Why your Boundary Setting fails & what you can do about it?

3️⃣ main reasons you might be struggling with boundary setting in your personal life more than work and what to do next.

Let’s dive straight in, a few weeks ago I decided to poll my Linkedin network to find out if what I was hearing from my clients and audiences was true for them too and in this post I’ll break down the results of those polls and share the 3 main reasons I believe you might be struggling to set boundaries and keep them in your personal life more than your work life.

Poll 1: What’s your experience like when it comes to setting boundaries for work?

Results of the poll:

48% set them and stuck to them

39% set them and bent them

13% felt guilty setting them

Poll 2: What’s your experience like when it comes to setting boundaries in your personal life?

Results of the poll:

14% set them and stuck to them

57% set them and bent them

24% felt guilty setting them

5% left a comment

Both polls had around the same number of votes, were up for 7 days and had similar reach and yes statistics can be used to tell whatever story you want, so for the benefit of this conversation let’s suspend any further data analysis and dive right into the 3 challenges that I see when it comes to boundary setting in our personal lives versus our work lives.

3 major reasons why work boundaries are easier to keep than personal life ones!


How you were raised, praised, reprimanded and by who has shaped the way you live today and the validation you seek.

The confirmation you want that you are a ‘good girl/boy/person’ is subconsciously driving why you do what you do, when you do it and who you do it for.

The moment you spot a pattern like this in action is the minute you can change it, tweak it or delete it from your ‘computer brain-cloud storage’ altogether.

I can’t talk about subconscious habits without touching on neuroscience, in 2021 I took the Neuroscience Professional Development Programme with Lynda Shaw PhD to better understand more about what goes on inside our brains.

Since my stroke (Feb 2012) I’ve been on a journey to know more about what happened to my own brain that day and found comfort in the knowledge that our brains can rewire themselves through out our lives, and even though a part of my brain died, new parts have flourished. They call this neuroplasticity something I now share with my clients and audiences.

CLICK HERE to hear me share my story on the On Air with Molly Dare Podcast, more interviews can also be found here.

I digress, in most cases the ‘need’ for validation stems from childhood* and plays out like a computer simulation until the day you see it for what it is – and begin to rewire your habits.


Q. How do you feel about saying NO?

I’m guessing your answer is it depends:

  • On what someone is asking you
  • On how you feel about the ask
  • On your ability to fulfil it
  • On your resources
  • On your energy levels
  • On the other responsibilities you have on at that time
  • AND it also depends who they are to you

Q. Is it easier to say NO to a stranger or a family member, to a boss or a colleague, to a child or a sibling?

Again, I hear you, it depends…!

The thing about confrontation, we can all give advice to someone about what we would do in a certain situation, but we’re not them, we don’t have their hot buttons and we’re not going to have to ‘manage’ their consequences.

HOMEWORK: Use these questions to self-coach yourself next time you’re in a situation where you want to say NO, but can’t quite seem to get the word out.

– What catastrophe do you believe will happen if you say no?

– How will it make you feel to say no to this person, opportunity, situation?

– What could happen if you say no both physically and mentally?

When it comes to confrontation, often the consequences we think are ‘much less dramatic’ when written out on paper.


There are many reasons why we bend our boundaries and scarcity tends to be one of the most common.

When we live with an abundance mentality, we believe that what’s for us will never pass us by, that if we say no to something today we will get another opportunity.

When we live with a scarcity mentality, we believe that this is our one and only chance and that if we say no today, we will never get another opportunity.

These mentalities are 2 sides of the same coin.

The reality you live in is based on the truth you believe.

How can one person manifest everything they want and another not?

One has the self worth to trust their decision making and to choose from self-love and the other decides from fear.

We all have the ability to be the person whose self-worth enables them to decide from abundance, it’s determined by what you believe.

HOMEWORK: Let your answers to the following questions marinade in the background of your life – notice how many times a day/week/month you go against what your own intuition wants you to do.

Question to Journal on:

Q. Have you ever said yes to something, that was really a no, because you were afraid you might not get the opportunity again?

Q. Have you ever said yes to something, because you needed the money, but you didn’t really have the time to do it?

Q. Have you ever said yes to something, because it’s your job and you didn’t feel comfortable saying no, you thought you might have been fired if you did?

Q. Have you ever said yes to something, that meant you had to prioritise work over your personal life?

Your answers to these questions are not a test, there is no right or wrong, everyone has to do what they have to do.

What next?

Does anything from what you’ve read ring true for you? If you’re ready to go deeper we have a free Boundary Setting Masterclass Training that you can take by CLICKING HERE and it comes with a downloadable workbook!

It’s Your Choice ⏰ It’s Your Time



Disclaimer: *Please seek the professional help you need where necessary. This article is not intended to be medical or professional advice it is the thoughts and opinions of a practitioner of life.

📸 Image Credit: Emily Chow

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