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Today's Podcast Episode

Hi. You are so very welcome to today's episode where we are going to be talking about all things boundaries.

I don't know what is wrong with me today. I have started and stopped this episode so many times.

This is like my fifth time getting stuck in. So I'm just going to get stuck in. I have my water beside me.

I'm ready to go.

I have all my notes.

I am ready to help you.

Do you ever feel in that mood where you just can't seem to get into your flow?

And then I start to overthink it and then my perfectionist tendencies come in and I'm thinking, you know what?

Actually, let's not do this, let's do this at the end of the week, but the end of the week is too late.

I want to be consistent with my delivery of my episodes to you twice a week.

Tuesdays and Thursdays.

So I'm just going to get stuck in and I am not restarting this episode no matter what happens.

I'm celebrating a little bit today.

It's been a year and six months, a little bit over that I decided to quit alcohol, give up alcohol for good.

And I don't label myself sober or you know, all those kind of labels.

I just don't drink alcohol.

Alcohol had such a control over me.

And the last thing I want is to be labeled and feel still controlled by the alcohol label.

If you're thinking about giving it up.

Oh, if you're sick and tired of drinking alcohol, oh, I couldn't recommend it enough.

It's the single handedly most freeing thing I've ever been able to do for myself and giving up alcohol.

Really kick started my journey towards self love.

And one of those things that I needed to do on starting my journey of self love was establishing healthy boundaries in my life and healthy boundaries is something that I have never experienced ever.

I remember this time two years ago, whatsapping clients sitting in the bath because I wanted to make sure that this client that was whatsapping me got the correct answer to what they needed the answer to as quickly as possible.

So I decided, first off, what was I doing?

Checking my work messages in the bath on a Friday night at 7 p.

m.

Second of all, why was I letting people whatsapp me?

Why was I establishing another line of communication through my work when I have emails and loads of other ways?

Thirdly, why could not have waited?

Fourthly if that's even a word.

Can't you see that?

Like I wanted the client to know the answer to a technology issue as quickly as possible.

So I put that need in front of my own and my own need in that moment was needing a bath, needing down time because I had just had a very, very tough week and it was Friday evening at 7 p.

m.

and I was sitting in my bath with the candles, lit the book beside me on my phone, whatsapping a client.

That was one of the biggest times that I realized I needed to establish boundaries.

And for those of you that don't know my career background, I owned a gym for many years until COVID hit.

When COVID hit, I moved everything online and it was so successful and I enjoyed it so much that I stayed online.

However, when I moved online, the moving online and it all becoming about coaching and me delivering the program and it became less about having a team of five and managing a gym and more about me delivering a program to my clients, it really threw up in my face, the lack of self love I had for myself and I spent the first year and a half in COVID with no boundaries, no work boundaries at all.

I would be emailing and Facebook messaging and commenting in the members group.

Literally from the second I woke up in the morning to the second I went to bed and that there's not one bit of exaggeration in that I would wake up in the morning.

I would turn my phone on in those few minutes in bed.

I would check my phone and then I would just reply back to anything that anybody had sent me.

I would check my emails and I would quickly reply back.

And I spent the day like that, I spent the day like that I would go for lunch and I would be commenting or emailing to people.

I didn't have any boundaries around lunch, any boundaries around coffee break.

I used to bring my laptop when, when things had reopened again and I wanted to do a little bit of work in a cafe.

Um I would work, go and take a break, bring my laptop with me and work on my break and it all came tumbling down and it all got way too much.

I look back now with such compassion and kindness for the person.

I was because I just didn't know, I just didn't know nobody had told me or I hadn't asked, I didn't know anything about boundaries.

I didn't know I had such a lack of self love.

And how did this manifest itself?

So, if you were looking at me, um, from two years ago, like prior to two years ago, how would you have known?

I didn't love myself.

I didn't have one hobby.

I had very few friends.

I have literally not anymore.

Over the past year and a half, I've really been working at establishing connections in my life, but I had no friends, pretty much no friends, one or two, but very lonely.

I was isolated.

I focused only on work.

I had no hobbies.

I didn't know what my likes or dislikes were.

I think if there was an award going, I would have gotten the award for biggest people pleaser out there.

And I didn't even know it was people pleasing.

I wasn't even aware that it was people pleasing.

I just went about my day the way I've always gone about my day.

And I'm, I'm really, really glad that the whole thing happened because I got to see the lack of self love and I was able to fix it and I was able to establish healthy boundaries.

And from that first step of establishing healthy boundaries was I able to lose weight, keep it off for good, become fit, become healthy, give up alcohol make friends have hobbies, know what my likes or dislikes are, give up people pleasing, have an opinion, not censor or silence myself anymore.

