Sarah Trass

How to stop saying YES when you really mean NO!


Have you ever found yourself in a position where you said yes but internally your whole body was screaming ‘NO! Why the heck are you saying yes right now!?’.

I used to find myself in these positions ALL.  THE.  TIME.

I’d say yes to dinner parties when all a really felt like doing was going home to relax.

I’d say yes to staying longer at work when I’d already promised myself I was going to take more time out for me and go to a yoga class.

I’d say yes to weekends with people I didn’t really enjoy spending time with, and leave feeling like a ball of tightly wound elastic ready to explode.

As a result, I’d either compromise my own wellbeing and happiness, or end up cancelling on people and spending the rest of the time feeling guilty about it. Either way it left me feeling frustrated with myself and mentally exhausted.


It wasn’t until my early twenties, when I was on the phone to my mum complaining about the dilemma I was in (yep I had once again said yes to something I really didn’t want to) when she asked the vital question: ‘why do you feel you have to say yes all the time? Now this may sound like a simple question, but it holds immense weight. I’ve known so many people throughout my life, who struggle with saying no – and it is something I still see a lot of today.


Why do we have such a hang up on saying NO?


Is it because we don’t want to let others down? Do we have an innate need to be liked by everyone? Or is it that we want to prove we can do it all? For me it was a little bit of everything. But the huge ‘aha’ moment for me here, was that I didn’t appear to have any boundaries.


I was constantly losing parts of myself and a crap load of energy trying to be and do everything, for everyone. It had to change.


After this lightbulb conversation I started exploring boundaries and putting them into action. Through doing this, I noticed a huge difference in the way I was being treated by others and more importantly by myself.

  • I could quickly identify the relationships and situations that served me, and those that didn’t.
  • I no longer felt like a radio signal picking up on others negative energy and drama.
  • I experienced less, and less self-doubt and second guessing.
  • My sense of self, and confidence shot through the roof.
  • I felt strong and in control of my life.


For me it became so much more than simply knowing when to say no. It became an exploration of what I stood for in life and what I was prepared to put up with. In a sense, working on my boundaries helped me design my own identity, and determined how I decided to show up each day in the work I did and the people I interacted with.


So this week I wanted to share my thoughts with you, so you can experience firsthand the impact of developing and actioning your own set of boundaries. Trust me, they are a game changer!


Five Simple Steps to Setting Healthy Boundaries.


1. Know what you value in life.

Begin by taking some time to sit back and define your top values. What’s important to you in regards to your personal and professional life? What do you strive to live by? What exactly are you comfortable with, what aren’t you? If you don’t know what you stand for in life, you’ll open yourself up to tolerating anything and everything that comes your way.


2. Develop an awareness around what specifically makes you feel out of alignment.

Reflect on the moments in your life where you felt your values were compromised. What specifically made you feel this way? Jot down the who, what, where and how’s. Once you have developed a list around what triggers red flags for you, you are now in the position of choice – you can start to focus on how you want to manage certain situations or people. Ask yourself: How would I like to strengthen my boundaries in the various facets of my life right now? Try filling out the following sentence:

I want to strengthen my boundaries around                            by                             .


3. Teach others how you want to be treated.

Fact: You can’t change other people, you can only change yourself. So now that you have your boundaries clearly mapped out, start implementing them into your day-day life. Live your boundaries by example, aka let your behaviour and actions do the talking. By focusing on changing yourself around certain people or situations you are in turn showing others how you want to be treated.


4. Don’t be afraid to speak up.

Communication is key when it comes to boundaries – especially when they are being pushed. A quick-fire way for someone to ignore your boundaries is if you say one thing but constantly do another. People tend to want the best for themselves in life, and will push your boundaries as far as they can to get what they want. So, stand strong in your boundaries and communicate them clearly if you feel they aren’t being respected. Often we can feel afraid of confrontation, or looking like you can’t ‘handle the jandle’. If you find yourself in this situation ask yourself what is more important here – being liked or staying true to yourself? If your boundaries are important to you, you shouldn’t feel guilty about sticking to them.


5. Explore your limiting beliefs.

If the last point hits home for you, and is something you struggle with, take the time to explore what is coming up for you here – what limiting beliefs do you hold to be true, or fear is true, about yourself. What is it about this belief that is causing you to relinquish your boundaries? For example: if you find yourself taking on more projects than you can handle at work, or continually working until the wee hours of the morning to get stuff done, are you abandoning your boundaries out of fear that you aren’t good enough? Or that you have to get things ‘perfect’ to prove yourself? What is behind these thought patterns?

Take the time to reflect and answer the following:

  • What does this belief tell you about yourself? What is it trying to protect you from? E.g. letting someone down, getting embarrassed etc…
  • Does this belief truly serve you in living a healthier, happier, and fulfilling life?
  • What needs to happen for you to shift this belief and stay true to yourself and your boundaries?


So there we have it, 5 simple steps to putting boundaries in place so you can start living a healthier, happier, and way more fulfilling life.

After reading this, I invite you to choose 3 boundaries you are willing to set in place and commit to for the rest of the week. Let me know how you go!


Remember – in life when you say yes to something, you are also saying no to something else. Therefore, are you comfortable with what you’re choosing to say yes and no to in your life right now?


Happy Monday wonderful people, have a fabulous boundary-filled week!



Sarah x

Start creating a life you love, right here, right now.  

Download your free workbook designed specifically to give you greater clarity around  what your best life truly looks like.


Your workbook is on its way to you. 

You’ll also receive access to exclusive content every month with practical tools and tips on creating a life you love. Don’t like it? No worries, you can unsubscribe in a click.

Sarah x