By Shannon Jones, Take Control Health Coach

One of the most important components of good health is maintaining balance in your life. Over-committing your time causes stress, and can lead to spending time on things that you don’t really value the most. We often want to please others, or not let them down, and end up committing to things that take time away from what we really want to do. Saying no is hard for many of us, but it’s an important skill to learn. Saying no allows us the time and energy to focus on our most important priorities. It allows us to reduce stress and more fully accomplish and enjoy our priorities.

Sometimes it’s hard to find the words to say no. I’ve put together some gracious ways to decline invitations and requests. Use my words, or make them your own. Saying no can be one of the best gifts you give yourself.


  • While I want to say yes, the reality of my limited time is making me say no.
  • I am honored by your request, but I’m in a season of refocusing my priorities and have committed not to add anything new right now.
  • Thank you for asking me, though I would love to say yes, the reality of my limitations means I need to say no this time.
  • I so appreciate you asking me, but I must be brave and decline this opportunity. Saying no is hard for me but necessary in this season. Thank you for understanding.
  • I’ve promised my family not to add any new commitments to my schedule right now. Thank you for our friendship, it allows me to be honest about my realities.
  • Thanks for thinking of me, but I have too much on my plate right now


  • Thank you for thinking of me. Your project sounds wonderful. However, as much as I would love to be involved, I can’t give your project the attention it deserves right now.
  • While I would love to connect about your new project, I am unable to help at this time due to my current schedule.
  • While I don’t have time to meet in person, I’d love to connect for a few minutes over the phone. I can talk from 8-8:30am.
  • Thank you so much for considering me for involvement in _____________. Unfortunately, I’m not able to participate this time. But I’m certainly confident you will find people that can help


  • Don’t be afraid to say it twice.
  • Sometimes people don’t respect boundaries, or are used to people caving if they ask again. Just because someone is persistent, doesn’t mean you have to give in. Smile politely, and say no a second time, just more firmly than the first.
  • What will you it cost to say “YES”? Time? Money? Health? Nothing comes for free.

If you’ve come up with your own gracious way of saying no, please comment below!

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