1) Understand that you have choices. Most the time people-pleasers feel like that don't have a choice, and they must do or say yes when someone asks for their help. You DO have the choice to say NO and it's ok to use it.
2) Organize your priorities. If you already have things lined up with previous commitments or you have your priorities set then it is much easier to say NO as you have a built in "excuse" in why you can't do it. It's your life, do what matters to you the most.
3) Take a moment – you don't have to respond right away. It is acceptable to tell the other person you have to think about it and you will get back to them at another time. This gives you time to weigh your options and think about the consequence. For the time you are allowing will most likely take away from others things and you could be taking on far too much.
4) Add conditions – Don't hesitate to add stipulations to your YES answers. For example, say yes I can help but only for this set amount of time and hold yourself to that time limit. Do NOT go over that allowed time.
5) Watch out for being buttered up and manipulated, there are plenty that will try to use you and ensure that their agenda succeeds, watch out for empty flattery and compliments. People will say what you want to hear so they get what they want.
6) Be firm when you say NO, you must show that you believe it yourself. If the other person feels that you are on the fence about saying it, they will try to weasel their way in. The first few times might be a little rough but the more you do it the more comfortable you'll be. Also if you come off confident the more others will take you seriously and learn to ask less.
7) Don't justify your decision, there is no need to defend your choice. You have every right to say NO and NOT defend it. It's your time and life, how you choose to spend it is absolutely up to you. You don't need to explain "why" ... or make up excuses... or be bullied into changing your choice. Absolutely never apologise for Saying NO, there was no crime committed in your choice, so there is no reason to say sorry.
"She set her boundaries and rebuilt her life. " — Cara Alwill Leyba