A Time to Say Yes

By Shani Petroff

Priorities. We all have them, but sometimes they can get lost. Things come up and what we want to do and what we need to do can get replaced by something we don’t even know why we’re doing. That’s why it’s important to know when to say no. (I wrote about the power of no in my last article. However, it’s also extremely important to know when to say yes!

Here are some times when I’ve found yes is the way to go — even if part of me wanted to say no:

Getting out of bed. By this, I mean at a normal time. I have a tendency to sleep as late as possible. I waste hours just lying in bed (even when I’m awake), because I don’t want to get my butt in gear. I’m all for rest, and an occasional overindulgent, lazy day is great, but in general, when that alarm clock goes off — it’s time to say yes to getting up and starting the day. I am so much more productive when I don’t dillydally and get straight to work. I make breakfast, I prepare lunch, I get a jump on my projects. None of that happens when I go back to bed. 

Exercising. My gut reaction is always no to this one. I’d rather veg on my couch than go on the elliptical, and I’d rather sit in an air-conditioned car than walk, but I’d also rather not be out of breath when I run a few blocks, worry if my hips will fit in a tiny theater seat, and not have any energy. Since the benefits outweigh the negatives (which are basically my laziness and dislike of sweating), this also gets a yes.

Social life. Seems obvious, but you may be surprised how many times I’ve put this one on hold. I’ll make the effort when I lose 10 more pounds, when I finish my book, when this project is over, after the holidays, after the summer, etc., etc., etc. Only life doesn’t stop because I’m not my ideal size or because I have an assignment. It’s time to live now, to love ourselves now, to make the most of the moments we have now. I’ve found if I feel self-conscious, I just have to fake it ’til I make it. Choosing events where I’m more at ease also helps. Going to a friend’s party or a happy hour for an organization or charity I’m involved with is so much easier than a random event. It gives a common ground to start a conversation. I actually met some great people, including the guy I’m seeing now, at a college alumni–networking event — an event I almost didn’t go to because I was busy working on my book. I finally realized that the time I spent procrastinating watching Youtube videos and reruns of Friends would be better spent socializing, so I went. Meeting someone I’d wind up dating was an unexpected surprise. And when it came time for that first date, my schedule was still super-busy, but I made the time.

Vacation. I freelance at a news station, so on days I don’t work, I don’t get paid. It makes turning down days difficult. So I say yes to a lot of the shifts that I am offered. After all, I like being able to pay my bills, eating, and so forth. However, I’ve also come to learn that I need to say yes to some fun, too. As a result, when I got invited to my cousin’s wedding in Cleveland, I said yes. When my brother and his family said I should come visit, I said yes. It means missing some days of work, but it also means getting some time off and enjoying myself.

It’s all about balance. It’s not always easy, but ultimately we decide how we spend our days. Some decisions are no brainers, others harder, some things warrant a yes, others a no. Sometimes what we want and what we need are in contrast, but listening to our intuition can help steer us in the right direction.

I’m trying to listen.

When do you find it important to say yes? You can find me on Connect @shani!

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