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Setting Goals and Boundaries - Challenge #1



Better Said newsletter 001

Read time: 6 minutes

Topics covered: Assertive Communication, Setting Boundaries, Goal Setting


Happy New Year! 🎉 


Let's dive straight into 2024 with some energy and a game plan to conquer our goals. This month, I'm kicking things off with a topic close to my heart (and sanity) - assertive communication and setting healthy boundaries.


I already had this newsletter planned but my first client meeting of the year coincidently lined up perfectly with the topic. We got to not only discuss the business goals but also the more meta goals for his team - how the team can grow and ideally operate by the end of the year. You can read about it here! 


We all know the benefits of setting goals; it gives us direction and purpose as we move through our daily lives, helping us remember what is important in our lives. But what does assertive communication and healthy boundaries have to do with it?


You have 366 days in 2024 (leap year!), and 24 hours in each of those days. No matter how productive and efficient you may be, the ability to prioritize your most important goals requires recognizing when and how to say no.


TL;DR


Your goals are important. To protect them and make sure you have the time and energy to protect them you need to define them then consciously decide if tasks are aligned or worthy of doing. 


This week's challenge: Set your long term goals for the year (30 min) & Review the boundary checklist in the morning or evening (1 min).


 The Power of Assertive Communication


You've probably heard of assertive communication but it's a a new year and time for a refresh. 


Scale of Passive to aggressive
Where do you lean?


Assertive communication on the scale is between Passive and Aggressive. 


Passive means you let others walk all over you while aggressive mean you are doing the walking. 


Assertive communication is expressing positive & negative ideas and feelings in an open, honest and direct way. At the same time, it also:


  • Recognises our rights while still respecting the rights of others.

  • Allows us to take responsibility for ourselves and actions without judging or blaming others.

  • Allows us to constructively confront and find a mutually satisfying solution where conflict exists.


That means when we ask someone to do something, we aren't walking in with the EXPECTATION that they will. They have to be comfortable saying no and you have to be able to walk away from that situation not getting what you asked for. 


Setting Goals


Before we can figure out when to say no, we need to know what is important to us. 


Enter - Goals.


I like to start of setting some goals for myself, things that are important to me and that when push comes to shove, I refuse to compromise on. There are hundred of methods. Here is a list to get you started if you have the time, if you don't I have a simple list that I personally keep for myself that I'll explain below.



Erika's Goal Setting


I have 4 areas of my life that I break it down into. You may have more or less give my breakdown a look and see where your life is similar and where it differs. 


  • Self - This includes my physical, mental, and emotional health. 

  • Professional - My business and career. Also my side hobby of podcasting.

  • Friends & Family - Near or far the people I care most about.

  • Relationship - You may put this under friends and family but I keep it separate because the effort and time I put into this relationship is different. 


Once you have a breakdown of the areas you'll likely be able to see more of what you need in one part of your life to work for the other parts of your life to work. It's all interconnected but don't get overwhelmed! It's okay that there is a lot that you care about, that means you are living a purposeful life. 


Now write down some goals you would like to happen in each part of your life. Don't limit yourself due to fear or because it could never happen. You are setting goals, NOT figuring out how to get there. 


Here is a sample of my goals for this year:


  • Self - Explore new forms of exercise (ie pilates, dance) to energize my dull workout schedule. 

  • Self - Cut down on consumerism by making my own clothing rather than buying. Exceptions for shoes and structural clothing.

  • Self - Work on hormonal imbalances to improve mental and emotional health.

  • Professional - Unlock the secrets of marketing to gain new clients I'm excited to work with. Think of it as a challenge rather than a chore.

  • Professional - Write weekly articles to improve SEO and refine my methods. 

  • Professional - Release weekly podcast episodes on the new season of Self-Help Junkie. Season 2 is on motivation, inspiration and finding purpose in life. 

  • Friends and Family - Make an effort to arrange group hang outs and day-trips.

  • Relationship - Reinstate monthly check-ins to ensure open and honest communication.

  • Relationship - Plan dates and celebrations to break our routine. 


You may have noticed, I don’t have the same number of goals in each group and this is fine! You don’t have to hit a certain number and your goals and priorities will change throughout the year but this will help you guide your planning right now. 


Practical Steps for Implementing Boundaries


Now that you know what is important to you, you need to fortify those walls. Like I said earlier you only have a set amount of time (and energy) so you need to carve out time in your year to get these things done. 


Task whether they are assigned, requested or self-appointed have a way of sneaking onto your To-Do list until suddenly you are drowning, up until 2 in the morning wondering what you really accomplished in your day. 


Get into the practice of critically thinking about if you should be taking something on.


Daily Checklist for Boundary Setting:


  1. Is this task directly aligned with your current priorities and goals?

  2. Do you have the necessary time and resources to complete this task effectively?

  3. Is taking on this task consistent with your role and responsibilities?

  4. Will accepting this task contribute significantly to your personal or professional growth?

  5. Does this task fall within your expertise, or will it require extensive learning and adaptation?

  6. Are you the most suitable person to handle this task, or could someone else perform it more efficiently?

  7. Will accepting this task compromise your well-being, work-life balance, or existing commitments?

  8. Does saying yes to this task align with your long-term career objectives?

  9. Have you considered alternative ways to support or contribute without taking on the full task?

  10. Can you communicate your boundaries assertively if taking on this task is not advisable for you at this time?


This isn’t a quiz where if you answer yes a number of times, you have to shut the task out of your life. It is a way for you to become more conscious of the decisions you are making. Are you willing to sacrifice your mental health, your relationship with your loved ones or your professional growth for this task? If yes, do so WITHOUT GUILT. 


This week’s challenge:


  • Set your long term goals for the year (30 min)

  • Review the boundary checklist in the morning or evening (1 min)


Remember, you're not just reading a newsletter; you're joining a squad of go-getters ready to conquer 2024. Let's make it the best year yet!

Cheers to assertive communication, healthy boundaries, and a year filled with victories!

--

Thanks for reading issue 001 of my weekly Better Said newsletter.


For those of you who are new to my newsletter, Better Said, discusses the following three goals: (1) Elevating crucial soft skills, (2) Reaching career milestones, and (3) Creating ethical leadership.


Here’s how we can stay in touch:


1. You can find me on LinkedIn and on my website, bettersaid.org

2. If you are curious about working with me, you can book a free consultation where I will help you outline your goals and co-create a growth action plan with you whether or not we decide to work together. 

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