How Far Will You Go?

I was chatting to a client the other day and we were talking about boundaries.
Not just the boundaries that society places on us in the form of laws or social norms but the boundaries that you might choose to set for the people in your life.
Whether it’s the amount of time you allow children to watch TV or play with technology, the amount of times your family can ring you in a week, how much you will tolerate in how others can speak to you or how others may treat you.

There are many people out there, perhaps you’re one of them, who will bend over backwards, stretch themselves unmercifully, minimize their own pressing issues and often do themselves a disservice just so that they do not violate someone else’s boundaries.

But what about the boundaries you set for yourself?

Why is it that we so often let ourselves down? Aren’t your boundaries just as worthy of your time and consideration as everyone else?

Where do your boundaries lie when it comes to what you expect of yourself?

Where do your boundaries lie for what you put in your mouth?
How much rubbish food will you tolerate before you start to realize that the body you’re living in is the only one you’re going to get? How long until you realize that your body is not like a car that only needs fuel to run. That fuel or food you are putting into your body is actually creating the cells that will become your brain, your heart, your liver etc. Do you really want a brain made up of fries and a coke?

Where do your boundaries lie for how much work you will do? Whether you’re an employee or business owner, how much time is too much time to miss with your loved ones?

If you’re studying, where do your limits lie in terms of how late you’re prepared to stay up studying at night and how many nights in a row you’re prepared to do that? And at what risk to your health?

Where do your boundaries lie for how you will use your social time? Do you often schedule out your entire weekend so that by the time you get to Monday morning, you need another weekend just to get over the weekend?

Whether you think you have boundaries or not, each of us has our own set of internal rules in how we choose to run our lives, you may just not be consciously aware of them.

So if you’re not getting the results you’re looking for with your health, or in fact any area of your life, perhaps it’s time to look at your boundaries.

Now , your boundaries are going to be personal to you, they may be ones you’ve consciously created for yourself or maybe you’ve picked them up from family and friends unconsciously.
The secret is, if things aren’t working, start to consider what rules or boundaries you’ve setup for yourself and whether you’re sticking to them or violating them. Consider how you run your life. What routines do you have or what routines are you lacking?

Time For Some Introspection
I have to admit I just love doing exercises and activities from personal development books and seminars. I am so intrigued by how my mind works and why I do the things I do. So in the spirit of introspection, and trust me, you’ll get so much more out of this if you take a few minutes to complete the following activity.

Your boundaries are going to be personal to you, they may be ones you’ve consciously created for yourself or maybe you’ve picked them up from family and friends unconsciously.
The secret is, if things aren’t working, start to consider what rules or boundaries you’ve setup for yourself and whether you’re sticking to them or violating them. Consider how you run your life. What routines do you have or what routines are you lacking?

When it comes to your health, try this exercise to uncover what your boundaries are, whether they are working for you or against you and whether you’re living in accordance with those rules.​​​​​​

Step 1:
Take a sheet of paper and identify the rules/boundaries you currently have for yourself with regard to your health. Here are some ideas on the sort of boundaries you can set for yourself, just to get you started:

Bed Time – what time does your head need to hit the pillow each night?

Movement – how many days will you go without moving?

Alone Time – How much alone time do you need every day/week?

How much or how little interaction do you need with others?

Work – How many hours will you work each day/week?

Food – How many days will you go without eating vegetables?

Alcohol – How many days a week with no alcohol?

Snacks – How many chocolate free days will you have each week?

Step 2:
Once you’ve completed your list, for each boundary, ask yourself “Is this boundary really serving me or is it working against me?” Or “Am I tying myself in knots or stressing myself out by trying to achieve this?”
Decide which ones you want to keep and which ones have outlasted their usefulness.
You may even want to add some new ones.

Step 3:
Now you have your updated list of boundaries, it’s time to consider what activities or circumstances cause you to violate each rule/boundary?
If you never violate a particular boundary, great, just move onto the next one.

Step 4:
For those boundaries/rules that you do violate, what can you do differently to mitigate the activities or circumstances that cause you to violate these rules?

Step 5:
Most importantly, be kind to yourself if and when you do violate your own boundaries. Refer to step 4 above and see it as an opportunity to further refine your activities.

Sharing The Love
One of the other things I’ve discovered over the years is that ‘owning’ your stuff (the good and the not so good) is the fast track way to self empowerment so once you’ve completed this exercise, if you would like to share some of your boundaries in order to help others reading this blog, please send them through and I’ll attach an anonymous list of boundaries to this blog.

Alternatively, do this exercise with a trusted friend, you may be surprised how others can see you self-imposed boundaries better than you.

So you may be wondering, “What’s the #1 self imposed boundary I am working on at the present moment?”
Getting to bed by 1030pm!
Yes, I’m still a work in progress too.

Happy Introspection

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