“If you don’t decide what your priorities are in life, everyone else will decide for you.” — Christy Wright

Life is a series of choices one after the other. And the fun part is that we can’t change the past and we don’t know the future. We only have the present.

But one thing we do know for sure is that our past choices as well as our present does in fact affect what choices we will have in the future. The things that we commit ourselves to now will undoubtedly affect what we can do in the future.

This principle applies to our money as much as it does for the rest of our lives. And while this article isn’t specifically about money, we have to remember that every area of our lives is connected. As much as we like to think the different “areas” of our lives are independent from one another, it is simply not true.

That is why it is so important to be good at saying no. Saying no to things that will commit our future selves to things that don’t align with our values. Saying no to the pressure of what other people are doing.

While easy to write about, it is not easy to say no in practice. It seems as if we have all been trained to simply say yes to all the requests and demands that come our way without much thought.

At first it can feel like we are doing something wrong by saying no. It is so much easier to save face and say yes. But we have to remember that by saying yes to anything, we are actually saying no to the other 1,000 things that we could’ve done.

We all have a very limited number of yeses. There are only so many things that we can commit ourselves to before we simply run out of time and energy.

And again, it is not bad to say yes but I have found it invaluable to remember what saying yes actually means. Saying yes takes the 1,000 choices that we had and restricts that down to one.

The question that we all have to ask (especially me as a yes addict) is where are our yeses and is that where our future self wants them to be.

Christy Wright said it best with “If you don’t decide what your priorities are in life, everyone else will decide for you.”

Dallen Haws is a personal finance and business enthusiast, ASU grad (Fear the Fork!), co-founder and financial planner at Haws Financial Planning.