You Set a Boundary, So Now How Do You Keep It?

avoid collisions-set a boundary
Avoid collisions when you set a boundary.

When you set a boundary, that’s a good and necessary first step.

It’s in keeping your boundary that you start building trust and traction.

In “Setting Strong Boundaries Makes Life Work No Matter Where You’re Working” I talked about being more assertive than usual about time.

And I noted that when you set a boundary you make it possible to use your time in a way that’s consistent with your values.

You create space for yourself and that’s important, not only for your success but also for your well-being.

What about maintaining boundaries?

One of the ways to begin strengthening your resolve around keeping boundaries is to start with boundaries that are “time-limited.”

Time-limited boundaries relate to tasks that have to be completed by a certain time or they have no value. A good example is an assignment that must be in your instructor’s hands by 3 PM on Tuesday. If it’s not handed in on time, you receive a failing grade.

It’s easy to explain the reason for this boundary to family, friends, or co-workers. And it’s easy to re-assert it and then stick to it if interrupted. Letting yourself not keep that boundary around the assignment results in serious consequences for you. So this is a good way for you to start to see that you can be firm around the boundaries you have set.

Another example might be a project at work that has to be in the mail by the end of the day. Setting a boundary so that you are not interrupted while you complete that project is perfectly reasonable and easy to explain.

And your next step is…

Once you have experience with time-limited boundaries, you can begin to maintain other boundaries and not feel you are being stubborn, unreasonable, or aggressive. The more experience you have with explaining why you have to maintain a time-limited boundary, the more comfortable you will become with explaining why you need to maintain a boundary even if it isn’t time-limited.

Another technique for asserting your boundaries is negotiating responsibilities. For example, you can stress the fairness of the boundary around tasks like meal preparation. If you cook, it seems fair that your spouse, another family member, or your housemates clean up. Then you have freed up time to choose an activity that fits with your time values.

Rewards are always helpful.

One final thought. When maintaining boundaries, remember that rewards are far more effective than consequences. The key is to explain the reward when you explain the boundary, rather than becoming angry at someone interrupting you after you have asked them not to.

Make sure to follow through with the reward and remind them that you mentioned this previously. Setting a reward also diminishes any feelings of discomfort or guilt you may experience as you maintain your boundaries.

And remember that rewards also apply to you when you stick with a boundary you’ve set.

For more help with boundaries…

Setting and maintaining boundaries is a skill that makes everything else in your life possible. And it’s a difficult challenge for lots of smart, motivated people. People like you.

“Your Secret Power: How to Honor Your Time and Claim Your Space with Boundaries” gently steers you to a more profound understanding of where and how your boundary-setting efforts get short-circuited. Not only that, but it helps you establish the boundaries you need to unlock the door to your freedom. Boundary-setting is a skill that’s learnable, doable and definitely within your reach. And the strategies, tips and exercises in “Your Secret Power” help you discover how to:

  • Set and maintain boundaries to enhance your productivity and, yes, make more money;
  • Recharge your energy so you have the time and freedom to do what you value and what you’d like to do in your life; and
  • Learn how to say no, which opens the door to your next big Yes.

Ready to start using boundaries to maximize your time and energy? Click the link below to learn more about this transformative time tool and the bonuses that come with it:

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