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Overcommitting to things

Hi guys,


So I’ve had a bit of a revelation today - I’ve discovered that one of the reasons I’ve been getting so stressed is because I have a tendency to overcommit to things. I admit that I’ve been a lot better about saying no recently than in the past, however I’m really stressed because I have a massive commitment (which I didn’t think would be so massive at the time I accepted), and I feel quite underprepared.


So does anyone have any tips/ideas as to learn to say no, and also how to deal with the guilt that comes with doing that?


Thanks everyone. Heart

Re: Overcommitting to things

Hi @mrmusic, first of all, it's great that you've recognised that the tendency to overcommit to things is a reason why you've been getting stressed lately. I have a tendency to do that also but I always remember to think that I should always make sure that I take care of myself as a first priority and that people around me would agree with that too and so thinking that helped me to overcome the guilt associated with saying no. This mentality has also helped me to never be afraid to say no to several commitments. Hope this helps!

Re: Overcommitting to things

Hey @mrmusic 

Omg i can relate  sooo much to this. Im not much on advice but definently following along with interest. 


I find it really hard to say  no and if i do the guilt  eats away at me!  Hoping some others can give some advice here

**NEVER be afraid to ask for help because you're WORTH it!**

Re: Overcommitting to things

@mrmusic I can absolutely relate to this and I'm glad you made this thread to discuss it!

In terms of tips for how to say no, I use an acronym called DEARMAN, which my psychologist told me about.

You can find some more information about it here, but I'm happy to chat more about it if you like. Smiley Happy

Do you think it's something you could try?


And when it comes to the guilt, I find talking about it helps, seeking reassurance from people I know will be supportive and understanding. e.g. RO, my psychologist and certain friends.

// Spiral outward, keep going. //

Re: Overcommitting to things

I've read before about how a way to deal with bosses or co-workers is to kind of sneak in all of the work you've currently got going on in a conversation with them so that they're aware of everything without it sounding like you're complaining.

For example, going to them with a list of all that's on your plate and asking them to confirm that you're prioritising things right. Or (and this is the one that's more relevant) when you're asked to do something, you mention that you have or are focusing on x around the same time, asking which they hold more important to be done first.

Obviously, this isn't something you can immediately do in the rest of your life, but I think it can be adapted. So, if someone asks whether you can hang out on x, or help with y on z, you can list of the other things you're doing then or need to do around then in a way where you're just vocalising your schedule to figure out where to fit it in.
That way they may comment themselves that you're busy, or you can realising while listing that no it's actually going to be really hard and you can say that.

The other big thing, is I know that when I overcommit I realise but I just keep trudging along and/or spiral into the land of no return. Always, always, always, bring up any speed-bumps or concerns or anything once you're aware of it.
If people have notice, they are far more okay with any issues or delays or changes or whatever than if it's sprung on them. They'll be happy that you let them know sooner, rather than frustrated.

Re: Overcommitting to things

Thanks for the responses so far!


@Esperanza67 maintaining self care definitely needs to be a priority - even if its forced. Ive had self care drilled into me for a while now but I do find that when the going gets tough I need to actively force myself to do it, even though it feels so uncomfortable.


@scared01 just knowing that someone else is going through the same thing is reassuring.


@letitgo I’ve heard of DEARMAN before, but I’ve never successfully been able to put it into practice. It needs practice, but so far when I’ve tried to be more assertive, its just made things so much worse. I’ve also found that being willing to compromise is not enough a lot of the time - its their way or no way. But then again my social skills are pretty appalling as well!


@Birdeye that’s interesting and something I’d never thought of. Naturally, one would need to be very diplomatic in the way these hints are dropped, but you’ve given great examples. Alerting people as soon as a problem comes up is so important, and generally people will be more accommodating, and someone who is not is probably not someone who is going to promote a healthy (mainly professional) relationship.