There are two ways to live your life: doing what you want to do and doing what others want you to do. One is not greater than the other but, for those of you want to live doing the things you want to do, it is essential you familiarize yourself with one simple word: NO. It closes doors and opens doors. It allows you to focus on your goals, and push distractions away. But above all, it opens the gateway to success. These are the three steps to learning to say NO:

Identify your priorities. Your priorities should challenge you, motivate you, and make you happy. For example, my main priorities are my health, relationships, school, and my app startup Napkn. At the end of the day, if I did something to benefit my health, foster my relationships, succeed in school, and grow Napkn, I won.

Have a plan. Your plan is your roadmap for the day. Write down your priorities, and fit everything else into your schedule accordingly.

Identify distractions and say NO. For example, throughout the day, if I am confronted with a distraction-which could possibly inhibit me from achieving one of those four things-you know the answer! NO. Although the distraction may be fun, I know my failure to invest time in my priorities will always triumph any fun that stems from a distraction.

If you haven’t identified your priorities, it’s time to do so. Write them down, put them on your calendar, and focus your time on those things above all. Some may think you are being selfish, but you have to put your personal goals in front of everything else. If you don’t have time for yourself, you have time for nobody. So, plan, ignore and achieve.

Things to note!

Sometimes a distraction isn’t a distraction! For example, let’s say one of your priorities is to maintain your relationships. If your friend asks you to go out, and you haven’t put in the effort that day to upkeep your relationships, it may be in your best interest to go out.

You may be called a “party pooper” or “fun killer”, but at the end of the day if you feel accomplished, who cares.

Everyone’s priorities are different. Always be understanding of where people invest their time.

It’s difficult to say it and you hate to hear it, but in order to control your destiny, you better start getting comfortable with it. You NO what to say…