When we are trying to change an unwanted behavior, we often get so focused on trying to find ways to say no to it that we miss the step of understanding why we say yes to it in the first place.
While learning how to say no is a valuable skill (and one we’ll look at in a future episode), understanding why we say yes can ultimately be more important and more effective than just getting better at saying no ourselves.
There are times when simply getting better at saying no to yourself (or your inner toddler) is the perfect thing to practice.
But when saying no becomes unsustainable and you find yourself rebelling more often than you are succeeding, it is time to take a closer look.
The reasons we give ourselves for choosing an undesired behavior are often rooted in some cognitive distortions or at least wishful thinking.
By identifying why we say yes to something that we should say no to (or vice versa) we can start to dismantle our faulty thinking and develop the skills to stay on track with ease.
Lab Experiment: (Click here to download )
Think about the reasons why you say yes to a certain behavior.
Make a list of:
- What you think this behavior gives you or how it benefits you (this is basically a list of your personal permission slips).
- The reasons others (friends, media, society) give for why people indulge in (or abstain from) this behavior.
- How you feel about others who exhibit this behavior.
Reflect on how you feel about this behavior now that you understand it from more angles. And keep this list handy for the next time you feel like saying NO isn’t going to cut it.