Have you ever set a goal for yourself only to find that you are continually coming up against roadblocks? It happens to everyone. Schedules change, people need things from you, or maybe a mixture of the two. This is frustrating. You feel like a failure for not reaching your goal, but you don’t know how to manage the expectations of others against your own needs. You need boundaries. Boundaries will allow others to see the framework you are working within, and where their needs start and stop for you.
Define What You Need – Before you can even start creating boundaries, you first must know what you need. For example, your goal is waking up early four mornings a week to journal. You, of course, need to set the alarm, a pen, and a notebook. But you also need to go to bed early four nights a week. You need a space and an amount of time for yourself.
Be Honest with Others – Tell those who will be receiving the boundaries why you are setting them and why you feel the need to so. Explaining yourself can sometimes feel awkward or selfish, but it isn’t. By explaining your reasoning, you will help others understand why boundaries are important and how they will support your goal. Those who care about you will be supportive.
Set Boundaries – Once you have established why you are setting boundaries, explain the boundaries. Maybe it is a simple, “Sorry, I’m not going out on weeknights anymore,” or perhaps you need to come up with a game plan with your partner on taking turns getting kids ready in the morning. Either way, work to set boundaries and make compromises that will work for all involved.
Follow Through and Communicate – Now that there are boundaries in place to help you reach your goals follow through on your end. This means not just working to accomplish the goals you set, but also communicating with others along the way. This may mean thanking your partner for keeping the kids away while you worked or thanking a friend for understanding that you couldn’t stay out late. Communicating may also mean reminding someone of your boundaries and reinforcing why you have them.
Boundaries are a beautiful thing. They let us know where we stand, with others and with ourselves. Never let any feelings of shame, selfishness, or awkwardness keep you from creating and maintaining the boundaries that you need to be successful.