I find it funny that its the one thing that not many of us are good at. Apparently it’s a very British thing. I’m not sure if it is politeness, fear of repercussion or some other imaginary voodoo factor, but the bulk of us are rubbish at drawing a line before things go too far.
I’ve made a conscious effort since the start of the year to be aware of how far things are going and willingly putting a stop to situations before they escalate to a point where I am unhappy.
Straight after the inevitable Christmas gain at the scales (5lbs!) was the first time I put my strategy in play. I had my festive fun and decided to call a halt to the decadent eating a few days before New Year. I gave away all remaining party food and rearranged my cupboards back to the ‘Gem friendly’ configuration, and dug my heels in. I said ‘no’ to beer. I said ‘no’ to takeaways and pleading puppy eyes from James. My first class in January resulted in a loss of 4lbs, putting me almost back to my pre-Christmas weight. The strategy seemed to be working.
Fast forward another week, and the world fell in on top of me (damn it, I lasted a whole week and a half of 2016 before getting my knickers in a knot) – everything just happened at once. Poor weather stopped my running. I had an extremely busy week with some difficult customers who caused me no end of grief. This just added insult to injury on top of my snotty, frostbitten nose and numb fingers covered in cow poop and raw milk. My new car arrived, and I had to familiarize myself with it on treacherous country roads at three in the morning. My collie came in to season which caused logistical issues with my other (entire) male dog, who howls the house down if you separate him and leave the premises. You get the picture.
I still tried to employ my ‘Keep calm and say no’ strategy, albeit with a higher level of difficulty. I said ‘no’ to trying to squeeze in runs on slippy roads. I said ‘no’ to going to class to weigh in. Enough was enough, and I had to make sure my work was completed to the usual high standard and I didn’t end up with a litter of unwanted puppies. I survived with only one meltdown on Thursday night.
I realize now that I said ‘no’ to the wrong things. Yes, I employed my strategy, but to all the wrong situations. I should have said ‘no’ to my farmer who wanted me to attend his farm late on a Friday night. I should have said ‘no’ to extra responsibilities. I should have said ‘no’ to convenience food and poor eating choices. Sometimes planning ahead isn’t enough, and I’ve definitely learned a lesson from this past week. Next time a heavy week looms, I’m going to say ‘Enough is enough – but what is not important? What should I say no to?’
It is important to manage the expectation of your abilities and goals. Sometimes you do have to say no to things. Be strong and do it, but consider carefully whether the impact will be positive or negative on yourself – after all that’s the reason for doing it in the first place.