NO-vember: 5 Steps for Using the Word NO Without the Mom Guilt

Using the word 'no' to regain control of the crazy train

From a party you want to skip to a volunteer activity that you don't have time for - how to say no to life's never-ending requests.

Use the word NO without the mom guilt, to get control of all the chaos and free up more time for the things that really matter.

Use the Word NO Without the Mom Guilt

Somehow it’s already November (how did that happen?). Are you feeling like you’ve been run over by a train? Between new school routines, back-to-school events, fall activities, and Halloween, life can be so out-of-control. And within a few weeks, the holiday season will be in full-swing.

This is the perfect time to consider slowing everything down. If we gain control now, we can set ourselves up to enjoy the holidays. Try using the concept of NO-vember with me.

What is NO-vember? It’s a reminder that it’s okay to say ‘no’ without suddenly becoming overcome with mom-guilt. In NO-vember, use the word NO without the mom guilt.

Have you ever done this?  Someone asks you to do something and you know you don’t have the time, or quite frankly aren’t in the mood.  You feel brave and you respond with ‘no’ and then you suddenly feel guilty and you back-track.  You end up saying yes, and maybe even offering more than the person even asked of you initially.  Ugh!  I do this quite often, do you?

No-vember is a way to give yourself permission to say no without feeling guilty (or at least minimizing the guilt). That might sound crazy – how can it be possible to say no without feeling guilty? The trick is to limit the emotion, and base the decision on logic and reason so that mom guilt can go away (or at least most of it).

This approach will help you get control of all the chaos and free up more time for the things that really matter. 

If you like this No-vember style, you can continue throughout the year. If you don’t, go back to what you were doing before. This is an experiment. Give it a try!

For No-vember, follow these 5 simple steps to overcome the guilt and embrace the word no. Here are your 5 Steps for using the word NO without the mom guilt.

(And look for a list of a 50 things you should say ‘no’ to + a list of 25 things to say YES to. It’s a great list of ideas to jump start your NO-vember.)

Use the Word NO Without the Mom Guilt

1. Determine Your Priorities

Take 30 minutes and write out your priorities for the rest of the year.  We have 8 weeks (or less, depending on when you’re reading this) to make 2017 count. 

What do you have left to accomplish?  Think about all aspects of your life – health, relationships, spiritual, career/finances, and personal development – and compare where you’re at with where you want to be.  These gaps you want to fill are your priorities.

Write out the priorities in each area and then rank them.  Choose the top 2 or 3 for your focus (you can use anything that’s leftover and doesn’t fit as part of next year’s plan, don’t try to cram it all into the next few weeks).  For example, your list might look something like:

1 – fit into my cute holiday dress

2 – reconnect with my spouse

3 – spend quality time with my kids, separately, each day

2. Write Out Your Non-Negotiables for Each Day/Week

Look at the list of priorities you made in step one and identify what activities MUST be done in order to achieve each.  For example,

1 – I will follow my macro-dieting plan each day

1 – I will work out at least 4 times a week, using the 30 Day Challenge I’m currently pursuing 

2 – I will book a babysitter on Monday each week for either Friday or Saturday night

2 – My spouse and I will make a plan for our date night activity no later than each Wednesday

3 – I will set aside at least 30 minute in my calendar each day per child. I will let him choose our activity. I will not look at any electronics during our scheduled time.

3. Set Your Schedule for Everything That Fits Into Your Priorities

The key is to get really deliberate about your schedule, if you aren’t already.

Fill in your calendar with (1) everything that MUST be done daily (e.g. drop kids at school), feed kids lunch, bedtime routines, etc.Use the Word NO Without the Mom Guilt

Then, add in all the activities that match to your plan from step 2.

If there’s any time leftover, figure out (in advance), how you want to spend that ‘free’ time.  Will you relax, will you go out once a week with girlfriends, work on a business venture, or maybe you want to read a book?

4.  Now figure out if anything was left off the plan and find opportunities to say NO.

Look at each invite, activity, event, and opportunity that has hit your inbox. Does it match your priorities? Great, if it (truly) does, put it in the schedule. 

Most likely, there are at least a few requests that don’t match your priorities, say NO to them.

If you’ve already agreed and realize you made a mistake, you will need to call the person and tell them you’ve changed your mind.

HOLY CRAP, imagine changing our minds and stepping away from a commitment.  Doesn’t this contradict everything we were taught growing up – follow through, never quit, power through even if it’s hard? But, we have to recognize we make mistakes along the way and it’s better to let the person know in advance that you’ve over-committed .

This step is tricky but critical, don’t skip it. 

5. Make it fun!  Keep score of every time you say no in NO-vember.

And the last step is to make this fun.  Keep a tally of how many times you say NO in NO-vember.  Track all of them – everything from the simple no’s like saying ‘no’ to an extra slice of pizza to the BIG no’s like changing a commitment you already made (actually, give yourself a double-score for those!)

How does this plan sound to you – scary or liberating, or something in between?

And now that you have the 5 step process for saying NO in NO-vember, here are two resources to help make it easier:

  • Download the List of 50 things to say ‘No’ to in No-vember (+25 things to say YES to) 
  • Check out this NO-vember Pinterest board for inspiration



I’m excited to hear how NO-vember goes for you.  Drop me a comment below if you plan to participate and let me know how it’s going for you. 

I’d love to hear your NO-vember stories.  What are you saying NO to?  Are you still feeling guilt when you say NO, or has using reason and logic over emotion helped to overcome that guilt?

And here’s that list of 50 Things to Say ‘NO’ to in NO-vember (+ 25 Things to say YES to).  My favorite is #39, what is yours?

50 Things to Say NO to in NO-vember (+25 Things to Say YES To)
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