Tag Archives: goals

Why We Struggle Saying No

noSaying No seems like it should be easy.  It’s just 2 little letters after all.  We learned it so well when we were toddlers!

The little word “no” can be one of the toughest words to get out. And I’ve started thinking about why.

Is it about avoiding conflict? Or maybe it’s all about timing, or not wanting to hurt someone’s feelings?  Or could an inability to say “No” be tied to underlying fears or insecurities?

5 reasons we might have trouble saying no:

1.  We have been trained.

Remember that 2-year old whose first words included Dada, Doodoo, and… No?  Oh dear, that wasn’t acceptable!  We train our children to stop saying no, and heaven forbid they say it to a teacher.  We have been trained to be compliant, and that makes speaking up for ourselves and our needs a little difficult.

2. We want to be liked.

It feels BAD to disappoint someone.  To see their face drop, or to get a sad-face emoticon response. We want people to like us, and we often internalize their disappointment into messages of our own worth and likability. That makes it hard to say no.

3. We want to be “good.”

This goes along with the compliant learning, but I think there is something in us that often tells us that “good” people are always helpful and always social.  We don’t stop to think about how always being that way would make a person burn out or become resentful (uh – opposite of good).

4. We feel rushed.

Because of our ingrained training, we often don’t take time to think about our answer, and the automatic “Sure!” comes right on out.  In our instant gratification society, taking a little time to think about an answer can be frowned upon (and that takes us back to #2 – no frowns desired).

5. We fear rejection.

I think this is the bottom line. When we tell someone “no,” they have the opportunity to dislike us, form an unflattering opinion of us, or dismiss us completely.  We fear isolation, disconnection, and disapproval.

These desires and fears are real.  They are powerful.  And fear can keep us in a really unhappy place if we let it.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

It is possible to say No to others and still be liked, still be good, AND take care of yourself too.  We’ve had a lot of practice at being compliant – now it’s time to incorporate a little self-care into the our lives, and stop saying yes when we really mean no.

It will be OK if you do.

Need help saying no? Free Webinar!Click the image to learn more about my free webinar June 24th!

doing some training and always laughing!

Christine Morgan is a Professional Life Coach, Counselor, and Teacher. She began her career empowering others through Social Work and Education, yet her personal journey is a muddier road than any resumé implies. She knows the effort it takes to cope, to believe in yourself, and to let go of what other people think or expect. If you are tired of feeling stuck or overwhelmed, and would like new skills and support on your journey, contact her today!


Setting Healthy Boundaries

Boundaries are an interesting topic – we love to talk about them, talk about when other people violate them, and sometimes even acknowledge that we have trouble setting them clearly. But many of us don’t really know methods for setting them effectively.

So we set boundaries awkwardly, aggressively, or not at all.

And then we get angry at, or critical of, ourselves or others for “violating boundaries” that weren’t well expressed in the first place.

setting boundaries can be difficult and awkward, but don't stop

What if we never learned where “I” end and “you” begin?

Maybe no one set healthy limits when we were growing up.  Maybe we didn’t have any effective role models, or maybe we didn’t have support or encouragement. Or maybe we had our boundaries completely violated without our consent.There can be many reasons why we didn’t develop them, but none of those reasons actually help us move forward.

And so we find ourselves unable to say no, unable to accept when good things are meant for us; we find ourselves feeling selfish whenever we think about self-care, or we find ourselves controlling and deciding the needs for others.

But it’s not too late. Because setting healthy boundaries is a skill. It’s a skill that can be learned and adjusted as needed. Our boundaries adapt depending on the situation, yet revolve around our central values.

Boundary work requires practice.  So how do we start? Maybe with these 3 As of healthy boundaries.

The 3 A’s of setting healthy boundaries

1. Awareness

The first step in any healing and learning process is becoming aware of where we currently are, and what we want to learn or heal.  In what situations are you allowing others to control you? In what situations are you trying to control (protect and rescue included!) others?  How does this impact your life?

2. Action

In order to make any changes in our lives, we have to take action. We can be aware of all kinds of things, but unless we take steps to heal and learn new skills, we will get stuck just living in the same routine.  What new steps can you take today to make changes?  And can you allow yourself to do these steps imperfectly as you practice and learn?

