When we are goal setting or embarking on our mental health journey, one of the most important steps we can take to ensure our success is implementing boundaries.
Setting and maintaining boundaries seems simple on its surface, but they often get neglected! This is because of our natural trauma response of wanting to be a people-pleaser at all times. As a result, our needs get shoved to the side, and our personal growth plateaus.
Unsure of where to start to set healthy boundaries? Here are my three favorite tips for setting boundaries!
1. Establish why you are creating the boundary in the first place.
I love to remind my clients that if you can get behind the “why,” it will be easier for them to maintain the boundary.
For example, let’s say you consistently have been working overtime at your job and come home and are too tired to cook yourself a meal or exercise. As a result, your health has been negatively impacted because you spend more time than ever watching television and have resorted to eating out for most of your meals.
Suppose you decide to set a boundary not to work overtime anymore as it will allow you to live a healthier lifestyle. In that case, your brain will understand the importance of the boundary and find the motivation to adhere to it.
Once the “why” is established, the rest is smooth sailing!
2. Figure out how the boundary will benefit you.
Boundaries can be rewarding, whether you have improved energy, less anxiety, or more time to do things you love. And if there is one thing that we know about our brain, it’s that it loves to be rewarded. Therefore, if the brain knows it’s benefiting from a boundary, it will continue to attempt to maintain the boundary.
One boundary I have been more adamant about nurturing is not to stay late at events when I have a myriad of tasks I still need to complete. I often set a timer on my phone and force myself to stick to it. As a result, I accomplish more tasks and feel less anxiety than ever before.
3. Let others around you know about the boundaries that you have set.
This might be the most crucial tip for setting a successful boundary. By letting others know your expectations of a boundary, they will be more understanding of your need for space and less likely to pressure you.
For example, maybe you just started school or enrolled in my course Inner Compass Accelerator, and know that you will need the weekends to yourself to be as focused as possible. By having a conversation with your support system about this need, they will understand your expectations of their friendship while you try to get the most out of your class. They will also feel less blindsided by you canceling or having to continually raincheck on plans.
But be aware that they may not always be agreeable with the boundary you are attempting to set. It is your job to be firm about the importance of the boundary!
Still unsure on how to go about setting healthy boundaries? My course Inner Compass Accelerator dives deep into the topic!