How to Establish Boundaries

Boundaries set you free. They tell others how you will allow yourself to be treated. If you have fuzzy boundaries, you’ll have an obscure identity. If you have clear boundaries, you’ll have a more focused identity.

Examine your boundary beliefsDon’t just look for limiting beliefs. Do explore the rights you believe you have in setting, or not setting, healthy boundaries. Example: Many people hold beliefs about authorities that limit their willingness to set needed boundaries.

Affirm your boundariesDon’t apologize for setting boundaries. Do understand that setting boundaries is necessary for pursuing your potential. Example: Saying “no” to something you don’t have time for helps keep you in balance.

Set goalsDon’t leave your intentions undefined. Do realistically define what your intended goals. Example : When you have your mind set on a goal, make sure you give realistic time to achieve it. Set a time-frame.

Commit to yourselfDon’t assume others’ agendas are more worthwhile or urgent than your own. Do make promises and appointments with yourself just like you do with others. Show yourself you’re important. Example: If the phone rings while you’re working on your great American novel, let voice mail pick it up.

Differentiate between “can do” and “should do”Don’t assume you’re obligated to perform every task somebody hands you. Do give yourself permission to decline tasks people set before you. Example: Somebody else’s lack of planning does not necessarily create an emergency on yours. You need no external reasons to set a boundary. You just need to know your own limits.

Inventory and prepare for your “boundary busters”Don’t overlook anyone or anything in your life. Do review what situations and people challenge your boundaries and prepare for them. Example: If your kids get under your skin, examine how that affects you and find ways to thicken your skin.

Brainstorm a boundary “wish list”Don’t leave anything out, no matter how unrealistic it is. Do write out every boundary you’d like to set and consider how you will establish each one. Example: If you’re often handed “last minute” changes at work, try implementing a boundary of “no changes will be made after X o’clock”.


  1. Boundaries exist to serve you, You can set boundaries wherever you want. They can be flexible, rigid, narrow, broad. You choose. Once you do, you will be able to mean what you say.
  2. To learn more about setting your boundaries and for other great tips, please visit http://www.speakstrong.com