Six Steps to Set Good Boundaries

Boundaries are unofficial rules about what should not be done—limits that define acceptable behavior. Think of boundaries as a positive thing like the the picture of the dog who now has safe and has a beautiful sanctuary because he’s fence in.

Establishing limits and enforcing them is a key part of caring for yourself. If you don’t balance kindness for others with boundaries, some people will continue to take from you until you don’t have the time and energy to care for yourself. Boundaries: When to say yes, How to say no to take control of your life by Henry Cloud and John Townsend (1994) provides a excellent reference. A grateful reader (Mary O’Brien consolidated their process into six general steps:

Six Steps to Set Good Boundaries

  1. Respect yourself.
  2. Decide what your core values are.
  3. Change yourself (even if you can’t change others).
  4. Decide (write out) the consequences ahead of time.
  5. Let your behavior, not your words speak for you.
  6. Say what you mean and mean what you say (integrity). [1] 

Questions to Ponder

Do you have boundaries in place to protect yourself? If not, when do you need them?



What consequences do you consistently apply to enforce your boundaries?




[1] K. Obrien, “6 Steps to Set Good Boundaries,” Mindbodygreen, 2014, retrieved on June 10, 2016, from