After publishing 5 Easy Ways To Be Emotionally Healthy This Year, I realized that the whole boundaries bit is worthy of being a post on its own. Good ole hindsight…sigh!
Let’s start from the top. What is a boundary?
A boundary is a definitive line or limit that is established and enforced. No different than a boundary that separates two streets. In order for any boundary to be effective, there must be guidelines governing the terms or particulars.
Although we quite obviously have limits as human beings, honoring those limits is not something that is generally intuitive. Instead, it takes the pain or discomfort of having our boundaries infringed upon to realize we need to establish and enforce them.
#Winning Through Authenticity
Here’s what I’ve found…boundaries free us to be fully who we are meant to be. Prior to having boundaries, much of my interactions with people were done with underlying resentment. I was just doing or being because I thought that was what was expected of me.
There was seismic shift in the universe the day I started saying, “No!” Initially I carried some guilt and sometimes still do. Yet, the benefit of truly being able to honor my own limits while also engaging with others lovingly and authentically far outweigh my previous insanity.
#Winning Through Respect
Another thing I noticed this side of having boundaries…People respect it! They may not like it. Especially, when the boundaries are enforced in their direction BUT they respect it. I mean…they kinda don’t have a choice! Boundaries inherently command people to be mindful of the way they engage you. And this is what you want right? You don’t want people feeling like they can step to or handle you any way they want.
#Winning Through Slaughtering Your Goals
Lastly, something that was neat for me to discover, boundaries enable you to focus on the things that matter most. Without the burden of being consumed by the needs and agendas of others, I was able to buy my time back. I now had the cycles and emotional bandwidth to apply focused attention toward pursuing my dreams and goals.
If you’ve already read 5 Easy Ways To Be Emotionally Healthy This Year, you can stop here (unless, you can use a refresher). I’ve snatched the tips for how to create boundaries and put them below.
How-To Create Boundaries
- Identify Need – Using the check in your gut as your starting point, determine what specific interactions or obligations are problematic for you. (You can also do the work of figuring out why but this isn’t a prerequisite for establishing boundaries.)
- Map It Out – Assess what will allow you to feel more emotionally sound in these interactions or obligations. Here’s an example: Let’s say you have been suffering for some time because you have no work-life balance. You’ve identified the problem and are now determined to reclaim your life. Your boundaries may look like this:
- Plan – plan your week (as much as possible) on the previous Friday. Creating blocks of time daily to attack certain tasks (i.e administrative tasks, project meetings, consuming proper number of meals, etc.). Obviously, everything can’t be planned. However, knowing you have a set time and timeframe to get certain tasks done allows you to be more proactive and organized. Thus carrying less stress!
- Set the Expectation – Pick 2 days a week where you stay later to knock things out. With this you are setting the expectation for yourself and others, you will not be working around the clock everyday.
- Automate and Delegate – Figure out what aspects of your daily routine can be automated and delegated. These are seriously my favorite words! Automating tasks can be a lot of work on the front-end but well worth it on the back-end. Let’s say every week you are tasked with sending an email notification. Once you’ve created your template, all you will have to do every Friday is make trivial modifications (i.e date/time, update subject line, etc.) and schedule the email to go out the day and time of your preference. Delegation is critical to establishing boundaries. More often than we should, we take on tasks so we don’t have to rely on anyone else. Cut it out! Do an assessment of what tasks you are currently owning weekly that can really be assigned to someone else. Example- so, there’s a spreadsheet containing a set of data you’ve been managing. It’s your baby! But do you really need to be managing it? If a person or set of people need to email you inputs, you’re likely doing too much. Instead share the document with the necessary parties and condition them to insert their own inputs. This does two things: removes the stress of this task from your plate and rightly places the ownership of the data to the person generating it.
- Communicate It – Believe it or not, this is the easiest part! You’ve already done your heavy lifting in the “Map It Out” stage. Inform the necessary people, I like to call them stakeholders, of how you will be doing things moving forward. This is hard for some. And it’s because you’re telling and not asking. Always be open and respectful to feedback. This however does not mean, you alter your plan.