Setting Boundaries in Daily Life: Concrete Tips for Success

You probably recognize it: that request from your manager to pick up that extra project when you’re actually already overloaded. Or that friend who always calls on you even when you actually need time to yourself. These are moments when you really should be setting your boundaries, but keep failing to do so. Everything passes you by as you feel and you lose control of your life.

Many of my clients come to my practice with specific goals in mind, and along the way we often then discover that one of the main obstacles is that they have difficulty setting boundaries.

Sarah (not her real name due to privacy), a passionate professional, was looking for work-life balance. Growing up in a family where her little brother needed special care, Sarah learned to give herself away to help others. Throughout our journey, she slowly discovered her own strength and realized that setting boundaries was essential to her well-being. Her transformation from a pleaser to someone who puts her own needs first illustrates the power of setting boundaries in everyday life.

In this article, I want to share with you practical tips that can help you identify, set and maintain your personal boundaries so that you are able to take better care of yourself and get more satisfaction from this wonderful life!

Why are boundaries important?

In the physical world, we have fences to mark property boundaries. These make it very clear where one’s property ends and another’s begins. But personal boundaries are not so clearly defined physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. This sometimes makes it difficult in our mutual relationships. When we have healthy boundaries, we communicate clearly what we do and do not want. We make decisions that allow us to grow and bring out the best in ourselves. If we do not have boundaries or if they need further development, we can often experience a sense of exhaustion, feel insecure and feel as though we are losing control of our lives.

What do your boundaries look like?

A fun and useful way to look at boundaries is to compare them to physical fences. Personal boundaries are an invisible fence that provides a safe haven for us to be at our best. When you look at the many different types of fencing out there, you get an idea of how unique each person and their boundaries can be.

Imagine what your personal boundaries would look like if they were a fence. A 6-foot wooden fence with a “no entry” sign to keep you safe? Boundaries are meant to take care of ourselves, not to exclude people. Are your borders like a funny, playful fence made of skis? Are your borders in good condition or do they need repair? Do you allow certain people to tear down your fence? Or are you someone who goes it alone and turns down loving help when offered? Whatever your boundaries look like, a good starting point is to give yourself permission to
be true to yourself
. What do you need to be at your best?

Now let’s look at why setting boundaries is good.

Important reasons to set healthy boundaries

If boundaries are so important for self-care and personal growth, among other things, why don’t we set them? Why do we have so much trouble with that? There are many different reasons why we find that exciting and would rather sacrifice ourselves than set boundaries for others.

Why we have trouble setting boundaries

Do you recognize yourself in one or more of these reasons? It is quite normal to have trouble setting boundaries, especially if you are used to always putting others first. But know that you are not alone, and there are always ways to deal with this.

Even if we understand the importance of setting boundaries, we often don’t know HOW to set healthy boundaries. Let’s discover together how to set healthy boundaries and take care of yourself.

How can we get better at it?

By being very consistent. Often we think: I’ll tell my boss once that I can’t work after six, and then it’s enough. But then if he does keep calling after six, you have to keep setting that boundary over and over again. People need to understand that you mean it seriously. When they think you are still flexible, they will take advantage of that. We also often think there is only one way to say “no. But you can say difficult things in so many different ways. You can say: this is not working for me, can we do this differently? Or: this is not really for me, but maybe we can do this? It doesn’t always have to be very hard and direct.

You are not selfish!

On the contrary – it is an act of
and helps others to understand and respect you better. Your boundaries are like signposts that tell others how to deal with you. If you show that you are happier when you regularly take time for yourself, people are more likely to understand that they should respect your need for space. If you make it clear that you don’t like it when people give unsolicited advice about your life choices, they may be more restrained and give you more space to make your own decisions. Being open about what you like and don’t like allows others to take that into account, creates a healthier dynamic in relationships and fosters an environment where everyone feels heard, respected and valued.

In short, your happiness and well-being are your priority. And it’s up to you to let others know how they can contribute to that. By stating your boundaries, you give others the opportunity to adjust their behavior and better support you. And often they will do so with love!

Practical Tips


  1. Establish work hours: Create a clear schedule for your work hours and communicate it to your supervisor and colleagues. Be assertive about respecting your time outside of work, such as evenings and weekends.
  2. Priorities: Learn to say no to extra tasks that are outside of your responsibilities or overburden you. Set priorities and communicate realistic expectations about what you can and cannot do.
  3. Set limits on communication: Clearly state when you are available for work-related communications, such as emails and phone calls, outside of normal working hours. For example, turn off notifications on your phone after a certain amount of time.


  1. Establish family time: Consciously set aside time for yourself and your immediate family. Set limits on spontaneous visits or requests for help from family members by clearly communicating in advance when you are available.
  2. Personal space: Set limits on your personal space, even within your own family. Indicate when you need some alone time to recharge and make sure this need is respected.
  3. Emotional boundaries: Learn to say no to family members who often overstep your emotional boundaries, such as pushing their opinions or asking for financial support. Communicate your own needs and boundaries in a respectful manner.


  1. Make time for yourself: Make time for self-care and personal interests, even if that means turning down some social activities. Be honest with your friends about your need for time to yourself.
  2. Dealing with negative influences: Set limits on friendships that negatively affect your well-being, such as friends who constantly complain or pressure you to do things you don’t want to do. Dare to let go of these friendships in a respectful way.
  3. Open communication: Communicate openly with your friends about your needs and expectations in friendship. Set boundaries for behavior that is unacceptable to you and be prepared to discuss the friendship if necessary.

By following these steps, you can practice setting boundaries in different aspects of your life, such as work, family and friendships. This will not only ensure personal growth, but also improve your relationships and help you live a healthier and happier life.

Sarah’s story is a great example of how setting boundaries can have a transformative impact. With the right guidance, her dedication and determination, Sarah managed to identify, set and maintain her boundaries. As a result, she not only found more work-life balance, but also more fulfillment and happiness in her life. You can also achieve this by consciously working on setting healthy boundaries and taking good care of yourself. Because we all deserve a life where we feel powerful and in control!

I give you the power and tools to move forward!

Beacon of Balance can help create customized coaching programs that help you feel more comfortable in your own skin again, handle stress better and live in your own unique way. Feel free to contact us if you would like to spar about options. See you then!

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