Write yourself a note-leave it on a post it on your computer, make it the home screen on your phone, tack it in big letters on your fridge- any way you can think of to remind yourself to slow down, to say NO, I'm sorry I'm not available.
Learning how not to be available is the hardest part of the process, and it happens at the very beginning of learning how to live simpler.
We all want to be a part of a community, a part of a family, or tribe, or group, whatever you choose to call it. To have friends, and family, but many times those communities put undue pressure on us to be involved. Involved ALL the time. Of course we need to be involved with our family, that is a given, same as our spouse, or significant other. But outside of our little circle, how much are we willing to spend of ourselves ?
Personally, I'm very very selfish when it comes to spending my precious time on someone else. And, you should be too. We are not given infinite amounts of time on this earth, and it is up to us what we do with it. The biggest question you must ask your self is... Is this something that will help me live the way I want to live? Can I be happy doing this? Is it important to me?
If the event is a something that you may or may not enjoy-don't go, politely tell the person that you are not available.
You don't have to be mean, or burn any bridges but, you must be firm and ensure the person understands that you have other commitments that supersede their request. Politely turning down a request or an invitation is not wrong, or bad, it is you looking out for yourself, spending your limited time doing what you want with whom you want.
Attending social events that have little or no meaning to us personally eats up valuable resources, can stress us out, and isn't an essential part of our lives. In a nut shell, they can go and we wouldn't miss them. Don't make the mistake of saying "yes" just for the sake of saying yes. People will understand if you bow out gracefully and with tact, and let them know you already have plans. While it may not seem like the truth when you tell someone you already have plans- it is entirely the truth-you have plans for simplifying your life in a way that suits the way you live, makes you healthier, and more conscious of your time here on earth and how precious that time actually is.