Boundaries are guidelines we establish to communicate how we want to be treated. When you think of boundaries, you probably associate them with other people, whether you put them in place with your family, romantic partner, or coworkers. However, it’s also imperative that we establish boundaries with ourselves. 

Why Establish Boundaries With Yourself

When you set boundaries with yourself, you are ensuring that you act in your own self-interest rather than outdated patterns or a desire for instant gratification. Boundaries allow you to create a healthy structure for your life and keep your behavior in line with who you are and what you want out of life. It’s boundaries with yourself that stop you from living a life of chaos, staying up too late every night, doing things that make you feel bad about yourself, or compulsively people-pleasing. 

Some boundaries you may have with yourself include: 

  • Sticking to a budget
  • Not working on your days off
  • Not drinking more than one cup of coffee a day
  • Brushing your teeth twice a day
  • Not spending time with people who disrespect you or others
  • Having a consistent bedtime 
  • Limiting time on social media 

The Challenge of Setting Boundaries With Yourself 

Many people struggle to stick to boundaries, particularly with themselves. You may realize that you need some limitations for yourself, but you might struggle to adhere to them. There are a few common reasons why people struggle to keep boundaries with themselves: 

  • Their parents didn’t have their own boundaries for themselves
  • Their parents didn’t set boundaries for their children 
  • Boundaries make them feel deprived 
  • They struggle with mental health problems that make it more difficult to limit themselves

We learn how to set boundaries as children, so if your parents modeled healthy boundaries for you, it’s likely you internalized this and can set them for yourself as an adult. However, many people grow up with parents who have inconsistent or nonexistent boundaries; if this is the case for you, it makes sense why it would be challenging today. 

How to Set Boundaries With Yourself 

Fortunately, everything going forward is a choice. If you struggle to set boundaries with yourself, there’s still hope you can now. 

  • Determine where you need boundaries. Maybe you struggle financially, you spend too much time on your phone, or you don’t prioritize your emotional health. Start by determining where you need more structure in your life. 
  • Reflect on your values. Is there any area of your life where you’re not living in line with your values? This points to a need for limits that allow you to live your truth. 
  • Don’t go overboard. Immediately setting 100 boundaries for yourself will backfire. Start with one boundary, then build from there. 
  • Be compassionate with yourself. Setting boundaries with yourself doesn’t mean that you need to be your own personal drill sergeant. In fact, being unkind to yourself will only make it more difficult to keep those boundaries. Make sure you are compassionate with yourself and aren’t too harsh or unrealistic with your expectations for yourself.

If you struggle with this area of your life, you may benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy in Palatine. Contact New Transitions Counseling Center to schedule an appointment today!