The ability to say no is an art form. It requires not only knowing your own limits, but respecting them (and yourself) enough to walk away from things that stand in the way of your goals and desires. Things you may enjoy, but are detrimental to your progress, or worse, things you continue to do out of obligation.
Saying no isn't about being stubborn or disagreeable or shirking responsibility. I'm not talking about not taking care of your kids or not showing up for work (although, maybe it's time to think about getting a new job if yours just isn't working anymore - no shame in that). I'm talking about saying no to things that you don't have to say yes to, even if you feel like you should. I'm talking about getting out of situations that impede your growth or cause undue stress, and ultimately put you in your own way.
But how do you get out of your own way?
Stephen Covey said it better than I ever could:
You have to know your yeses. And when those yeses are big enough, it gives you the strength and purpose to say no to the other things. By continuing with the noes, you stand firmly as a hindrance to completing and enjoying your yeses.
Of course as runners, we do this all the time. We say no to beer with friends the night before a race. We sacrifice lazy Sunday mornings for long runs. We rearrange our schedules to fit in running and cross training. And this is something runners tend to be pretty good at when it comes to running, and I'm no exception.
Running is clearly one of my yeses and I have no issues saying no to things that get in the way of it. But sometimes, like last week, even running becomes a no because my body just decides it needs something else. Like rest.
I woke up with headaches almost every day last week and ended up hardly able to get off the couch by Friday. While I wish I could have got more miles in last week, my body just wasn't having it. Sleep deprivation, especially longterm where you end up in sleep debt, is no joke and I'm definitely suffering.
Last week's goals
|Goal 2||4 runs||Miss|
|Goal 3||2 barre classes||Hit|
Last week's workouts
- Monday: Barre class
- Tuesday: OFF
- Wednesday: Easy run - 5 miles (no watch)
- Thursday: Barre class
- Friday: REST (sick, exhausted)
- Saturday: Easy run - 5.01 miles (9:10 pace)
- Family bike ride - 8 miles
- Easy run - 3.01 miles (8:58 pace)
Last week's totals
Running miles: 13.02 miles
Biking miles: 8
Total workouts: 6
But at least I still got some workouts in, including running in this nasty 90+ degree heat and humidity. My only goal for summer workouts is just maintain decent(ish) mileage, run a few races, and continue with barre workouts.
So, yeses and noes. In running, in life. It's a balance. And for me, when it comes to bigger life issues (yes, there are more important things than running!), I'm not always as good at saying no as I am about things that interfere with running and working out.
But last week, I did. Last week, I walked away from a project that I really enjoyed and really believed in, but I knew it wasn't working for me. It was keeping me from other things, including sleeping well at night. It was blocking other bigger and better opportunities. I had been mulling over this for weeks and struggling because I felt obligated to continue, but I knew at it wasn't best for me. So I walked away. Pleasantly, smilingly, unapologetically, on good terms.
And I was free. I freed up my mind (and my time) for other things. The floodgates opened and I brainstormed jewelry designs and got together a materials sheet so I can order supplies and launch a small collection. I painted. And I picked up a non-profit volunteer project that I've been ignoring for too long. Don't get me wrong, I'm still a sleep-deprived mess who's stuck on a seemingly endless running plateau, but at least there's one less thing to keep me up at night.
And maybe now I'll have a little more space in my schedule to get out and do one of my other major yeses - standup paddleboarding (aka, saltwater therapy)! So here are my plans for next week:
Next week's goals
|Goal 2||3 runs|
|Goal 3||1 barre class|
There's so much pressure out there to do it all, including all of the noes. But if you try to do that, you will end up pissed off and worn out and your yeses will be languishing. You do not have to do it all. You don't. I don't. Do what's important and graciously, smilingly say no to the rest.