It has been truly wonderful.

So if you're listening to this episode right now and you are struggling with, let's say consistency, you might be struggling with consistency because you don't have any healthy boundaries up yet.

You think you call yourself lazy, demotivated no time.

Well, actually, it could be just the fact that you don't have any boundaries in your life.

I'm going to list you out a couple of symptoms that I think this is from my experience are the reasons you might be inconsistent because of a lack of boundaries.

You don't make any time for yourself.

You feel like you have no time in the day.

You only take the time left over at the end of the day for yourself.

You tried to shoehorn in time for yourself on top of an already busy schedule.

You don't honor your commitments, you struggle to respect your needs.

You don't have any nonnegotiable, healthy habits for yourself.

And the big one that's really obvious that you have no boundaries is that you're inconsistent.

So let's go into that a little bit deeper.

And let's, I want to ask you if you say yes to any of the following questions.

Do you have a lack of boundaries?

Ok.

So my first question, do you feel, do you feel taken advantage of in certain situations you say yes to please others at your own expense.

Oh my God.

That was a big one for me.

Always at my own expense.

Always at the detriment to my own healthy habits.

I would say yes to everybody not getting your needs met because you tend to fear conflict and you give in to others.

You often feel disrespected by others by not standing up for yourself.

You have a fear of being rejected or abandoned and that leaves you accepting less than you deserve.

You engage in people pleasing behaviors in order to be liked and to receive approval and you don't have any respect for your time.

Now, I can answer yes to all of the above.

I have done all of the above.

And what happens when you do that is that you don't work out, you don't have hobbies, you don't have unwind time, you're at the beck and call of everybody else and it's nobody else's fault but you are.

You put everybody else's needs in front of your own.

And I want you to imagine that you've got this little like really cool invisible layer that's around you and surrounding you.

And when you have healthy boundaries, you have this little invisible layer like this invisible bubble that goes all around you and everybody else's needs are outside that bubble and everything inside the bubble is you, you take care of yourself.

You work out, you eat healthy, you have time for your down time, you have time for making connections and to laugh and then everybody else's needs are outside the little bubble and you get to them afterwards.

But when you don't have healthy boundaries, everybody's else's needs just comes into your bubble.

So your bubble is just really full the whole time.

Just think of it like a bubble around you and it's just bursting with all these loud voices of everybody asking you for stuff.

How in the hell are you ever going to make time for yourself?

How in the hell are you ever going to be happy?

And I think what a lot of us do.

What I certainly did is I kind of envisaged this time in the future when I would have hobbies and me time and you know what?

That's, it just doesn't work like that.

I had a really interesting chat with a dear friend of mine who's also a member, psychotherapist Trisha mchale.

And she spoke about women in their fifties and sixties feeling a real loss of identity.

Um, because they have lost their identity, they've come up to empty nest and realized that they don't really know who they are or what their likes or dislikes are.

And it's always a really good idea to work on all this stuff before those big life changes happen.

And it is so true.

And I used to think that yes, in the future, I will have this, this, this, but for now.

It's all about the kids and work and I, I, I've done it both ways.

So up until a year and a half ago, it was all about the kids and work and I was overweight.

I was unhealthy.

I was comfort eating.

I was drinking too much alcohol.

I was stressed out all the time.

I was anxious all of the time and I didn't see anywhere in my calendar.

I was going to be able to fit in me time.

But then somewhere along the road to say it simply, I said, fuck this.

Something has to change.

I don't care if it feels like I have no time.

I'm going to create time.

And by me saying that meant that I was taking absolute responsibility for my own life and not blaming anybody else because we, we, we can't go around saying we've no time, we've no time, we've no time.

We have to create time.

So I did and I started to really focus on developing connections in my life, on having hobbies on carving out nonnegotiable me time.

And it felt like crap for ages for a couple of months.

I persevered because that's the biggest thing that we do.

We sometimes what we can do at the detriment to ourselves, something feels uncomfortable and bad.

So we think that we shouldn't do it.

So we stop.

Whereas the biggest thing I learned is if you, if it feels uncomfortable, it doesn't mean it's bad.

It just means you're not used to it.

So keep going.

So my life changed by setting boundaries for myself, by deciding to have healthy boundaries in my life so that I could focus on things that make me happy.

I ended up getting really fit and healthy because of it.

So if fit and healthy is your, is your goal and then you're at point A and fit and healthy is point C A lot of the time, we just try to go from A to C and we try to shoehorn everything in when we've got no time when we've got no boundaries.

When actually there's a step in the middle and that's point B establishing healthy boundaries is going to get you to point C which is your fitness and health goals.

Can I just say one more thing?

