Yes. Such a simple, yet powerful word.
Maybe you said it when the right one asked for your hand in marriage. Maybe you said it when your soul told you to walk away from the one who wasn’t right. Big, small, momentous and inconsequential, how we use the word yes can shape life as we know it.
My own personal year of yes — a year in which I said yes to every exciting adventure, invitation and opportunity that came my way — began quite unremarkably. There were no grand declarations. To be honest, I don’t know how it started, but once it did, it took on a life of its own.
Over the course of the year, I went whitewater rafting, took all of the trips, went to more concerts than I could count, reconnected with old friends, made new friends and became an active participant in my life by saying yes to things I might have hesitated on before.
At the same time, I also learned sometimes saying yes really means saying no. It means saying no to relationships, people and activities that no longer serve you. It means saying yes to putting yourself and your own needs ahead of what you feel obligated to do. Of course, some obligations can’t be ignored — here’s looking at you, work and bills — but so many other things can, and life is far too short to be weighed down with things that don’t make you happy.
Eventually, my year of yes fizzled out almost as unremarkably as it began, which is probably a good thing. I’m not sure my bank account or my body could have done it for much longer! However, what I learned in that year has continued to serve me. For example, I now know I need to say yes to things to feel fulfilled. When I find myself saying no or saying yes to things that don’t make me happy, then I’m not in a good place mentally, and I need to step back to re-evaluate.
Saying “yes” can be intimidating, but it can also open up your eyes to new experiences, teaching you how to be comfortable with new possibilities and, more importantly, with yourself.
Embark on your own year of yes. Here’s how you can start:
Step 1: Ask yourself why you say no to things.
Step 2: Make a list of things you’d say yes to if someone asked.
Step 3: Ask yourself to do the things from Step 3.
Step 4: Lay ground rules. (No spending money you don’t have, etc.)
Step 5: Say yes.
A few ideas to get you started:
- Say no to someone or something you don’t usually say no to.
2. Say hello to at least five new people a day.
3. Wear an outfit you love.
4. Go on a spontaneous trip, near or far.
5. Let your kids make dinner.
6. Plan an unexpected night out or night in with friends.
7. Eat one food a day you truly love.
8. Go to an event where you know no one.
9. Start a new hobby.
10. Reach out to someone you’ve lost touch with.
11. Have a cake with candles or a decadent dessert for no particular reason.
12. Go to dinner with an older person in your life.
13. Lunch away from your desk for a week.
14. Go to Happy Hour with a coworker you don’t know very well.
15. Stay in when you know you need it.