Good Sunday morning, everyone! I am continuing on the topic of setting boundaries in our lives. Remember, boundaries are not optional, they are necessary.

The sooner you set boundaries, the better. You are training others on how to treat you. It is easier to set a new precedent in a new situation or relationship than to undo established patterns of behavior.

In many cases, of course, we are already neck-deep in something before we realize that we have allowed too much freedom.

Realize that you will have to overcome old habits and people tend to be slow to change, so have patience and be ready to explain yourself a few times.

When setting boundaries in a situation where they none existed, it’s even more important to be consistent. Lack of consistency will tell people that you are not serious about your new boundaries and they will default to their old behaviors.

In order to clarify exactly which boundaries you need in your life, you need to think about your highest priorities, the goals you want to achieve and the ways you want to spend your time, then think about what keeps you from those priorities.

Once you have a short list of your highest priorities, you are ready to identify the things that keep you from them. What obstacles are keeping you from making progress or from putting time into your priorities?

There are three kinds of obstacles to look for in life.

First, there are situational obstacles like traffic or weather.

Second, there are self-created obstacles. These obstacles are procrastinating, staying focused, time management.

Third, there are interpersonal obstacles. These obstacles are created by other people in your life and are by far the most common. People are focused on their own problems and unaware of how they’re affecting you. To get rid of these obstacles in your life, you have to take a step back, identify the patterns, and build boundaries that prevent these patterns from continuing.

You have to establish your own lines if you want to be able to dedicate time to what you love and consider most important. Boundaries keep you from being controlled by the trivial things and set you free from other people’s drama and poor decisions.

Boundaries will help you establish control over your own life and reach the goals you put in place as a priority.

Give. Advocate. Volunteer. Live United.

Sherri M. Askren is president of United Way of Danville Area, Inc., 28 W. North St., Danville, IL 61832. Phone: 442-3512

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