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The Secret to Setting Boundaries and Saying "No"

Ladies, it is time to get real about the load we bare as women. Whether our day consists of chipping away at the glass ceiling, keeping our families and homes in order, or a combination of the two, we all have moments where our obligations can become overwhelming. Even so, we are often proud to take on various responsibilities and we feel accomplished when we complete all that we have set out to do. We idealize the idea of being a 'superwoman' - that is, flawlessly doing it all. But what happens when we can’t fulfill all our commitments? We tend to feel like failures.

Setting boundaries in our personal life and work life and saying “no” can help us to better manage our time and feel more accomplished. How do we do it? It is all about changing our mindset. Have a balanced view on what you can handle and be honest with yourself about your time and abilities.

What are Boundaries? How do we Set Them?

Before we get into discussing boundaries, we have to define what they are. Boundaries are limits that we put on a subject or activity. There are a variety of areas in our lives where we can set boundaries, but we want to focus on personal and work boundaries.

We've all been there, after a bustling work week, our upcoming weekend looks even busier! It can be nearly impossible to be present - physically or mentally - if we overcommit. Plus, oftentimes it not only stresses us out, but it also affects our partners and families who support us. When we are stretched thin, they feel the brunt of it.

I can't tell you how many times I've overextended myself because I didn't set proper boundaries. As a small business owner, I'm often approached for affiliate partnerships and social media collaborations, in addition, I am blessed to have a great network of friends, so I have to seriously consider my capacity as a business owner, wife, mom, and friend.

Now, keep in mind that each of us have unique lives and circumstances so setting healthy boundaries must be done an individual basis. Here are some tips to help you along the way:

  • Set a Goal - Consider your priorities and personal values. Ask yourself, what is my goal with setting this boundary?

  • Start Small - Setting boundaries can be uncomfortable in the beginning. Don't overwhelm yourself by establishing boundaries abruptly. Instead, make small changes and develop your boundaries from there.

  • Apply - Motivate yourself to incorporate your newly found boundaries when making decisions about your personal and work lives.

Saying "No." How?

A vital part of setting boundaries is learning how to say “no.” This can be difficult- I know that it is for me- but if we accept every task asked of us, it will lead to a loss of focus and increased stress. Two tips that can help you are:

  1. Cushion It - As mentioned previously, it may be a challenge at first to say "no." One reason for this may be because we feel bad or guilty if we can't say yes. What can help us is being kind or giving a compliment before we decline. You can say: “I appreciate that you thought of me but…”

  2. Stay Firm - Once you decide that you can't commit to a task, try your best to keep your word. While you may be tempted to change your mind and agree to do something after saying no, trust your gut and knowledge of yourself.

Similar to setting boundaries, we are all faced with our own unique situations. So, the above suggestions may not be applicable for every situation, but they can help make it easier for you to stick to your decision.

"Being able to say “No” is a necessary ingredient in a healthy lifestyle." – David W. Earle, LPC, Author

Moving Forward

It is okay to set boundaries and to say “no.” Doing so help us enhance our sense of accomplishment, improve our relationships, and manage our stress levels - the benefits are plentiful and necessary for our wellness and peace of mind.


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