Manifesting your goals, resolutions, and intentions is easier when you and those around you know your limits.
At the turn of the new year, there’s a private practice of setting new goals and intentions. This is a powerful exercise that sets the expectation of what the year will (hopefully) be about. It’s important to know what we’re working towards or what we’d like to see for ourselves. But there is something within that practice that I feel gets lost easily: setting clear boundaries and making them known.
Being in the driver’s seat of your own life is an empowering position but it can be easy to start driving in the wrong direction when your boundaries aren’t clear. Like when you say yes to more work at the end of the day even though you feel ready to unplug. Just like the roads we take, there are limitations that are there to protect you but when it comes to everyday decisions, you’re the one who sets the rules. You get to choose if it’s a green or a red light on your actions.
Setting clear boundaries is about finding where there’s compromise and where there isn’t. I recently traveled to Australia for the holidays and made the scary decision to turn everything off while I was there. I learned from my trip to Colombia in March that it’s a stressful distraction to try to stay tethered to life in Seattle while traveling abroad so I wanted to try something new. When I say I turned everything off, I mean it. My computer was left at home and my phone was left off for 16 days.
I knew that going dark was something that deserved a bit of an announcement. An announcement to Pursuit members, to colleagues, to friends, and to family. They needed to know in advance that for a certain amount of time I would be unreachable (unless it was an emergency, then they could contact my fiance).
When I started to share this decision with those around me, a common question was “Will you be checking your email just to make sure everything is okay?” I understand this logic, there’s some peace in knowing what’s going on so that when you return you’re prepared to deal with it. But for this adventure, my thought was “hell no!” If I was setting the clear boundary that I would not be responding to any messages, why torment myself with the information at a time when I wouldn’t do anything about it anyway?
My boundaries were clear within, I would be 100% offline. And since I knew this, those around me should be aware. And since that expectation was set, it was my responsibility to carry them through.
As we head into this new year and have goals and intentions set for ourselves, I encourage spending a moment to consider what clear boundaries can be set. Once you know these for yourself, let your community know so that they aren’t surprised when you stick with them throughout the year. People respond best when expectations are clear. When you remain unwavering on your own boundaries, they’re more deeply respected and even encourage others to set some of their own.
This month we’ll be sharing more ways to get clear on your boundaries and how to define them here on the Journal and on our Instagram as well. Be sure to follow along if you feel this is an area in your life that could use some improvement. And please share your thoughts on the subject in the comments here or there. I’d love know which boundaries you’re setting for yourself and the experiences you have in maintaining them.
Happy new year, my friends.