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Steps to boundaries

Today I want to jump into what it means to establish boundaries.  Establishing boundaries is essential for maintaining healthy relationships and keeping your everyday life in balance.


One of the goals I have with my coaching clients is to evaluate their boundaries and try to help them learn where to say "Yes" and where to say "No".  Often as women, relationships are so important to us and wanting to please people makes it twice as hard to balance the two. We don’t want to  say "No" to the volunteer job that would be a perfect fit for our talents.  And saying "Yes" to a friend who wants to go to lunch but we have a deadline that has to be done.


I have a friend who wrote herself a "cheat sheet" that she uses every time she is asked to do something and she is tired or can not fit it into her schedule. Instead of feeling guilty that she can't go she says:

While I would love to get together for coffee, my commitment to my kids and their schedule makes this one of those seasons when I must decline invitations when the schedule is too tight,  but thank you for thinking of me.  I would love to get together if we could plan it two or three weeks out.

When learning boundaries, it is important to define what your goal is (i.e., leave two evenings a week free to catch up on housework). That way, when you have to decide if you are going to do something or not, it is an easy decision.


Setting boundaries is a difficult thing to learn how to do, but once you do it can transform your life.  I wrote 10 steps to help you establish and communicate your boundaries effectively:


  1. Self-awareness: Reflect on your own needs, values, and priorities. Understand what makes you comfortable or uncomfortable in different situations.

  2. Identify your boundaries: Determine what boundaries are important to you in various aspects of your life, such as relationships, work, personal space, and time.

  3. Communicate openly: Clearly express your thoughts and feelings. Use "I" statements to avoid sounding accusatory. For example, say, "I feel overwhelmed when..." instead of "You always make me feel overwhelmed."

  4. Be assertive: Stand firm in expressing your needs and boundaries. It's okay to say no without feeling guilty. Assertiveness helps you communicate effectively without being overly passive or aggressive.

  5. Start small: Begin by setting boundaries in less challenging situations. As you become more comfortable, you can address more significant issues or relationships.

  6. Consistency is key: Be consistent in enforcing your boundaries. If you waiver, it may be challenging for others to understand and respect your limits.

  7. Prioritize self-care: Recognize the importance of taking care of your physical and emotional well-being. Establish boundaries that prioritize self-care to prevent burnout.

  8. Learn to say no: Understand your limits and be willing to decline requests or invitations that go against your values or priorities. Saying no is not a rejection; it's a way to protect your well-being.

  9. Seek support: Share your boundaries with trusted friends, family, or colleagues. Having a support system can provide encouragement and reinforcement.

  10.  Be mindful of red flags: Pay attention to situations or people that consistently violate your boundaries. If someone consistently disrespects your limits, it may be necessary to reassess the relationship.


Recognize that boundaries may need adjustment over time. Life circumstances and relationships evolve, so be open to reevaluating and adapting your boundaries accordingly. Remember that setting boundaries is a skill that improves with practice. It's an ongoing process of self-discovery and communication. By establishing and maintaining healthy boundaries, you can create more fulfilling relationships and promote your overall well-being.


Don't be afraid to be on a journey of learning how to set healthy boundaries at work and in your personal life. If this is a skill that you are working on developing, don't beat yourself up if it goes slow.  The important part is that you are learning and growing.


If you have comments or thoughts in how you have established boundaries, please leave your comments below or book a conversation with me

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