3. Acceptance

If you have trouble letting go or saying no, then you have to know that about yourself, and be gentle with yourself.  Learning a new skill isn’t easy – imagine you were going to start learning the piano today… would you be a master of it tomorrow?  Accept that this is an area of work in your life, and promise to be kind to yourself, and others as you practice.

You teach people how to treat you.

Teach them well.


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Overcome Limiting Beliefs

So, by now, you are in the middle of it, right?

Charging ahead, working on those “New Year, New You” resolutions.  Headed to the gym before work, reading a new book each week…


Oh wait.. no?
Are you feeling defeated?
Are you losing some steam?
Feeling discouraged or overwhelmed?

Psst – it’s totally normal.

Have you heard of limiting beliefs? It’s a concept we talk a lot about in coaching.  Limiting beliefs, simply put, are lies we tell ourselves that stop us from succeeding, that stop us from even moving. We’ve picked them up over the years, through watching our parents figure out their own place in the world, from crabby teachers who don’t like children, from bossy friends telling us how to fit in – even from society at large giving us “information” on what women and men “should” be like.

Limiting beliefs tell us when we “can’t” do something. Falsely.  These lies create little stories in our head and attach emotions such as fear, doubt, or shame.  Powerful, paralyzing emotions.  And those thoughts, paired with emotion, over time, become habits.  It becomes normal to sabotage our dreams, to believe we can’t achieve goals we set.

Samples of limiting beliefs:

  • I can’t quit, addiction is too powerful.meLpMPsa
  • I’m never going to be as good as she is, so why try?
  • I don’t deserve it anyway.
  • No one even cares what I do anyway, so why try?
  • It doesn’t matter what I do.
  • No one will like me that way.
  • Being rejected is too painful to risk it.
  • I’m just going to embarrass myself by trying.
  • I’m not good enough.

Lies. All of them.

What if … we stopped believing the lies?

Does it seem possible to stop believing the lies?

I will admit, it’s not easy.  It takes time, it takes practice, and it takes a real desire for change. And sometimes, a new wave comes up and you have to start over again. (Another thing that’s normal!)

But the good news? These thought patterns ARE YOURS.  You are the only one who has the power to change them, and you can overcome!

How to begin to overcome your limiting beliefs:

limiting beliefs1. Make the choice.  First you have to want to, really want to, let go of those old thinking patterns.  It’s hard – even when they are unpleasant, they are still comfortable. They are known. So the first step is to set your mind, set your will, choose to step out of this dirty comfort.

2. Get some help. Because these thoughts are habits, they are quite comfortable. So it’s hard to recognize when we are falling into these old traps. Get a friend or a coach who will hold you accountable. Someone who will gently remind you of what is truth, what is possible, and what you can really do!

3. Replace the lies.  You need new truth to fill the thought space of your old thinking.  And you need to remind yourself constantly of this new truth!  Put post-it notes on your computer screen, your bathroom mirror. Change your passwords, your screen-savers, your lock screen on your phone to phrases that will remind you of all that you can do.

4. Practice, Practice, Practice.  It takes time to train your brain. Just like learning to play the piano, it takes time to learn a new skill. So be kind to yourself  while you learn to make new statements and let go of the old.

Samples of overcoming statements:

  • I am more powerful than addiction.
  • With God’s help, I can do anything.
  • I am doing what I am meant to do.
  • I am meant to fully live this life.
  • Through my work, I can help others.
  • Everything I do is a learning experience.
  • I am enough.

Your statements will be yours.  They will lift you up, remind you of who you truly are and all you meant to be.

So play with this idea. Talk with a friend about what holds you back and what would get you going again.

Because we have to recognize it in order to conquer it.
And we can.


Stretch photo by Alvimann MorguefileStretch.  

(v) verb. to straighten or extend one’s body or a part of one’s body to its full length, typically so as to tighten one’s muscles or in order to reach something.
(definition source: google)

We stretch.
We reach.
We strive.
We grow.

What we don’t often realize, is that we are doing it every day.

stretching, changing


You are stretching, growing, changing.

What stretch are you feeling today?


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