THE SIMPLE LIFE: Saying No to You

Author Chris Wyman is a modern day renaissance man not satisfied with being second best or afraid of taking on a new venture or challenge…especially after a breakfast of bacon and eggs. 

Have you ever found yourself caught in the death grip of a bag of Cheetos, or pressing no when your alarm goes off at 5AM instead of going to the gym? Human nature has equipped with a weak sense of will power, but our inability to say no to ourselves goes further than that.

We have such a hard time saying no, even when we’ve told ourselves that we wouldn’t do something, because didn’t tell ourselves the right thing.

The mind is an amazing thing. Knowing how to leverage the way your mind works will help you live a simpler life by sticking to the promises you make to yourself. The reason why you think you have no will power is because you don’t know how to tell yourself no the right way.

Before I set you in the right direction to empower yourself to make the decisions you want to make rather than the decisions impulses tell you to make, it is important to understand why we should tell ourselves no.

A recent breakthrough by researchers at Boston College and the University of Houston, explains why part of the reason that we don’t follow through with the promises we make to ourselves is how say no to ourselves.

When you stand in front of the pantry, staring down those processed snacks you bought on sale, what do you normally tell yourself?

“I can’t eat junk food.”


“I don’t eat junk food.”

Don’t fret if you think there is no difference between the two, your English skills are up to par, however our brains hear these internal statements far differently than we do. Subtle differences like this can have profoundly different psychological effects.

I don’t is a choice, an assertion of your will; whereas I can’t is a restriction, something that is decided for you. When you tell yourself I can’t, you undermine your determination and you lose control.

The study showed that when faced with temptation, telling yourself “I don’t” instead of “I can’t,” makes you less likely to yield to that temptation. This has bigger implications than turning down junk food effectively though; knowing how to say no to you is a key step towards a simpler, happier and more successful life. When we say no to ourselves we make a decision that puts us in control of our life.

Slipping up and cheating our promises to ourselves leaves us at the mercy of our decisions. We end up feeling regret and frustration as a result of our weak will power. Taking control of your actions will help you live a simpler life by helping you to avoid that negative energy. So next time you’re in a death stare with a bag of Cheetos, tell yourself that you don’t eat junk food and you’re more likely to escape unscathed.

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