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Sick And Tired: 3 Reasons You Struggle Setting Boundaries

Updated: Dec 14, 2023

Think about how you feel when you say yes to something you don’t want to do.

It doesn’t feel great, does it?


We survive when we don't set boundaries, but there is a cost.


Sometimes it’s not a big deal - maybe we lose a couple hours on a weekend, or we give up an evening for something we didn't want to do. But sometimes not setting boundaries can create big ramifications in our lives.

  • It might be a fight with your kids.

  • It might be the breakdown of a relationship.

  • It could be the loss of a job.

If you start to pile the losses and sacrifices you are making one on top of the other, eventually you can end up with depression or burnout. These conditions dramatically affect how you show up in the world.


We know this. So why is it so hard to set and maintain healthy boundaries? 

I've been searching for answers to this question and have discovered three big reasons.


1.  Our past experiences impact how we approach setting boundaries.

  • Have you ever been in a relationship where your needs were not considered as important as someone else’s?

  • Has someone ever gotten mad at you when you said “no” to them?

  • Have you ever been in a conflict situation at work or with family where keeping the peace felt more critical than getting what you needed or wanted?

These are all experiences that have shaped how you think about boundaries.

Many of us have developed behaviors where we sacrifice our needs to make others happy. When our pattern is to give into others’ needs first, our boundaries get broken.


2.  We are often rewarded for not setting boundaries.

In addition to keeping the peace and avoiding conflict by giving in to others, we often get additional rewards for not having boundaries.

  • Constantly working long hours can result in promotions or bonuses.

  • Never saying no to the needs in your community can result in awards and honors.

  • Being that friend who always puts others first can make you very popular.

Any behavior that is rewarded is likely to be repeated! Can you think of other ways you’ve been rewarded for disregarding your boundaries?


3. We don’t know or value our own priorities.

Boundaries are meant to protect what is important to us - the time and energy we have for health, relationships, goals, and more. But if you haven’t decided what is most important to you, how can you protect it? We think we know what matters to us, but unless you take the time to name these things, they won’t be a priority in your decisions.

For example, of course your kids or your spouse are important to you. But that doesn’t mean you must say yes to everything they want!

You need to define what is important:

  • A certain amount of uninterrupted quality time each day?

  • Meals together?

  • Being consulted about major purchases?

Deadlines or the needs of others will always seem important. Clearly defining what matters most to you helps you set boundaries to protect those things.


In my keynote speech “Guilt-Free Boundaries: How to Regain Time, Health, and Happiness”, I share the simple framework I’ve developed that helps you make the mindset shift to finally set and maintain healthy boundaries. Feedback has been powerful.


“People are still talking about your presentation a week later, and those that missed it are looking for the recording. The framework you provided is so actionable and is such a great takeaway for people to implement. Your message certainly struck a chord with many!”

- Marnie Hamp, Sr. Marketing Manager, FujiFilm Sonosite


This presentation can also be delivered as an interactive workshop.


If developing the mindset and skills to have healthy boundaries would help your organization or team, let’s talk! You deserve time and energy for the things that matter!

*Authentic content written by Kimberly Lyall, Lighting up Leaders

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