You do not stand a fighting chance to keep a commitment that you make if you do not set boundaries and then enforce them. What is a boundary? Simply stated a boundary is what you are or are not willing to do. If someone comes to you and asks you to do something, are you going to automatically say yes? If that is the case, then you will increase your burdens and then one day you will find yourself over committed and you will end up breaking the most important promise – the one that you made to yourself.
You end up breaking commitments because you are overwhelmed and unable to fullfill your promise because you just do not have the capacity. Why? You have no boundaries. Or if you do, you do not enforce them at all.
In my experience, most people do not even consider boundaries for themselves. They do not contemplate what they are willing / not willing to do. This sets you up to be unprepared for the barage of requests that you get all the time. Humans are designed to get other humans to work for them. It is part of our our DNA. We are taught as babies to socialize, negotiate, barter and ultimately get what we want. We learn to convince other people to do things for us and consequently when you walk out into the wide world, there are 10B or so people you could run into that are all highly trained tasks delegators. Some better than others.
If you are unprepared, then you will find yourself falling victim to working for someone else. This is ok, if this is what you want. That person you work for may give you something of value in return and you may decide that is worth it, but if you just say yes, yes, yes then say goodbye, goodbye, goodbye to your dreams.
A couple of strategies that work for me. First, I do what I can to establish a clear vision of who I am and what I am trying to accomplish. I determine what I need to do that, and what I am missing in order to get there. That is a vision I go through every morning. Part of my 365 commitment formula. Set out every morning with a clear vision of your objectives and what you are going to get done today to take one step closer. That vision really helps because when someone comes and give you an offer to do something else, you are consciously aware of the contrast and are mindful of how this will distract you from your ultimate goals.
The next strategy I like to employ is WOOP thinking. You can look this up, a couple of educational researchers came up with this to help struggling young people engage better with their educational programs. The idea is that you come up with your Wish (W), consider the Outcome (O), the potential Obstacles (O) and the Plan (P) to deal with them when they arrive. Here is an example from my current life situation. I have decided to embark on a new business opportunity. However, there are many other opportunities out there that I are available. What do I do if someone approaches me with a really exciting opportunity that is NOT my business concept? That is an obstacle for me. A big one. The reason is because I LOVE chasing shiny new objects. Call me a raven. So what is my plan if this obstacle were to come up? Great question. I need to ponder that carefully. What will I say? How will I say, gulp…wait for it…NO!
That is right the key to setting and enforcing boundaries is to learn to say no. However, to say no in a positive way. A way that reinforces and affirms your life ambition. Start doing that and watch success come pouring into your life.