By Jamie Kirk

I am all for commitments. I am all about having and keeping a schedule. I believe that proper planning is an indicator of maturity. I think that planning avoids emergencies. When you have control over our schedule, you seldom make decisions out of fear, urgency, or desperation. In short, when you can extend invitations, it shows that you respect people’s time. However, the road to hell is often paved with good intentions. 

There are times when you make plans that just don’t come to fruition. The plans are sometimes made months in advance, and your calendar is absolutely clear. But as the date comes closer, the day is still open on your calendar, but your interest level of keeping your commitment is hovering around zero. 

Depending on the event, if tickets are involved or you’re traveling out of town, it can become almost impossible to cancel. If you have paid a deposit or other people are depending on your mode of transportation, canceling could be costly, not only financially, but could severely impact relationships. I think it’s okay to cancel, but when canceling will affect others, you have to really consider the downstream impacts. But when you dig deep, and you are honest with yourself, and you really don’t want to go – then don’t go. 

Fully understanding that the holidays are fast approaching and winter getaways are being planned, we have to be careful about over-booking ourselves. Over-booking occurs, in many cases, when we want to weigh our best options. We accept EVERYTHING, and then as the date occurs, we determine which event wins the grand prize – our attendance. This is fine for us because mostly, the other folks don’t know they lost out on the grand prize. Obviously, our conscience knows, but we can talk ourselves into or out of most decisions we make. 

We have to get into the pattern of saying NO when we don’t want to do something. Saying no is not offensive. We don’t need to offer an excuse. We don’t need to quantify our choice. We don’t have to broadcast our declination. In many cases, it is merely checking the box that says NO on the evite. It becomes so much more stressful to accept an invitation, knowing that you have no intention of fulfilling your commitment. 

So don’t say yes to invitations, meetings, trips, or appointments you really don’t want to do. We need to be more intentional. Meaning we need to schedule and accept invitations that purely will meet our needs (or whatever, we “think” our needs are). Most often, our desire to do something or not to do something doesn’t change over time. 

NO today, will likely still feel like a NO in three weeks. Unless your schedule absolutely changes, and you have a life-changing event, when you decline an invite, it’s what you wanted to do. Don’t be sucked into guilt or shame for honoring what you want to do when you want to do it. Your time is something you can and should be extremely selfish about. Because after all, of all the things in this short life we can return or get back, time is not one of them and never will be.