You don't need to go on a weight loss diet to lose weight.

You don't need to join a six week shred your fat to shred fat, to lose weight.

You need to decide you want to become fit and healthy.

You need to decide on fit and healthy action steps and you need to establish healthy boundaries that are going to enable you to become fit and healthy.

Now, examples of healthy boundaries, examples of a person exhibiting healthy boundaries, this is what a person with healthy boundaries looks like.

They're, they're able to say no, they are able to clearly communicate their wants and needs.

They are, they, they honor and respect their own needs.

They honor and respect their commitments.

They ring fence me time every single week and they, they know what non negotiables are and they stick to their nonnegotiable.

So I'm just going to say that again.

If you're a person with healthy boundaries, you're able to say no, you're able to clearly communicate your wants and needs you, honor and respect your own needs.

you honor and respect your commitments.

You ring fence me time and you stick to your non negotiables.

Now, this is what I do now and it felt so bloody uncomfortable when I first did it is that I got my calendar out and I put in all my stuff first and then I put in everybody else's stuff second.

Now, I just want to be super clear.

I have two kids.

They're eight and nine years old.

Arthur's nine, Emily's eight.

So for things like that are on their calendars, like football on a Monday at 6 p.

m.

I'm not going to say, well, I'm doing a workout at that time, so I'm not backtracking, but I just want to be clear that there are, there's stuff that I can't move on the calendar.

So I'm kind of aware of that when I'm putting in my non negotiables.

So you have to also be realistic.

So let's say I know that Emily's got football on a Friday evening at five and Arthur's got taekwondo on a Saturday and Wednesday or whatever it is.

I have their stuff in the back of my mind when I'm doing it and I open up my calendar and things that are movable, things like in work, in, in, in all the other areas of my life that are movable.

I keep them off the calendar and I put my nonnegotiable times for my workouts and my thrive times and my hobbies and my connections and that's a lot.

But it's, it's a person living their life.

It's a person not being just identified by their work or just identified by their kids.

That's a person with a life something I haven't had for years.

And then I put in all my commitments to everybody else and all my work stuff and that's how I do my calendar.

So for you, I, this is how you're going to practice enforcing healthy boundaries.

If you, if you don't have any boundaries at the moment, there's three steps to getting in a boundary.

Number one, define the boundary.

What is it?

Number two, communicate the boundary to yourself and to everybody else.

And number three is to consistently uphold the boundary.

So just to give you a little example for your workouts, OK.

Number one, define your boundary.

Well, I want to work out three times per week at a set time with no interruptions.

OK?

What time might that be at?

I want to work out for 30 minutes at 7 a.

m.

Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Ok, you've defined your boundary step.

Number two.

Communicate the boundary.

Hey, Joe Arthur Emily at 7 a.

m.

on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

I'm going to be working out in the spare room.

I don't want any interruptions.

I want to be working out three times a week on these times.

Please don't bother me or hassle me.

It's really important that this time is left alone just for me.

Ok, consistently uphold the boundary.

So every single Friday at the end of every working week, I will look back on my week and go.

Right.

Ok.

I set the boundary.

I worked out at that time.

I didn't let anybody get in the way.

Ok.

Going forward, that's our boundary for next week.

So you're just consistently checking in with yourself to making sure you are upholding your boundary.

So here's how to practice enforcing healthy boundaries in five steps.

Number one, goal setting, ask yourself questions like what is the goal in setting this boundary or needing to get a boundary?

So your goal might be that you need more time to unwind, have connections in your life, have a hobby or work out.

Step.

Number two is to start small.

And I want to say now setting boundaries can be really difficult and uncomfortable, it can feel really hard.

I went from zero boundaries to so many boundaries like I have so many boundaries.

It's crazy.

And my husband Joe had, had, had it, took him a while to get used to it.

Like, what do you mean?

You can't XYZ you're going for a walk.

Yep.

I've got walk time.

Um, and, and everybody gets used to you not having boundaries.

You know, my mother calling and me answering the phone at any time of the day or my friend or my other family members or Joe.

No, no, no, I don't answer the phone here.

That's when I record my podcast episode.

But start small.

The key is to start small and focus on one boundary at a time.

I really want you to know I would have gotten an award if there was one going for the biggest people pleaser in the world.

So I really want you to know that if you're going, oh God, I can't, I can't, I can't set these boundaries.

You can, if I can do it, you can do it and we can do it together.

Number three is to be clear, focus on what you want as clearly as possible, which means to make it really simple.

The fourth step is to practice if, if thinking about setting a boundary makes you really nervous, write out what you want to say beforehand, practice it.

So before you speak to your boss or your husband or your wife or your friend, you have it practiced.

And the fifth step is to keep it simple.

