Steps To Setting Healthy Boundaries

Updated December 28, 2022by BetterHelp Editorial Team

We all may have limitations in life when it comes to our interactions with those around us. These limits, known as boundaries, can prevent people from poorly affecting our mental or physical health by letting them know what they are and are not allowed to do when they engage with us. However, with that said, not everyone knows how to identify or set boundaries.

Are You Having Trouble With Your Boundaries?

Why Can Setting Boundaries Be Necessary?

Personal boundaries may be established when we decide to respect ourselves and give ourselves a voice. They are essentially our rules that can tell other people what lines they should not cross when it comes to what they say and do with us.

If you do not set healthy boundaries in relationships, no matter who the relationship is with, the relationship might have problems. It can be vital that each person in a relationship recognize that they are an individual with their own emotions, preferences, and needs. Once you define your needs and preferences, you can set healthy boundaries. Below, we will take a look at some steps you can take to set healthy boundaries, including how to set boundaries with family.

Steps To Setting Your Personal Boundaries

Boundaries may be among the most powerful tools for healthy relationships. Often, individuals might give in to peer pressure or involve themselves in situations they don’t honestly want to be in. This can be either because they have not set boundaries or they are struggling to understand their boundaries.

Step 1: Identify Your Wants

The first step in setting boundaries can be to identify what you want. You may be used to giving to others or neglecting your own wants in favor of someone else’s. Take a moment to think about what interests you and what you might want to get out of a relationship. For example, consider the following:

  • What is most important to you when you enter into a relationship (romantic or friendly)?

  • What are some of your values, and what values do you want someone you are close with to have?

  • What do you want most in life?

  • What bothers you the most in a relationship?

Step 2: Give Yourself Permission to Ask for What You Want --Be Specific!

Now that you have identified your wants, it may be time to ask for them. This is sometimes one of the biggest problems that individuals may encounter because they might feel afraid to ask for what they want. This fear can come from worrying that the other person will become upset or mad. If you are ready to set boundaries, you must face this fear. The more you do it, the easier it can get.

The second part of this step is to be clear about what you want. Often, people might not be clear enough, which can cause confusion. Setting personal boundaries is not about changing others. You do not want to ask anyone else to change, but you want to make sure you voice your wants as clearly as possible.

Step 3: Don’t Apologize For Setting Reasonable Boundaries

Your boundaries are essential, and one of the reasons people might compromise their boundaries is because they might feel guilty when they make a request. So you want to learn to ask for what you want without letting guilt get in the way. Remember: you deserve it, and you are the one in control!

Step 4: Avoid Expectations

Expectations can cause you to feel down, and they might build up hope for something that may not happen. When you ask someone for something you want, you should do so without becoming too attached to the outcome. If you expect someone else to handle your wants and needs for you, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment later on.

Step 5: If the Answer Is No, That Means No

While it would be nice to hear the word “yes” every time you ask for something, it does not always happen. You will not always get precisely what you want. Regarding healthy boundaries in a relationship, the goal is to ask for what you want clearly rather than simply receiving a “yes” answer. If someone says no to your request, you should respect their boundaries and accept that the answer is no.

Are You Having Trouble With Your Boundaries?

When people struggle to set healthy boundaries, the problem can sometimes be traced back to their family of origin. Therefore, family systems therapy can be helpful for individuals who hope to learn to distinguish their own wants, needs, and sense of self from those of others. Family systems therapy is usually used to treat entire families. 

The Benefits Of Online Therapy

As discussed above, therapy can be an effective way to work on setting healthier boundaries. But with today’s busy schedules, finding the time to attend in-person therapy can be difficult. This is where online therapy can help. In addition, online therapy typically offers lower pricing than in-person therapy because online therapists don’t have to pay for costs like renting an office. BetterHelp’s licensed therapists have helped people set healthier boundaries before. Read below for some reviews of BetterHelp therapists from people experiencing similar issues.

Counselor Reviews

“Just starting my council sessions with Dr Foote. So far, the sessions have been helpful, and productive. She is very insightful, and professional. I would recommend her to anyone needing help managing the boundaries of their relationships.”

“Dr. Perez had helped me build up my communication skills with friends and family while also drawing healthy boundaries and working through my hectic emotions. I feel like I can set goals and actually stick to them now, and the bad days are easier to manage.”


By setting and respecting your own boundaries, you may notice a big difference in how you behave and how others treat you. And if you need help setting boundaries, reach out to BetterHelp online counseling. 

Online counseling is effective, according to various clinically reviewed studies, and it can make a big difference. After getting in touch with BetterHelp, you will answer a few questions to be matched with a therapist who is unique to your needs.

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