Boundaries. The why’s and how’s.
By Naseeha Tayob Ibrahim

Published in: Self
Date: 31 / 03 / 22

An essential part of selfceare is setting boundaries with YOURSELF!

There’s all this talk about how and when to maintain boundaries with others, which is important (to be covered in my next article)however, in this article, I’m going to look at how to set boundaries with yourself first. I am a firm believer that if you wish to change anything, start with yourself.

I’m going to get into why it can be hard to do so but also, how you can start small and be successful.

Let’s answer the big question — what are boundaries and why are they so important?

Boundaries are a means of knowing where to draw the line and communicating how far you can go. Your boundaries are unique to you and will reflect your own needs.

Think back to preschool when your teacher gave you a picture to color in and her one rule was to “stay inside the lines”. This is pretty much like that.

So why is it so hard to set boundaries?

It can be a struggle, no doubt. But boundaries offer healthy limits and restrictions and can be very helpful when you’re looking to go the next level. It’s important to ask yourself why it’s hard to set some rules for yourself. Some of your answers could sound like

  • You are not used to rules/limits/restrictions
  • Rules/limits/restrictions were not incorporated into your upbringing
  • Rules/limits/restrictions make you feel restricted

If nobody kept you in check or held you accountable with important things like your diet, water intake or eating your greens, your sleeping habits, television consumption, physical activity and reading etc, then setting boundaries now is a way to reparent yourself and bring structure into your life. No matter your reasons, it is possible to start today.

The how’s

Start with identifying the areas of your life that need boundaries. Perhaps its your diet — you’re eating too much sugar or not eating enough greens. Maybe you binge watch Netflix all through the night with no time limit and that throws your sleep schedule off track. You may not have any financial boundaries, do you spend a lot on unnecessary things? Maybe your weakness is scrolling on instagram until the sun goes down, or comes up!

Create boundaries that are in line with a goal — for example, not scrolling on social media 2 hours before bedtime, instead you chose to read or journal.

Start small. Don’t limit yourself in all areas, all at once. Take it slow. It’s a process that requires habits to be built so you have to pay attention to yourself and work on the goal. If you take on too many all at once, it’s bound to flop.

Your relationship with yourself during this transition is important. It doesn’t make sense to beat yourself up when you don’t follow through with your commitments all while trying to make improvements. If setting boundaries is new to you, like every other change, you have to hold compassion for yourself. You can’t give up after just one attempt and write yourself off. It is going to take time but more important than the time it takes, it’s the discipline you achieve and the progress you make. Pay attention to the moments when you slip up and find out what it is that’s making you to fall off track — is it fear, are you doubting yourself? When you find that, work on it and continue.

Below is a list of areas to put down some boundaries. With commitment and consistency, you’re bound to find growth.

  • *Not spending money unnecessarily, buying only what’s on your list
  • *Watching television for an hour a day
  • *No screen time before bed
  • *No gossip or complaining
  • *Establishing healthy sleep and wake up times
  • *Eating less junk and more greens
  • *Avoiding people who influence you negatively


Naseeha Tayob Ibrahim

I speak. I write. I coach.

I want to make the world a better place.

As an avid reader and writer, it’s no surprise that communications became my career and line of work. There is never one thing in particular that defines who I am, except the fact that I am passionate about everything I do. That made me the odd one out most of my life. It made realize how important it is to listen to my heart.

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