So less is more with boundary setting don't overload somebody with too many details.

Just tell them the bare minimum, pick the main thing and focus on that.

Now remind her how to set healthy boundaries.

Three steps, define your boundary, communicate the boundary to everybody and consistently uphold the boundary.

So if you open up your Google calendar or a Sana or whatever it is that you use for your projects, I use a Sana.

I love it.

I have my calendar for the week in work.

I have so much to do in a week that I have to know what I'm doing in a day.

I have set things for Mondays right up until Fridays.

Um But in that calendar, I have my nonnegotiable me time.

So I have my walks and workouts on that calendar as time blocked out.

I also have the hobbies that I love to do.

I go out of the house and do hobbies like twice a week and I also meet friends twice a week.

Oh my God.

I can't believe this is me.

That's so exciting.

And I have that on the calendar.

And you know what it does initially, I was really nervous about having less time for work because all I've ever known is dedicating my whole day to work.

I mean, literally throughout COVID, I would start work at 8 a.

m.

and I would be doing an Instagram or tiktok live at 8 p.

m.

that evening.

Oh my God.

I have such compassion for that person.

Like, what was I thinking?

I, I just didn't know boundaries.

I just wanted to help people so much and I didn't understand the importance of taking care of myself anyway.

Um I really recommend you do that.

Just, just get it all in your calendar and worry about how you're going to do it later on.

So.

Oh yeah, that's what I want to say before I went off on a tangent that it'll force you to work smarter.

It forced me to work smarter when I decided that I was going to um go and meet a friend on a Friday morning, for example, for a dip in the sea, it meant that I had one hour less to do the work that I normally had one hour extra for.

So now on a Thursday, I really tightly plan my Friday so that when I get back from meeting my friend, um I know exactly what to do and I can just like work much smarter than maybe other Fridays where I had a bit more time and I was a bit more relaxed about it.

So don't be worried about a lack of time, just get everything that you want to do on your calendar and then figure out how to do it.

And that's why I love a Sana.

You can like move around your projects and tasks and things like that around on your calendar.

But whatever calendar it is that you use you get your time up on that calendar and then you watch your life transform, you'll have hobbies, you'll have connections, you'll work out, you'll have downtime and you'll also be a legend in your work because you will be using your time to the best of your ability.

It'll force you.

You might be not so great at it for the first couple of weeks, but it will force you to get really good at, at, for example, for me, it's like, ok, I've got to shoot a podcast episode at 2 p.

m.

I have no choice.

I have to show up to shoot this podcast episode at 2 p.

m.

If I'm feeling not into it, I have to still go for it.

So go for it.

Well, I hope you found this episode, this short little episode helpful on how to establish healthy boundaries.

If you're inconsistent, don't automatically think it's because you're lazy.

If you're inconsistent, don't automatically think it's anything to do with you other than the fact that you may just not have boundaries in place.

And a reminder to you that it is difficult to implement healthy boundaries, but don't let difficulty put you off.

It can feel really uncomfortable feeling like you have all this time for yourself in the week.

But if life isn't about having hobbies and connections and laughing and having fun, what is it about?

Are you a workhorse?

Do you want to just dedicate your whole time to chores and family and work because that was me for years.

And it's one of the reasons why I was so unhappy and anxious and stressed out and overweight and comfort eating and drinking.

How was it?

Once I started to put boundaries in place and put up with the feelings of discomfort.

It got really easy and I really feel I'm in my absolute prime.

I was desperate.

I was desperate.

I was desperate Only a year and a half ago.

I felt desperate.

Absolutely desperate in myself.

Really rotten, mental health, anxious, stressed out, overweight, bloated, turning to food the whole time for comfort.

So deeply unhappy, no friends isolated.

If I can do it, you can do it.

We do it together.

If you enjoyed this podcast episode, I would love for you to rate it or share it with a friend.

Just grab the share link and think, you know, I have a friend who needs to hear this right now.

Thank you so much for listening.

All my love and have a wonderful day.

I hope you enjoyed this podcast episode and you must let me know by getting in touch.

Don't forget you can head on over to Jessica Cook dot IE where you'll find lots of free stuff to get.

You started on your journey.

  • Thank you. I really enjoyed listening to this this morning. I totally get what you are saying and I am in the process of sorting my boundaries for myself.

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    About the author 

    Jessica Cooke

    I love drinking coffee, and my favourite thing in life (apart from my family) is to help women to get fit and break free from unhealthy habits holding them back. (oh, and also I love playing with my two Miniature Schnauzers, Buster and Ozzy)

    I’ve now supported over 6,779 women over 14 years in my Thrive Coaching Program get fit and break free from unhealthy habits!

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