Boundaries define your time … and your life.
When you set your boundaries, you are saying yes or no to an activity or commitment. You are shaping your time and creating the map for your journey through it.
Saying ‘yes’ to everything out of fear or guilt doesn’t give you any room to define what you want to do. When it comes to setting boundaries, many people are challenged by saying ‘no.’ So, if it is difficult for you to say ‘no’, document when you say ‘yes’ automatically. You will soon become aware of your patterns, and can start making small changes.
On the other hand, saying ‘no’ automatically to every option or suggestion is not about creating meaningful boundaries, either. This choice may come out of anger or fear. Once you identify your pattern and the underlying causes, you’ll be able to assess each situation more objectively. Then you can make an informed decision.
Boundaries and Your Power: 5 Tips
1. Creating boundaries is your right.
You have the right to set boundaries, either internal or external, in ways that are beneficial to you. You can create boundaries to protect your time, your energy, and your space. These boundaries support you in using your power in appropriate ways.
2. Think about your boundaries before implementing them.
Plan ahead for best results. Record your boundaries, and when you choose to use them. Visualize acting on them and be aware of your feelings. Get used to them in advance. Soon they will become automatic for you.
3. Make your boundaries specific.
A specific boundary is concrete and clearly defined. It is grounded in your reality and your needs. The more carefully you develop your boundary, the more you can hold onto it and adapt it if necessary.
4. Maintain the boundaries you’ve created.
Keep your promises to yourself. You need to become your own positive role model and best friend. Once you set your boundaries, make sure you follow through. That way, you reinforce your trust in yourself.
5. Assess and reassess your boundaries.
Analyze the effectiveness of the boundaries you set. Are they meeting your needs? Be specific about any problems you encounter. Then brainstorm solutions and try them out. Adjust your boundaries for a better fit. You can always change them again, if need be.
Boundaries – Practice Gets You There!
Setting boundaries may be a new skill for you. Like all new skills, establishing boundaries takes practice and discipline.
Start small. For example, you might set a boundary to give yourself 30-minutes a week. Or you might give yourself permission to take a walk once a week.
Schedule this during a time when something ‘more important’ is less likely to challenge your plans … then document the results.
Where did you follow through, and how did you feel about empowering yourself? If you didn’t follow through, what happened? What other choice did you make instead? What did you learn from that? How does your energy feel when you take care of yourself, versus when you put something ahead of yourself?
I would also suggest creating an affirmation that becomes a mantra. For example, you might focus on how it is your right to use your time in ways that you choose. Repeat this mantra several times a day until it becomes automatic. It will help you remain determined in the face of challenges.© Copyright 2014 Paula Eder, Ph.D.