8 tips for setting boundaries that you’ll actually stick to

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How to set boundaries that are good for your soul as an introvert. 

Boundaries are everywhere. They determine our countries, our states, and our land, and they even protect our mental well-being.

They seem so simple when I talk about them in terms of states and lines on the map but when you’re trying to set personal boundaries? Man can it be challenging to do.

I’ve struggled with people-pleasing tendencies so setting boundaries has never been my forte. They always seemed too aggressive or even selfish but I’ve learned that they are quite the opposite. 

Especially as we get older, boundaries are essential. They are there to protect our well-being and to avoid being used or manipulated. 

It forces the workaholic to log off for the day and spend that precious time with their loved ones. 

Or it gives us introverts the time to recharge and decompress to refill our mental batteries. 

What are boundaries?

In the simplest sense, boundaries are the limits you place on your time and energy. This includes physical and mental energy. 

It tells others how you expect to be treated and what you will take. 

Boundaries can be very empowering. It is a way for you to take control of your time and what you find acceptable on a day-to-day basis. Setting boundaries can actually have a huge impact on your self-confidence because you’re staying true to your values and what is important to you. 

You’re also standing up for yourself because you are making it clear what you aren’t okay with. If someone crosses one of your boundaries and you tell them in a direct way, then they know not to do it again next time.

And if there is someone in your life that is continually crossing boundaries, it may be time to reevaluate that relationship. 

But you may be asking yourself, where do I start, when you’re new to this whole boundary thing.

8 tips when setting boundaries

Now you may know that boundaries are important but it can be hard to start. Especially if you’ve been a bit of a pushover in the past. *guilty as charged*

There is going to be some backtracking since people may have been crossing that boundary in the past but remember, you are allowed to change.

Something that used to be okay can not be okay now. We’re humans who are constantly evolving and having new experiences. It is only natural to change your mind every now and then. 

However, if you’re just starting out, here are some tips for setting boundaries. 

1. Do some self-reflection to understand why you want to set the boundary

First of all, you don’t want to set boundaries, just to set boundaries. You need to have a reason.

Now the reason doesn’t have to be profound. It can be simply that you want to create a nighttime routine and to do that, you need to be winding down by 8 PM. For example, to do this, you will need to tell your friends that you need to be home by 6 PM to eat dinner and clean up.

It is much easier to create boundaries if you can identify why you need to set the boundary. This can also be an opportunity to take some time to journal to determine what is bothering you in your life. 

You may ask yourself questions like:

  • What types of social situations drains my energy the most?
  • How can I avoid being completely drained by the end of the day?
  • What in my day-to-day do I dread the most?
  • List some activities that you can incorporate into your routine that bring you joy
  • What causes me to stress out?

Once you have the answers to some of these questions, then you can build boundaries around these things. Try to do less of the things that you dread or incorporate alone time to be able to recharge your batteries after a particularly stressful part of your job.

Since daily stressors are inevitable so creating boundaries will help you become more resilient and decrease burnout. 

2. Listen to that gut feeling

If you feel like you’ve been too busy pleasing others that you don’t know what your values are or what you need to be happy, then take some time to listen to that gut feeling.

We all have it, we may just ignore it at times. And it is even easier to ignore nowadays with smartphones since we can just get lost in Tik Tok or the world wide web when we’re feeling uncomfortable.  However, it can be a powerful way to connect with your personal values and beliefs. 

When you’re ready to take the leap and set some boundaries, take a few minutes to reflect and listen to that gut. Meditating during this can be super helpful.

3. Start small 

If you aren’t someone who has set many boundaries in the past, I would suggest starting small. Pick one boundary that will make your life better and start there. This is not a sprint after all. You want to enjoy this journey we call life. 

By starting with one boundary, you’ll be able to communicate it to your loved ones or whoever it affects and focus on that one boundary. If you start out setting 5 different boundaries, then it can be tough to be clear on all 5 because your focus will have to be split. 

It is like when you’re learning how to juggle. You don’t start with all 5 balls. You start with two, then three, then four, then five. But you have to get good at juggling two before you can juggle five. The same idea can be applied to boundaries.

Remember, it is about being 1% better every day. So if you work on one boundary, and build a strong foundation there then you’ll be able to add another one on much easier. 

4. Not every relationship is going to have the same boundaries

Your boundary doesn’t have to be this all-encompassing thing. It is natural for boundaries to look different. For example, you may have way stricter professional boundaries when it comes to contacting you than with personal relationships. 

So don’t put too much pressure on creating what is going to work for all the relationships in your life because you have so many. The important thing here is to make sure you’re consistent within the groups. 

Otherwise, people may get confused and start testing that boundary if one co-worker can reach out at 8 PM but the other can’t. 

5. Be clear in your communication

Clear communication is super important when setting boundaries. You don’t want to person to interpret it wrong. 

Beating around the bush and making up an excuse is not good communication. It is just going to confuse the person. I know I’ve been guilty of this and it has never worked out in my favor. Trust me, it is easier in the long run if you are as clear as possible.

Most people want to respect your boundaries because they care about you or at least respect you as a human to understand you need space. 

But when you don’t clearly communicate your boundaries, people aren’t going to know. So be clear and make sure you phrase it in a way that is about you. Saying, ‘I feel that I need time to unwind before I go to bed so I need to leave by 6 PM’ is better than ‘You always make me feel guilty for leaving early so I’m setting a boundary that I’m going to leave at 6 PM.’ 

One is accusatory while the other one is clearly communicating your boundary in a respectful way. So be clear and honest, it will work out for you better in the long run.

6. Consistency is key

If you are implementing a boundary, you have to be consistent. You can’t say you’re going to leave by 6 PM then 6 PM rolls around and you let your friends convince you to stay for one more drink.

While the intention may not be malicious (they just want to spend more time with you!), you are telling them that you aren’t serious about your boundary. 

Once you set the boundary, stick to it. It is going to raise your self-confidence because you’re keeping a promise to yourself AND you’re going to be able to do what you wanted to do. 

So no more gray area. Be clear and consistent about that boundary. 

7. You’re going to have to say no

You’re going to have to say no when you don’t want to sometimes. Heck, you may even want to say no and it isn’t going to be easy to do.

Saying no and setting boundaries go hand in hand like PB&J. You can’t set boundaries and please everyone. 

Think about it as saying yes to yourself. By setting these boundaries, you’re saying no to things that don’t serve you. Instead you’re saying yes to things that bring you joy and light you up inside. It is giving you time back in your day to relax, be cozy and spend time with your loved ones. 

It is a beautiful thing and setting boundaries often leads to stronger relationships because you can be your true authentic self.

8. Practice self-love

And lastly, you need to be able to set boundaries from a loving place. If you have low self-esteem, you aren’t going to feel worthy to take the time for yourself.

To protect your time and energy. 

So taking the time to work on self-love and practice self-care can be crucial here. As introverts, it can be helpful to journal to make sense of our thoughts or to meditate. 

Here are 121 things to love about yourself if you need some inspiration. But girl, you’re awesome and I hope you know that.

Setting boundaries isn’t easy but it can have a profound effect on your life. It can open the doors to new opportunities and to you living your best life because you’re saying no to the things that are against your personal values and beliefs. 

But remember to give yourself some grace when you’re a newbie. There is going to be some trial and error to find the boundaries that work best for you and your relationships. 

Until next time,

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8 tips for setting boundaries that you’ll stick to

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