Around the first of the year I always try to think of things I can approve upon for the upcoming year. Kind of like resolutions, but not quite.

One thing I always struggle with is being a people pleaser. I have an overwhelming desire to make everyone around me happy, even if it can be detrimental to myself.

So I end up picking up extra shifts to work because I feel like I should or agreeing to donate my time to organizations or events that I just don’t want to be a part of.

I also find myself constantly giving things to people. It’s usually candy, because well, I always have a ton of candy with me pretty much all the time. It’s quite often my time and resources that I give away freely also.

But it’s hard being a people pleaser. It’s exhausting mentally, physically and emotionally. When you stretch yourself thin trying to please everyone else, you forget to take the time to please yourself.

It’s so important to remember that you can’t take care of other people until you take care of yourself. Sometimes it’s ok to put yourself first. I feel like this is so hard to really take to heart if you are a parent. So much of your time and energy is spent on your children. But if there isn’t anything left in you, then you can’t give support to your kids.

So my goal this year is to try and cut back on the people pleasing. I am going to use that dreaded word NO more often. It’s kind of scary to think about, not even going to lie.

Since I’m not the only people pleaser out there, I’m going to share some strategies that I intend to implement this year.

• Realize you have a choice. Shocker! You can say no. You don’t always have to say yes when someone asks you to do something or to get involved. The world will not end and people will not hate you if you say no. Ok, so they might dislike you for a little bit, but they will get over it!

• Set your priorities. Think about what is truly important to you and only get involved with those things. If it doesn’t interest you, then just say no. Try to stay focused on what really means the most to you. If rescuing snapping turtles isn’t your passion, then just say no.

• Stall. This is a good one. When someone asks you to do something, you can tell them you need to think about it. This gives you a chance to really think things over. Will you have time? Will this cause you stress? Do you really want to do this? And then you can hope they forget they even asked you and just move on! Although, it probably would be wise to let them know either way what you decide to do. Let’s not forget our manners!

• Consider if you are being manipulated. So if people know you are a people pleaser, you can be easily taken advantage of. They know you can’t refuse and so they can always count on you to do their bidding. They might try to butter you up with compliments. Don’t let them fool you. You might be awesome at it, but it doesn’t mean you need to do it for them. Just tell them your awesomeness is being used elsewhere.

• Consider if it’s really worth it. Is putting your time and effort into something really going to make it worthwhile for you? I feel like this one can apply to relationships, both personal and professionally. Are you putting more work into a relationship than the other person is? Maybe it’s time to reconsider and think about the relationship. Is it really worth it? Does it seem like the other person could really care less about the relationship? People pleasers can be taken advantage of in relationships.

• Don’t give a bunch of excuses. You have the right to just say no. You don’t need to give a bunch of excuses to validate your feelings. These excuses can also give the other person a way to talk you into doing it. You don’t need to justify to anyone your reasoning for not wanting to do something.

• Choose the people you want to please. Put together a small group of close friends and family that you want to keep spoiling with your time and attention. Eliminate the people that steal your sunshine or knock your crown off. These people will suck the life out of you.

• Please yourself first. Wow. This might be the hardest to do, but also the most fulfilling! Since you will be saying no to everyone else, say yes to yourself. Need some new shoes? YES! Want your hair colored? YES! Want to spend a week on a beach in Hawaii? YES, YES, YES! See, this can be loads of fun!

So lets do this together! Let’s stop trying to please everyone, because it’s impossible. Think about what is really important to you, and run with that. It’s OK to say no, and it’s OK for people to not like you. Like a wise person once said, you can be the sweetest peach in the world, but there will always going to be someone who doesn’t like peaches.