don’t know, maybe and then you give in.
Generally what happen is if you say no I’m on a diet and I don’t want to eat that, you’re creating a plug by saying no, and then that person’s request is just bouncing off of you. You just keep identifying these situations and keep saying no.
If you’ve got someone who maybe a little assertive who’s not supportive, just stand your ground. Don’t let them pull you in; remember you control everything in your boundary. The first couple of times may be hard for you to stay strong and in control; it just takes repetition and practice like building up a muscle.
The more you do this the easier it becomes and you are patching that hole.
You can actually measure how much well-being you are gaining, because when you are saying no to people you’re patching these holes and getting your needs met. A good example would be if you have a need to not eat chocolate and yet there is a person in your life that is constantly trying to feed you chocolate.
You say, I have a need to be healthy and happy and I feel like chocolate isn’t going to help me do that. You’re saying no to that behaviour and you’re meeting your need. Try making a list of the needs you’ve met in your life to feel better, these needs could be anything. And every time you get one of these needs met, you’re closing the door or patching that hole on that negative behaviour. You’re also building up your confidence, so it’s not draining out everywhere like it was before when you had that outside influence coming in and out.
These influences actually don’t get in in the first place and you can now fill up on all those good feelings that you get from getting your needs met by saying no. You should be patching those holes on that deal or offer or that outside influence.
We have been using the phrase “outside influence” because it’s easier to relate to, but this also could just be your influence too. You might have that battle in your head, where you kind of trick yourself into having something you shouldn’t or not going to the gym and then justify it to yourself later. You just need to look at the patterns in your life and realize this is how I’m going to build up my defence by saying no. Essentially, what you’re building is a shield.
Remember the power of saying no. It’s so simple but it will be best thing you can do for your weight loss and health goals.
Walls in Your Personal Boundary
Now, what you don’t want to do is to just block out everything, then your building up a wall. If you ever met anyone who’s cold, distant, just has no feelings, no emotion, no friends; chances are they’ve got massive walls in their personal boundary.
When we have walls up meaning nothing gets in and nothing gets out.
Some people would just put the walls up and not allow anything in or out, which would not help at all in obtaining your goals. Don’t go down that path, but just practice by saying no. Think of your boundaries like little doors.
What will happen if you get an offer coming in or a request, well you can choose to open the door and let it in or you can choose to close the door and keep it out so it bounces off you. You will only be able to get to that stage by practicing saying no over and over again, particularly in areas that you know you’re weak in.
We want to start thinking in a win/win way. Rather than accepting win/lose deals for example, when you let someone make your decisions or when you fail to say no too people situation or things that do not support your goals.
Patch these holes and look out for those deals, the psychological deals that make you feel very good about yourself or support you to your goals.
Say no to people, situations or things that don’t support your goals.
Just think about how you can patch the holes and how you can operate like a door to let things in and not cut out everything by thinking win/win and rejecting psychological deals that don’t serve you.
You need to be able to accept certain psychological trades. Think of it like a border of a country, what country would you be? Are you a country that’s free, protects the rights of its people, or are you some third world country that you can just go in and do whatever you want.
This way you can begin to build a new identity based around the new person you want to be.
Understanding how to say no while strengthening your boundary is going to help you stay motivated to protect your mindset and your goals. Allowing you to follow through and get the results that you’re after.
Focus on what you can control and let go of the things you can’t. Don’t waste you precious time, energy and self-esteem to try and change other people or situation.
Practice making more decisions even if they are small at first. Build that decision making muscle and over time it will become easier to identify the situations where you may be tempted or lead of the path towards your goals.