This world of ours is fast-paced and challenging. Time is elusive; personal energies fluctuate, and a healthy sense of self can get battered in the mix. Needless to say, we want to be happy, feel less stressed, have more satisfying relationships, get in better shape, have more adventures, feel better about ourselves, and not be so overwhelmed with all the incoming. It’s exhausting keeping it all together.

This life thing we are all doing – hopefully, more consciously than unconsciously -- is a marathon, not a sprint. And, accordingly, we need to adopt some straightforward, clear-cut strategic methodologies to better our lives. You know the drill, you need to take the oxygen mask first and then you can help others. Often we put ourselves at the bottom of the list and, before you know it, time runs out, repeatedly, and your inner well of resiliency and reserves is bone dry. You are not happy. Probably the people around you are none too thrilled as well.

What to do? Here is an essential course correction that works. I suggest you employ the HYHN modus operandi and that means utilizing -- with great frequency and enthusiasm, I might add -- the “Holy Yes” and the “Hell No.” Be advised that there are times when it can be the “Hell Yes” and “Holy No.” You will intuitively know which “H” works best in your particular yes or no situation.

Specifically, the “Holy Yes” is about better self-care and self-love. When you start refilling your well, you move towards wholeness – and wholeness is the root of the word “healing.” You say yes and add in that which feeds your well-being and makes you happy. You give time and space to that which resonates. All work and duty can make you lopsided and dreary, you lose perspective and balance and you can grow resentful. There is that low growl coming from the corner of your gut, “What about me?” Indeed, what about you?

This is where the “holy” comes in; this is about honoring that spark of aliveness within you, the very sacredness in you. You may not realize it or even remember this, but allow me to remind you: you are a magnificent being with a grand heart and soul. Hence, the use of the “Holy Yes”; it is your guide in making choices as you co-create your life. Grab a pen and start making your “Holy Yes” list. What will make you feel whole, complete, satisfied, alive, and full of sparkle?

Vis-à-vis the “Hell No,” the “Hell” is often pronounced silently. The “No” is not meant to be said in anger, but with assurance and authority as you practice self-protection through boundary and limit setting. You have every right to say no. The “Hell No” takes practice. Consider it as your new spiritual discipline for the next month.

For all of you non-stop givers out there, it can feel counter-intuitive to put yourself first or, at the very least, include yourself as part of the equation. Today can be the day where, like the little engine that could, you can begin, inch by inch, to protect your personal energies, time, resources, and good will by saying “Hell No” to that which does not serve you. Create your personal “Hell No” list. What are your non-negotiables? Where is your line in the sand? How are you willing to protect you? If something/someone makes you feel lousy about yourself, resentful towards others, or totally drained, does that make the list?

Of course, we continue to be good-hearted, generous, kind, and compassionate people AND we need to be good-hearted, generous, kind, and compassionate to ourselves as well. That’s the tricky part. It can be “and and” if we are able to discern our “Holy Yes’s” and “Hell No’s.”

Practice the “Holy Yes” for yourself. Be good to you. We know that where we place our focus and attention is what grows and expands in our lives. Let’s focus on what works.
Practice the “Hell No” for the demands that are above and beyond your personal bandwidth, time resources, and good reason. With perseverance, the “Hell No’s” will decrease the high drama quotient in your life and you will have space to make yourself a priority in your very own life.

Now, repeat after me, “Holy Yes!” and “Hell No!” Excellent, you are on your way; it’s a matter of self-mastery. Go forth and use these four words with great love and conviction.

Author's Bio: 

Adele Ryan McDowell, Ph.D., a psychologist, teacher, and author of Balancing Act: Reflections, Meditations, and Coping Strategies for Today’s Fast-Paced Whirl. She is a contributing author to the best-selling Shift Awareness anthologies, 2012: Creating Your Own Shift and The Sacred Shift: Co-creating Your Future in a New Renaissance. Adele’s next book is Making Peace with Suicide (2014).

You can learn more about Adele, her writing, and her thinking at and .