We need boundaries.
We need them in our personal and professional life.
Even when we have an inspiring vision and compelling goals, they will fail without clear boundaries around the plan and process we will use to achieve them. For example, let’s say you would like to achieve a 40lb weight loss. That’s the vision you hold for yourself. And now you need a plan and systems to help you move forward steadfastly to realize the vision. If you plan to exercise three days per week in the morning, you will need to protect the time and minimize interruptions. This minimalization is where the work begins. For most people, establishing the goal is straightforward. However, the follow-through (the implementation) presents the most immediate problem.
So, I’ll ask you, what makes establishing clear boundaries difficult for most people? I surveyed several people, and here is the synopsis of what they shared:
- wanting to please others
- fear of retribution
- fear of rejection
- wanting to avoid conflict
- feeling that what they want is not important
- don’t want to hurt others’ feelings
- just don’t know how to do it
These are all valid concerns, but they do nothing to help us achieve our goals. And in the end, we could evoke more damage by gravitating to persistent feelings of resentment, unworthiness, stress, and depression. Creating reasonable and healthy boundaries helps others participate and partner in our efforts to attain a successful outcome. Therefore, here are five ways to help you create the healthy boundaries you will need to carry out your plan to reach your goals:
- Prioritize: Take the time to assign priority to the task(s) that are important in achieving the intended outcome. Everything is not a priority. With that in mind, we need to give special consideration to the components in our day that are or should be, as it relates to our goal. Having clear priorities give the opportunity to set clear boundaries.
- Communicate: Since others cannot read our minds, we must be forthcoming with the new boundaries we’ve set. The most beneficial way to do this is with our voice. Text messages and emails are great commonplace means of communicating, but for those who may be directly impacted by our new boundaries, talking with them gives them the opportunity to ask questions and to observe the sincerity in our body language.
- Use the Calendar: Most of us have access to a calendar, whether paper or digital, but many of us fail to use our calendars to secure our boundaries. For those who really want to please others may say yes to an opportunity when they know they should be completing the tasks they have assigned for that time period. Without a clearly defined task with a start and end time on our calendar, it is more difficult to say no to opportunities that do not serve a prioritized purpose. Our calendars make it easier to decline offers.
- Use Strategic Accountability: Accountability is essentially helping someone else to be successful. Perhaps they’ve shared a goal or vision with you and have given you permission to ask them concerning the progression. It’s a good thing! How we make it strategic is by asking the right people to check in with us at the right time. Perhaps we know when it is likely to become difficult. We can share that with them and ask them to inquire about our boundaries around getting it done.
- Pause and Reflect: This is huge. An action plan is best taken as an experimental action plan. Some things will work and some, well, not so much. Pausing and reflecting gives us the opportunity to ascertain which of our efforts (set boundaries) have allowed for great progression and which settings have shifted . . . and why. We can leverage what is working and revamp what is not working. Do this one often.
You can start taking these simple actions today to create healthy boundaries around your time and efforts. Consequently, you will feel good about yourself and your actions because you have prioritized your goals first. And that’s key!
If you find it difficult to say no when you really should and would like more help in this area, visit tabithaperson.com/NO to access my FREE video training.