What does it mean to set healthy boundaries for ourselves?
“Establishing boundaries” is the sixth and final step in my CHOICE coaching program, a simple 6-step approach for gaining confidence, identifying next steps, and making progress toward your long-term goals.
By this step, my coaching clients have undergone the challenging work to clarify their needs and values, set goals, and make positive change. Boundaries, then, are meant to protect that progress and help us avoid burnout and overwhelm.
The term “boundaries” sometimes carries a negative connotation. It may call to mind all the things we’ve been told NOT to do, and so it feels restrictive.
What are boundaries?
This is my definition: Boundaries = Expectations.
By setting expectations – for yourself, and others – you’re being proactive in clarifying and communicating your needs.
Take your job, for example. As an employee, you need to know what’s expected of you, or you wouldn’t know what to do (or how to improve). This is why a company will take the time to communicate its expectations when you’re hired. Likewise, you probably have expectations of your boss – that they will train you, that they will communicate with you, that they will pay you, etc.
Boundaries are a clarifying tool. Picture your boundaries like a fence; you mark the property line. But remember, too, that you can be flexible. Every fence has a gate to allow passage in and out.
Why it’s important to set healthy personal boundaries
Boundaries serve a purpose, and that’s to protect your time, energy, and mental health. Burnout and overwhelm are signs that you’re lacking strong personal boundaries.
Only you know what you need in order to be the best version of yourself. An introvert, for example, might need to set boundaries with friends or loved ones to give themselves time alone to recharge. A “workaholic” might need to set boundaries between work and home to reclaim their personal life and prioritize their family during off-hours.
Learning to set healthy boundaries is an opportunity to take better care of ourselves.
Healthy boundaries are key to making positive changes. Boundaries don’t hold us back… they help us grow.
In what areas of your life do you need to set boundaries to find balance?
As a Certified Life Coach, I can help you set healthy boundaries to communicate your expectations. Book my calendar for a complimentary session and let’s chat about the positive changes you want to make.