When you set healthy boundaries you starve a bunch of bunny rabbits.
Hear me out.
Imagine for a moment that you live in a house. Inside your house you have a bunch of pet bunny wabbits.
In front of that house is a yard. This yard is the grass that your bunny rabbits eat from, so they can grow into hoppy bouncy healthy beautiful adult bunny rabbits.
Your yard has no fence, but your wabbits are well trained, and all the elmer fudds have been exterminated in the culling, so your rabbits are just fine. Except one thing.
No fence, means all the other bunny rabbits from the neighborhood can come eat your grass too. After only a few weeks, no more grass left.
This means less food your own rabbits, they starve, and they die. Not only this, but since your grass is gone, all the other rabbits starve and die too!
The solution is simple. You need to build a fence.
Healthy boundaries are good for everyone. These aren’t just metaphorical bunnies we’re talking about, they’re the things that matter most to you in life.
Your health, your dreams, your career, your sanity, all these things are sacrificed and squashed to bits when you give too much to others and not enough to yourself.
Set Healthy Boundaries (the right way)
If you don’t set boundaries, someone else is gonna set them for you. Meaning: if you don’t decide how much can be taken from you, how much time you plan on giving to others, how much of yourself to offer, then others will make that standard for you.
When you’re wondering how to set healthy boundaries, you’re really saying to yourself “I feel like the give and take ratio is off here. How do I fix that?”
You do it by taking power back over your own life, and making the decision that you draw the line where their property ends and your’s begins. It’s your right to do so.
Boundaries are about prioritizing your life. You have a plan for your life right? Good. And every day, on your to do list, you’ve got a few tasks that are slowly moving you toward bringing that plan to fruition…right?
So what happens when you just decide to do those things last, take care of everyone else each day and leave no time for what really matters to you?
Humans are awful at finding balance (like actually garbage) and we think that in order to distinguish ourselves from completely selfish people, we need to spend 16 ours living everyone else’s life.
Wrong. Let’s establish a standard right now. 80 percent of your life is for YOU (revolutionary I know). The 20 percent that’s left, offer to others in a manner that suits you.
What if the government took 80 percent of your paycheck and then called you selfish if you weren’t alright with it?
Learn to choose great options over good options. People settle, and they settle for things they shouldn’t settle for. We settle in our education, we settle when it comes to relationships and people treat us like shit, we settle when it comes to our creative capacity and our ability to make money.
If there’s a better option, go for it. Don’t settle for something you know is subpar just because it’s easier.
Boundaries are about embracing the control you’ve always had. I promise you, I do this every day. Humans are not unlimitedly powerful, but we have more power than we think.
One power we neglect is control over the direction of our lives.
I don’t know if good fences really make good neighbors, but what I do know, is that building that fense and deciding what gets in and who stays out keeps me in control.
Setting healthy boundaries maintains your life as it should be (primarily for you) and allows you to decide where your energy goes.
How to Set Healthy Boundaries at Work
Choose respect over popularity. At some point you need to have some backbone and stop letting others push you around.
If they’re colleagues, let them understand that you’re serious about focusing and getting things done properly.
When sunlight diffuses it’s hard for it to burn anything. The same goes for your focus.
How to Set Healthy Boundaries in Relationships
Learn to isolate the incident from the entire relationship. It doesn’t matter if they’re family, a lover, or a close friend, once they’ve taken too much the balance needs to be restored.
Regardless of the relationship you have with others, there is no law that says they’re allowed to take too much from you, whether that be time, attention or anything else.
1. Learn to Escape & Be Unavailable
Schedule time to work on what’s important to you. Whether those are personal goals, work projects, or DIY activities, turn the computer off, turn the phone off, drown out all the noise and work. The world will be here when you’re finished.
2. Do A Microscope Look for what Really Matters
Look for the essence of a thing. Distance yourself from extraneous details. In conversation, while reading news articles or hearing anything where someone is describing something to you. Protect your time by figuring out the essence and leaving before things get redundant.
Eliminate the noise. It’s not just people we have to pay attention too. The world can overstep your boundaries by drowning us is a bunch of crap we don’t need.
Everyday we’re bombarded with information. Learn to set healthy boundaries by exposing yourself to what’s relevant to you, and forgetting the rest.
Learn to hear what’s not being said. People often will skirt around the real issue, but if you pay attention, they’re telling you exactly what they want to tell you while still protecting themselves.
3. Prioritize your Health & Get It Done First
A jack of all trades is nice to be around, but they don’t get paid. There time is not valued and they never master anything.
Who cares about someone who can play 12 instruments “alright”. Nobody ever tells a story about that okay pianist they heard the other night.
In order to do masterful work in this life, you need to take care of your number tool and resource: you.
Prioritize sleep, water, being well fed and your physical health.
Be smart and schedule time, that you will not interrupt or miss for anything accept ABSOLUTE emergencies. Like someone dying.
Allocate time in your day (everyday like a smart person) to focus on your health. Sleep as much as you need to. Take breaks when you need to. Decide that you’re going to exercise instead of worrying about what others think. Don’t accept that lunch date if the food is unhealthy. Prioritize your health and do it first thing everyday.
4. Use Extreme Criteria: 1 for every 1000
You can watch so many different TV shows, you can hang out with so many different people doing so many different things.
But when it comes to important decisions, examine all your options and only make room for the best one.
- Is this the absolute best thing I could be doing right now?
- What are the consequences of doing that instead of what I’m doing?
