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No thank you, I don't want that cake

From: HypnoBlog,

No thank you, I don't want that cake

One of the less pleasant things about running my own business is the constant barrage of sales calls I get. In particular, the people selling SEO (search engine optimisation) really do not understand the meaning of the word ‘NO’. It’s been a particularly active week for them and, as I was saying ‘no’ in a calm and assertive way for the tenth time, it got me thinking about how important it is to be able to say ‘no’ effectively.

Saying ‘no’ is one of the things I talk about with my clients a lot, particularly those who are trying to reduce their weight. People really don’t like saying no. Why? Partly, it’s because we fear being judged negatively when we say no to others - and partly it’s because if we are saying no it means that we are denying ourselves something that we want.

Let’s imagine that someone is trying to reduce their weight and therefore has their meals carefully planned, and then they are offered a delicious looking piece of cake in the mid-afternoon to celebrate a colleague’s birthday. Saying ‘no’ will mean that the birthday boy may feel upset - additionally, the cake does look lovely and not having a piece will stir up feelings of acute deprivation. You’re torn between the short term pleasure of the cake and pleasing your colleague and the long term pleasure of reaching your ideal weight.

Whether you choose to have the cake or not will determine whether or not you reach your goal. And it’s up to you to decide which is most important to you - the piece of cake or your slim healthy body.

To take us back to the SEO salespeople: I could say yes to all of them, but the consequences would be dire - I’d be paying money to many, many people for a service I don’t actually need, regardless of how tempting their sales patter is, and I’d very quickly be bankrupt. In the same way, if you say yes to every piece of cake or every temptation you’re offered, you’ll end up fat.

So how can you make saying no easier? Here’s my three step plan:

1. Keep your long term goal front of mind at all times and make all choices that affect it based on that goal. After all your goal is what you really, really want, isn’t it? And every piece of cake makes your goal a more distant dream.

2. Practise saying no to yourself and others - because the more your say it, the easier it gets. Notice how easy it is to say ‘no’ to things you don’t want or like (those pesky sales people, for a start).Then, using how that feels, try saying no in your imagination to anything that could stand in your way of success (e.g. chocolate); you could call this a mental rehearsal. Then do it out loud and for real, actually say ‘no’ to yourself and others. (I quite like to shout ‘NO’ at my children’s sweet tin - although only when I’m in the house on my own).

3. Really enjoy how powerful it feels to say to no - it puts you in complete control and allows you to make the choices that are most conducive to reaching your goal.

Best of all, it’s easier than you think...

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