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How to Create, State, and Maintain Boundaries

Kylie Slavek, LPC & Sandy Black LPC

Boundaries help you define your limits. They communicate to others how you prefer to be treated. They help you take care of yourself and are based on what you value. For boundaries to work, they need to be made intentionally, stated clearly, and maintained. Below are three steps to help you create, state, and maintain a boundary. 

Step 1:  Create 

The first step in creating a boundary is recognizing where a boundary needs to be set. It is helpful to look at areas of your life where you feel anger or resentment. These feelings often point to areas of your life where your values are being neglected or your needs are being overstepped. 

Next, pinpoint which values need to be protected or promoted. Ask yourself what is important to you in this situation. Then, identify a way you can promote and protect your value. Creating a boundary is like drawing a line in the sand and getting very clear on where that line is and why it is there. 

Boundaries can be flexible or non-negotiable. When creating a boundary, it is also helpful to identify which of these categories it falls under. If it is a flexible boundary, getting clear on when you are willing to be flexible with it is a good thing to keep in mind for when you are sharing your boundary with others.

Journaling can be a helpful way to reflect on your values. Try these self-reflection journal prompts to help you reflect on your values and get clear on your boundaries. If you find yourself experiencing guilt, fear, or anxiety when it comes to creating healthy boundaries, working with a therapist can give you the support you need.

Step 2:  State 

After creating a boundary, it is important to state it clearly. You must share your boundaries for them to be respected. Speaking up for yourself, or saying what you want and need, is not self-centered or selfish. Stating your boundaries lets others know what is and is not okay with you, it is a way of honoring yourself.

Here are some simple tips to help you share your boundaries effectively. Focus on sharing one boundary at a time. Speak using “I” statements and keep it simple. Practice what you would like to say so that you are clear and concise. Resist apologizing or over-explaining, this will dilute your message and need. Be thoughtful about the time and place you choose to have the discussion, so the listener can be fully present. Share the boundary with everyone who needs to hear it. 

Step 3 – Maintain 

Consistency is important with boundaries. It will be important for you to stick to your boundary and respond the same way every time someone tries to push against it, especially if it is a non-negotiable. For flexible boundaries, be sure to communicate clearly why you are choosing to be flexible. This will help others to understand its parameters. 

Lastly, boundaries that are not respected must have consequences. Consequences help others understand what will happen if they violate your boundaries or push you past your limits. Consequences need to be clearly expressed. For example, you are asked to complete a project with a short deadline, which means you will not be able to complete other tasks on time. This needs to be clearly expressed. You may say something like, “If I take on this project, I will not be able to complete my monthly report on time.”  

By clearly expressing the consequences, you are managing expectations. Your boss will know that by crossing your workload boundary they cannot expect both the new project and the monthly report to be on time. Seeing the consequences of their actions will help them to make decisions about delegating tasks more efficiently in the future. 


Boundaries are not always easy! They take practice. Having a trusted friend or therapist to work through these steps can be helpful. When you set boundaries, you create realistic expectations and honor yourself, your needs, and your values. 

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Discover the benefits your company will enjoy by fostering an engaged, flourishing workforce, supported by customized services that meet your employee’s unique needs. 

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