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Do you ever reach a point where you just say to yourself “enough is enough. As of today, I’m making a change.”?
I think we all reach that point every now and again.
You could decide you need to stop going out so much.
Stop buying so many new clothes.
Reduce how much you eat out.
Cut down on your alcohol consumption.
Eat a little healthier.
Whatever that change is, it almost always involves setting some new boundaries to allow you to create a slightly new lifestyle for yourself.
Or, you could naturally be setting boundaries around your lifestyle as you gain more awareness in your spending and learn more about frugal living habits. These kinds of unconscious boundaries can include simple things like:
- Checking food labels when out shopping to find the cheaper brand
- Opting to walk or cycle rather than always driving
- Using up the very last of your toiletries and household products instead of throwing them out straight away
- Eating more meals at home
- Making more environmentally conscious changes (using a keep cup, bringing your own plastic bags, reducing how much meat you buy)
If you’re setting boundaries around your spending alone, either as a family or as an individual, you’ll no doubt have been met with resistance from the outside.
Oftentimes, creating new boundaries for yourself is taken as a reflection on other people’s lifestyles – and that doesn’t always go down well.
This kind of resistance inevitably results in one thing: having to say no to distractions that attempt to shift your boundaries back to your old lifestyle.
And having to say no results in guilt.
Setting Boundaries: It’s OK To Say No
If you’ve been trying to set boundaries, either with your spending or just in a general effort to protect yourself, you’ll no doubt have come into conflict with the people you’re trying to set those boundaries against.
Saying no can make all of us feel guilty.
Most of us are non-confrontational beings, and setting boundaries require confrontation to put those boundaries into effect in the first place.
If you’ve been struggling with feelings of guilt around the boundaries you’ve set with your spending, start with asking yourself the following questions:
- Why am I feeling guilty?
- Is this really guilt? Or is it jealousy, envy, anger, sadness, or something else entirely masquerading as guilt?
- Has – or will- my life improve with the boundaries I’m setting?
- What would I say to a friend setting the same boundaries I’m trying to set now?
Once you explore exactly why you’re feeling guilty, you’ll probably find it’s the feeling of letting someone else down that is affecting you more than the fact that you’re not doing something.
And when you realise that, you begin to understand just how much putting someone else’s feelings above your own can affect your lifestyle.
Your own feelings.
For most of us, dealing with guilt after setting spending boundaries is more to do with experiencing discomfort at a shift in our reality.
The thing is though, a little discomfort – a little guilt – is far better than regret. Looking back and regretting giving in, regretting shifting your values to suit someone else.
A little discomfort now is far better than looking back with regret when it’s too late.
How To Set Guilt-Free Boundaries
To minimise that discomfort, for now, you can focus on setting boundaries around your spending that only affect you, rather than everyone in your life.
Boundaries that only affect you will encounter the least resistance because you’re less likely to be seen to putting those boundaries on the people around you.
Once you’re more comfortable with the changes you’ve made for yourself – the people around you are more happy to accept that you’re doing things for you, not for anyone else.
Another good tip is don’t overwhelm yourself.
If you want to save money, for example, focus on one small change at a time.
Not only will you be able to set your boundaries more slowly, but you’re also more likely to create new habits that will stick.
But remember, you’re never going to make everyone happy.
If you’ve decided to make a change in your spending, it’s because it’s something you’ve decided is right for you.
You can’t ever make everyone happy – but you can make yourself happy.
Lead by example, smash your goals and create a life that works for you first.