Take Control of Resolutions in 2017 by Setting Boundaries
Like a good fence, boundaries in your personal and professional life mean less confrontation, less confusion, fewer hurt feelings, and more empowerment.
As a life coach and weight loss coach, I regularly help clients with the topic of boundaries. A person’s struggles with weight or addiction are often directly tied to their inability to set firm boundaries in their life. In many cases, it’s a self-esteem issue. We’re afraid to speak up for ourselves for fear of being alienated. So, we go along with the crowd, even if that means swallowing our own feelings. We sacrifice our truth for acceptance from others, and that sacrifice has consequences over time.
What does it look like to set boundaries? Let me give you an example. Last year, I worked with a group of women on how to recognize things or people that were invading their personal space and draining energy from their lives. One woman mentioned that she worked full-time in an office where lunch meetings were the norm. She never got a break during her day, and felt taken advantage of by the people in her office who scheduled these meetings as a convenience to themselves. So, as a new year’s resolution, she decided to take back her lunch hour. She spoke with her boss first and received support, then sent out a polite but firm email to her colleagues explaining that she would be taking back her lunch hour every day from 12 to 1 p.m. Now she spends that hour eating a healthy meal and taking a walk outside, instead of sitting in a stuffy office with takeout food, and feels more vibrant and productive for it.
When it involves personal boundaries, with friends, family and significant others, things can get a little more sticky. We often fall into unhealthy habits and negative dynamics with those around us, and those patterns can be hard to disrupt. I once had to set a boundary with an immediate family member. She’d always been critical of me and would often try to embarrass me in front of family and friends. After years of trying to get her to change her behavior, I decided to change my own. The next time it happened, I very calmly stated to her that I would no longer tolerate the behavior and would be disengaging from conversation with her or removing myself from her presence every time it happened. She was taken aback, but I kept my word. Rather than change her behavior to build a healthier relationship with me, however, over time she stopped interacting with me altogether. It’s unfortunate, but standing up for yourself can mean losing people. The good news is, as you become healthier and more empowered, you’ll attract a healthier, more supportive circle.
Here are some things to keep in mind while setting your own boundaries:
Creating boundaries is first about knowing yourself. If you’re unhappy, think carefully about what aspects of your work environment and personal life are most unfulfilling and why. Is your roommate consistently not paying their fair share of rent? Is your significant other leaving you to do the lion’s share of the work at home or with the kids? Think about where you’re willing to help out and compromise, and where you need to protect your personal space.
State your boundary calmly, unapologetically, without blame, and without debate. Be specific, and don’t get drawn into unnecessary discussion. This can be scary the first time you do it, but it’s also very empowering. The more you assert yourself, the easier it gets.
Stick to your guns. Usually, this is the hardest part. Sometimes setting boundaries immediately brings about positive change, but other times it takes awhile or doesn’t happen at all. Stay strong and true to yourself, and be prepared to disengage from people who refuse to respect your needs.
Claiming your personal space isn’t a luxury. It’s about remembering that you have to fill your own cup before you can pour out to others. If you’re feeling like you’ve given up the reigns, just know that you have everything within your power to reclaim your life and health. Make 2017 the year you take back control and live your most vibrant, empowered life.
Columbus Underground is celebrating healthy living habits to help you kick off the new year right! Check out all of our Health & Wellness 2017 articles by CLICKING HERE.