Quash Resolution Failure with Boundaries


  • Don't wait for the new year to make changes. Self-improvement is a lifelong pursuit.
  • Embrace change and be adaptable. Let go of things you can't control and focus on your inner peace.
  • Don't take things personally. Most negativity is not directed at you specifically.
  • Set healthy boundaries to protect your time, energy, and well-being. This will improve your relationships and self-esteem.
“May all your troubles last as long as your New Year’s resolutions!” 
- Joey Adams

 2024 is up and running. How is it feeling for you?

Have you already flunked your ‘new year’s resolutions’? Many do for the reason that they’re often made in haste after a fair mount of merry-making, and are likely more dream goals than real, achievable ones.

While there is something mesmerizing about a fresh start, the happy fact is that everyone can apply self-improvement resolves at any time of year and when we’re onto bottom-line, deep motivational aspirations, we should never change them just because a year has passed and a new one begins.

“Every moment is a fresh beginning.” - T.S. Eliot

Being the best we can be is a lifelong human quest. Understanding and dealing with others authentically is a skill we hone continuously. Let’s review just three vital shifts you may want to make in your personal perspective of things.

Everything Changes

“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change” - Albert Einstein

Accepting the temporary nature of much about life as we know it, singularly builds the kind of resilience we need to navigate our changing landscape. There’s no sense at all in becoming attached or dependent on things that may shift and change in a second.

Hot tip: learn to embrace change – even if you just move the furniture around often to keep yourself flexible.

Learning to adapt is a life-skill we share with all life on this planet, with the exception that humans seem to suck at it! We tend to sink into the blur of living life on auto-pilot, beavering away at what we’re told is important (not to knock routine by the way – there is a place for schedules and planning in this mindset). The problem is that we never stop to smell the roses, drink in the beauty around us. We paddle blindly upstream, straining against the current because somewhere, somehow, we misunderstood and decided that to be worth it, life has to be hard.

Knowing when to let go of what is out of our control, being ready to pivot because we expect change and never depending on external factors for our inner peace and happiness are viewpoint, or paradigm shifts we can make and hold to for a lifetime regardless of how many years come and go.

Adversity isn’t Personal

“I can't change the direction of the wind, 
but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination." 
- Jimmy Dean

We complain as if it’s only raining on us – it isn’t, so try not to take stuff personally (it’s different if you’re being picked on, bullied or persecuted in some way). For the most part, we quickly allow ourselves to feel that ‘everything is against us’.

Hot Tip: Don’t be quick to take offense, not hastily conclude your failure is inevitable – it isn’t!

When someone is actually ‘out to get you’, it’s real hard not to take it personally but just for once, try tackling this sort of thing differently. The first thing you’ll realize is that it’s not all about you after all! Most people who fail to hour and respect their fellows are driven by their dark side and have simply succumbed to their own fears. Feeling the need to assert themselves, drives people to tread down others and you might be in their way.

“He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool,
and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool.”
― Brigham Young

People who are acting out, being critical, vindictive or blaming, are figuratively ‘throwing balls at you’, but you are still in control because you get to decide whether or not to catch those balls or simply let them pass you by.

Boundaries Keep it all Together

“People inspire you, or they drain you. Pick them wisely.– Hans F Hasen

Is this heading a bit of an oxymoron? Don’t boundaries imply separateness, rather than togetherness? Aha! Here comes your lightbulb moment.

Setting healthy boundaries keeps a person together, holding to their decisions and preferences and boundaries define the health of relationships because we are actually teaching people how to treat us by what we allow.

“Allowing people inside your life is a beautiful thing. Letting go of people who drain your spirit is another beautiful thing you can do for your life. The key to being happy is knowing you have the power to choose what to accept and what to let go.” – Dodinsky, writer, and author

How do you know whether you need boundaries? Your feelings are a great 'tell'. Are you feeling resentful because you’re always taken for granted, constantly exhausted, uncomfortable in another’s company? Are you always 'nice' - a people-pleaser, don't like rocking the boat or take strain when there is strife? Boundary time! The difference setting healthy makes is positively liberating!

PsychCentral identified 7 boundary areas as follows:

  1. Physical – protecting your personal space, right to be touched or not, your need to rest and refresh and behavioural limits
  2. Sexual – protect your right to consent, to your preferences, to honesty regarding histories, and your choice of how much intimacy you prefer, how often and with whom.
  3. Emotional or Mental – protect your right to your thoughts, feelings and choices without them being invalidated. It also protects you from taking responsibility for how others feel.
  4. Spiritual or Religious - protect your right to believe and practice according to your personal choices while leaving others the right to make their own.
  5. Financial and Material – protect your resources and possessions, your right to use your money as you deem right, not to loan when you’re unwilling to and your right to agreed payments.
  6. Time and Energy – protect your right to choose how and with whom you spend your time and energy. IT will also make sure you are never overworked, or agree to anything you don’t feel good doing.
  7. Non-negotiables - boundaries of this nature are your deal-breakers, they define things you must absolutely have to feel safe - often pertain to safety issues such as physical violence, emotional abuse, drug or alcohol use, fidelity, and life-threatening health issues.

Healthy boundaries require tough love at times and we need to have the courage of our own convictions to implement limits as needed. We have to practice how to say ‘no’ elegantly and sometimes robustly, if need be, understanding that ‘no’ is, after all, a complete sentence.

‘People treat you the way you teach them to treat you.’ – Jack Canfield

Individuals who have ‘no filter’ often exhibit a lack of boundaries for themselves as well as a propensity to violate those of others. It is not our jurisdiction to change where others are in their lives, but it is incumbent on us to help them with regard to our boundaries by being clear, and consistent in explaining them. If people become upset by the boundaries we establish it is usually because they were benefitting hugely when we didn’t.

Once we set paradigms like this in place we will never need to make new year resolutions again. Instead, we simply live the way we always ought to and reap the benefits of never failing in life.

Summary - Healthy boundaries build balanced self-esteem, a lack of boundaries can cause us to have zero power over our time, money, and sometimes, even our lives. When we set out boundaries while holding to our authenticity, it will inspire rather than crush, preserve dignity rather than demean and free those who need it the most from what hampers them the most.

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Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute professional medical or psychological advice. Please consult with a qualified healthcare professional for personalized guidance.


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