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How to Set Healthy Boundaries

Updated: Sep 11, 2023

5 Steps to Greater Peace & Progress at Work & in Life

1.Have a Vision

“Boundaries protect the things that are of value to you. They keep you in alignment with what you have decided you want in life. That means the key to good boundaries is knowing what you want.”

-Adelyn Birch.

If you don't have a specific destination you are heading towards, it is easier to divert you. The first step to setting healthy boundaries is to have a vision for your life in general, and the different roles you play specifically. When you are clear about where you want to go, you will raise red flags when there is an attempt to divert you in another direction. This is why having a vision is the first step to setting healthy boundaries. Your vision will act as a compass pointing true north, and warning you when you choose to take a direction that compromises your destination. Make time to write a compelling vision you would feel strongly about pursuing and protecting, no matter the temptation to veer off track.

2.Set Non-Negotiable Core Values

“Boundaries are easier to manage when your values are well-defined.”

-Joe Jordan.

"Core values are a set of fundamental beliefs, ideals, or practices that inform how you conduct your life, both personally and professionally."

When your core values are honored, you feel at peace, energized, and willing to give your all to whatever pursuit you're engaged in. When your core values are dishonored, you feel anxious, drained, and resentful about being engaged in the pursuit you are engaged in.

How do you know your core values? Notice the limits of behavior you place on yourself. You also know your core values from the limits of behavior you place on others with respect to how they engage with you.

If you're screaming, "You've gone too far!" inside, that is probably an instinctive response to a core value being dishonored.

This is why you need to set healthy boundaries - to protect your core, non-negotiable values.

Step two to setting healthy boundaries is establishing your core, non-negotiable values.

You do this by writing down ten non-negotiable values, then comparing each to each other to find your top five non-negotiable core values.

Consult these core, non-negotiable values each time you make a decision to help you set healthy boundaries and only engage in pursuits that honor your core, non-negotiable values.

3.Set Measurable Goals

“It is necessary, and even vital, to set standards for your life and the people you allow in it.”

-Mandy Hale.

Whether personal or professional, having goals is a great motivator for setting healthy boundaries. Why? Because goals tell you specifically what you want to achieve, by when, and how you can measure progress.

To take actions that deviate from the goal is to sabotage your success, so your mind, will, and emotions will do everything in their power to keep you on track to achieving your goal.

If you don't have goals, on the other hand, you can be compromised by the attainment of lesser pursuits.

Step three to setting healthy boundaries is setting goals. It will anchor your decisions when distractions, both within, and without, try to get you to settle for less.

4.Communicate Your Boundaries

“Love yourself enough to set boundaries. Your time and your energy are precious, and you get to decide how to use them. You teach people how to treat you by deciding what you will and won't accept.”

-Anna Taylor.

Boundaries are not to be hinted at, they are to be expressly communicated.

Not available outside working hours? Communicate that. Don't want to go ahead with a compromised decision? Say it plainly. Not comfortable with certain conversations or actions? Let them know.

Setting boundaries is not something you do against others, setting healthy boundaries is something you do for yourself. It is having integrity.

"Here's what I think integrity is; it's choosing courage over comfort. Choosing what's right over what's fun, fast, or easy. And practicing your values." Brené Brown.

The fourth step to setting healthy boundaries is communicating your boundaries for others to know where you stand on a particular issue.

5.Reinforce Your Boundaries

“Do not justify, apologize for, or rationalize the healthy boundary you are setting. Do not argue. Just set the boundary calmly, firmly, clearly, and respectfully. ”

-Crystal Andrus.

It is human nature to try to push the envelope. We seem to have selective amnesia when it comes to the things we want to go our way. If you have people that seem to take your boundaries lightly or continuously overstep their bounds, you will need to reinforce your boundaries.

"The only people who get upset about your setting boundaries are the ones who were benefitting from you having none." Unknown.

You don't have to get theatrical about it. The fifth step to setting healthy boundaries is to calmly, and firmly reinforce, your boundaries each time you or another tries to cross them.

Pretty soon it will be clear to others that this is how far, and no farther they can go with you. More importantly, it will signal to you that you are worthy of the peace and progress you want in your work and life.

Remember, "boundaries only work when. you put them up." Shunta Grant.

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