Guidelines allow us to predetermine how we’ll direct our energy to make thoughtful decisions. One guideline I use in a situation where I’m invited to something that I can’t commit to, is to say “I can’t make it but I really appreciate the invite. If anything changes I’ll to let you know.”
This makes my default answer “no” rather than “maybe.” No guilt, no follow-up, no mental energy required. Also, if I am able to make it in the end, it’s a much more positive outcome than if I’d have said “maybe” and backed out.
What simple guidelines can you create now so that you’re less reactive when it’s decision time?