When reforming your life, you remove things which are not beneficial. The polite-sounding thing to say when others ask you to have just a little of the former behavior is “I can’t.”
There are several problems with this response:
1.) It’s not true - you can do whatever you want whenever you want however you want.
2.) It’s polite instead of precise - you are using disempowering language to get people off your case, outsourcing responsibility, instead of affirming who you are.
3.) It opens the conversation to test the limits of your ability - “why can’t you?;” “are you sure?;” “how about just a little?;” “life is about balance”.
4.) “Don’t” or “won’t” carries power, reinforces who you are becoming, keeps an eye on excellence as opposed to being average, and reminds your own mind of your intentionality.
Be mindful of these, because they aren't splitting hairs. These distinctions mark the difference between successful and unsuccessful outcomes.
“I HAVE to work tomorrow, so I CAN’T.”
Instead - “I enjoy sleep and being rested for work; so I don’t.”
“I HAVE to study for this test; so I CAN’T.”
Instead - “I put myself in the best position for success; so I won’t, but thanks.”
You get the idea:
“I CAN’T, because I have kids.”
“I CAN’T eat that.”
“I CAN’T, because of health issue X.”
All of these common responses put you in the victim role. Instead, just say you don’t or won’t. Each responsibility you have is one you continue to choose. It’s not honest, accurate, fair or healthy for me to pretend like I CHOSE (past tense) kids, and am now a victim to complete unwilling obligations or pretend to do what’s best for them. No. I love them and choose them every day, not because I HAVE TO, but because I GET TO. This is a present volition which is critical to communicate to others and your internal self. I don't HAVE TO do a darn thing. I choose this. Right now.
Thus it is with work, school, relationships, personal development, therapy, nutrition, fitness, any area of study, and so on. You DO. You WILL.
You aren’t at the mercy of the fates. “Can’t” is for the fatalists, for those who insist life is happening to them as victims. “Don’t” and “won’t” is for the fate-makers, for the responsibility-takers, for the agents of change.