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100 Things to Say “No” To for a Happier Life

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Here’s a mind-blowing question for you: what’s the magic word? If you’re like most people, you’ve been conditioned to respond the magic word is, please. But most people would be wrong.

As it turns out, the magic word is not please, but rather no!

This might be a tough pill for you to swallow, but being able to say no to people and things you don’t have time or energy to deal with is essential to protecting yourself on all levels:

  • physically
  • mentally
  • and emotionally

To get you started, here is a list of things to say no to for more happiness and life satisfaction, from work to play. If you’re looking for more ideas and tips on how to be happier, you might also enjoy this blog post on the top 30 habits of the happiest people in the world.

A cartoon of a woman listing things to say no to for a happier life

What Things to Say “No” To?

Life is all about balance. It’s essential to find the right balance for yourself and set priorities.

When you know what matters most to you, it’s easier to say no to the things that don’t matter. That way, you can get your life together and have more time, space, money, and energy to put towards the things that DO matter in your life!

Think of this list of things to say “no” to as a menu; choose the items that suit your fancy and disregard the rest – for now.

But remember, just because one life boundary doesn’t trouble you today, that doesn’t mean you’ll never need to set boundaries about it in the future. Likewise, if you take the time to learn how to set boundaries today, it’s easier to maintain them in the future.

Plus, you’ll now know how effective it is to do so!

Half of the troubles of this life can be traced to saying yes too quickly and not saying no soon enough.

– Josh Billings.

100 Things to Say No to for a Happier Life

Here are 100 things to say no to in your life so that you can say a loud YES to the things that matter!

You can also watch the YouTube video where I shared my top ten favorite “nos”.

RELATED POST: Top 20 Things to Let Go of for More Happiness in Life

THings to say no to for more Life Satisfaction

  1. Getting it all done
  2. Fear of judgment
  3. Comparing your life to someone else’s
  4. Being materialistic
  5. Being ungrateful
  6. Instant gratification
  7. Overstimulation
  8. Ignoring your problems
  9. Too much stress
  10. Perfectionism

Perfection is not a standard; it’s an obstacle.

— Unknown

things to say no to at Home

  1. Over-the-top recipes
  2. Freebie addiction to stuff you don’t need
  3. Systems that don’t work
  4. Excessive hobbies you don’t have time for
  5. Visual clutter
  6. Doing it all – alone
  7. Jarring colors in your home
  8. Poor lighting
  9. Wearing shoes inside the home
  10. Too many books

I have come to the conclusion that buying books and reading them are two separate hobbies.

― Unknown

what to say no to for a simpler Wardrobe

  1. Strict fashion rules
  2. Trends
  3. Fantasy self clothing
  4. Clothes that don’t fit
  5. Uncomfortable shoes
  6. Washing clothes too often
  7. Cheap fabrics
  8. Slippery hangers (choose velvet instead)
  9. Messy drawers
  10. High-maintenance clothes (dry clean only or fussy fabrics)

“One thing I’ve learned is be comfortable in your skin, and more importantly, be comfortable in your shoes.”

― Octavia Spencer

say not to this for your Health

  1. Being a couch potato
  2. Diet culture
  3. Bad habits
  4. Dehydration
  5. Toxic chemicals
  6. Fast food
  7. Too much salt
  8. Poor posture
  9. Last-minute meal planning
  10. Poor sleep hygiene

“A good sleep and a good laugh are the two best cures for anything.”

― Irish Proverb

saying no for mental health & productivity

  1. Procrastination
  2. Saying “always” and “never”
  3. Regret
  4. FOMO
  5. Non-stop notifications interrupting your life
  6. Doom scrolling
  7. Negative self-talk
  8. Bad routines
  9. Always having a goal
  10. Too much multi-tasking

“If you don’t have time, the truth is you don’t have priorities. Think harder, don’t work harder.”

— Tim Ferris

things to say no to in Relationships

  1. Blind loyalty
  2. People who only take
  3. Debbie Downers
  4. Gossip
  5. Talking but not listening
  6. Lack of trust
  7. Chronic liars
  8. Manipulators
  9. Too much partying
  10. Being too sensitive

“You can’t change the people around you, but you can change the people around you.”

— Unknown

A woman smelling flowers and enjoying her quiet home

saying no at work

  1. Toxic bosses
  2. Taking work home with you
  3. Unmanagable workloads
  4. Too many meetings
  5. Fear of negotiating
  6. Avoiding feedback
  7. Technophobia
  8. Complacency
  9. Academic guilt
  10. Addiction to checking your email

“Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.”

— William Penn

say no to bad Money habits

  1. Debt
  2. Impulse buying
  3. Keeping up with the Joneses
  4. Too much hustle culture
  5. Inflation
  6. Upgrading your tech
  7. Eating out all the time
  8. Late fees
  9. Subscriptions and memberships you don’t use
  10. Not having a budget

“The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.”

— Henry David Thoreau

what to say no to for the Environment

  1. Food waste
  2. Fast fashion
  3. Junk mail
  4. Energy wasting
  5. Drying clothes in the dryer
  6. Too much driving
  7. Shopping addiction
  8. Always running the A/C or heat
  9. Harsh chemicals
  10. Single-use plastics

“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.”

— Unknown

say no to these Parenting problems

  1. Mom or dad guilt
  2. Too much stuff
  3. Being inflexible
  4. Sweets and candies
  5. Poor boundaries
  6. Chaotic schedules
  7. Disrespectful language
  8. Yelling
  9. Fibs and lies
  10. Doing everything for your kids

“Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.”

— Robert Fulghum

Final thoughts on things to say no to

We can say no to countless things to have happier, more successful lives.

The things we choose to say no to will be different for each of us, but the important thing is that we make conscious choices about what we do and don’t want in our lives.

What things would you add to this list? Please drop a comment below and let me know!

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A woman holding a bouquet of flowers and staying at home in peace


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