Stop saying “maybe” when you mean “no.”

We’ve been guilty of this at one point in our lives. Whether that is to a date that you didn’t want to go on or a project that your colleague asked for last minute help but you were swamped. We drop the ‘maybe’ with politeness hoping that the other forgets about the request.

The problem is our indecisiveness limits our opportunity to say ‘yes’ to future opportunities. Plus, there is a bit of guilt that drags our energy down when we keep delaying our decision making.

How do I change this bad habit?

First, start asking deeper questions. Why do you say ‘maybe’ instead of ‘no’? What would happen if you said ‘no’? How would you feel about that scenario? What are you worried about when you say ‘no’? What makes you unhappy about saying ‘maybe’ to ‘no’?

Second, start identifying patterns. Is it only when I feel under the weather or when I don’t want to do something? Is it because I fear that others would stop inviting me? Is it because I am bad with time management?

Third, start testing approaches. Do I feel more comfortable saying ‘no’ to events that I am unlikely to attend due to the location? Do I feel more comfortable saying ‘no’ to friends I do not know well yet? Explore what works and what is challenging.

Intentional and open-ended questions can be a powerful tool to guide you in any decision-making and investigation such as this.

This week ask yourself: “How might I use questioning to change bad habits?”

If you can change bad habits, you can learn how to build good habits too.

Monica Kang
Founder & CEO, InnovatorsBox

Originally published on our weekly newsletter on October 10, 2016. Want to get it in your inbox? Sign up today to get creative insights and resources every Monday morning EST.