- Am I ok with those consequences?
Based on your YES or NO. Make a choice.
Brian, I really need help getting my huge TO DO list done everyday. It’s driving me crazy!
I recommend this. It’s called the Ultimate Productivity Bundle.
It’s $1500 worth of productivity assets for only $47.
It’s what I used first starting out. Good luck.
5. Embrace Comprehensive Actions
Kill as many birds with a single stone as possible. The birds are what you need to get done and your stones are the actions steps you take to get there.
- Have main objects and results you want for the day.
- Write out all the tasks that will accomplish those results
- Order those tasks by how close each action step gets you toward your goal.
Most of your results come from very few of your actions. Do those first.
After you’re finished with those, you’ll spend most of your time doing several actions that only offer fine-tuning of the details.
You might take two steps and get 50% toward your destination. Then you make take 10 steps to get the other 50%. Still, doing the greatest and most effective thing first is always the best move.
Choose to get 5 things done and eliminated from the TODO list with one action. This is better than 5 actions for 5 results. Examine the entire process and look where you could be more efficient.
6. Learn To Say No Gracefully (or not)
Sacrifice popularity now for respect later. You’re not a bad person for telling someone that your life doesn’t revolve around them.
When you show others that you value your own time, they’ll start to value your time as well.
Make sure you’re not a hypocrite. It is not to help others and not be selfish, so when you tell someone no, make sure it’s authentic.
When to say no:
- When your participation takes time away from something important to you
- When your effort is becoming unhealthy and you need rejuvenation time
- When someone is manipulative or expects too much of you
- When the other party is using you and doesn’t appreciate your effort
There are plenty of other times. Use your discretion.
People who say “yes” all the time look like pushovers. Especially when it’s obviously ruining your life and causing your downfall. They’ll be irritated if you say no, their feelings might get hurt, and neither of those things is your fault OR your concern. Make the right choice for you.
7. Learn When to Cut Your Losses
Whether that’s a possession, a person, an idea or any other noun if it’s yours, you become attached to it and the clingy starts.
Even when these things go stale, become toxic and are bad for us, endowment effect will cause us pain when we go to get rid of them. Learn when things need to go.
If you weren’t already invested, would you care? Often when we’re in the middle of something it can be difficult to see the forest from the trees.
So when something in your life isn’t going well, you’re so deep in it you feel there is no way out, ask yourself, if I wasn’t so deeply involved, would I still care about this?
What could you do if you stopped now? You now have the power to sit there and weigh the pro’s and con’s of leaving the situation for good.
- How much damage will getting rid of this cause?
- How much could be gained from leaving and investing in something different?
- What will be the most likely effects of you staying involved? Is it worth it?
Endowment effect is a cognitive bias that causes us to place more value on things we apply ownership to. This is perceived value only, and the actual value of a thing might be very different. Learn to examine whether your effort is actually worth the results you’re getting from a thing before sticking with it until the end.
8. The Art of Limiting and Setting Boundaries
If you don’t show others how to treat you, they will decide how to treat you.
Avoid the hamster loop that others create for you. It’s almost important to decide early. Head off disaster in relationships (& for life in general) by creating a standard for yourself.
With people, write down what you will and will not tolerate, and never budge.
With your own habits and behaviors, list out the things that are acceptable to you, and what is not, and never budge.
Set healthy boundaries that are worth sticking to in most circumstances.
Your job is to build the fense. It’s to save you from going insane and losing your balance in relationships. Nobody has the right to take too much from you, and if they do, it’s your fault for letting them.
9. 80/20 your Life to Set Healthy Boundaries
Use Pareto principle when it comes to your life. All choices you make in life should get you to your overall destination. You’ve probably heard, or read something I wrote before where I talked about a life plan.
You need/want something to look forward to. For those who hate to dream, you need to constantly make progress to not fall into stagnation (and then depression) in life.
The easy way to accomplish this is to create a life plan: a simple design that serves as the roadmap for every move you make in life, down to your daily to do list.
Each day, accomplish something that moves you closer to realizing your life plan. Your plan allows you to understand what’s important to you, and guides your ability to prioritize and eliminate junk you don’t need.
Prioritizing 80 percent of your results does 2 things:
- Allows you to know the important stuff is getting done
- And lets you spend a healthy amount of time on others’ agendas
Eliminate the pain of saying no by adding others into your daily schedule. This is just a little something I’ve noticed in my own life. I spend my day helping others.
Helping and serving other people is built into the 80 percent of the time I spend on doing “me stuff.”
So if you spend all day in a service industry, or doing selfless service in general, it makes it easier to not feel bad when you have to say no to others.
- You can’t do everything
- Yes it’s important to help, and you’re in control of how you do that
80% of your results come from a small amount of your efforts. Everything else is you refining small details. You can apply this math to almost every part of your life and benefit from it.
10. Separate the Decisions you Make from the Relationship
Kill the idea that every choice you make is going to threaten your relationship. This goes double for family members, who seem to be the first people to shame you for taking time for yourself, or saying no to them
They’ll throw out remarks like:
- “After all i’ve done for you”
- “Oh you can afford to come and help me do this little thing”
- “Don’t you wanna help me? Why are you so selfish?”
Be honest with yourself. Are you selfish? Or are they just being babies? There is no law that says you’re an untouchable if 100 percent, or even 50 percent of your life doesn’t go to them
People want you on their team, and they want you pushing their own agenda, which is fine. But remember that you’re supposed to be establishing your own agenda first!