Setting Boundaries That Work

The Virtues Project ( provides the following guidelines for setting boundaries:

  1. Be moderate
  2. Be specific
  3. Be positive - virtues based
  4. Have specific, relevant consequences
  5. Make consequences educative
  6. Be consistent
  7. Communicate rules clearly
  8. Be sure consequences are understood
  9. Make bottom line rules non-negotiable
  10. Make expectations clear


The key with boundary setting is to start with baby steps. Also to practice with safe people whose relationship with you will be able to handle a boundary discussion.

Choose one work area from those described earlier - clients, colleagues, employers or self and identify an area you would like to shore up a boundary in. Choose something that you could address in the next day or two, and something that feels safe and manageable.

Some examples might be:

  • setting a half hour aside for lunch each day this week, or switching off your work phone at a certain time each day.
  • You might consider adding a statement into your initial client contact about when you are available, or
  • formulate and practice a reply to a colleague that often makes last minute requests of you.
  • you might like to re-read your employment contract, job description or service contract and ask for clarity around any areas you feel unsure about.
  • you might like to plan and book into your diary those health appointments you have been deferring.

In your workbook write down the specifics of what issue you want to set a new boundary around. Be detailed about what outcome you want from this new boundary - e.g. to not have home time interrupted by work phone calls.

Complete and Continue