When that happens to me – and it always does when I’m trying to break a habit – I know I need some secondary boundaries.
Secondary boundaries are boundaries you put in place to make it easier to follow your primary boundaries. Here’s how you come up with them: Take a look at your failures.
Are there any common situations that make you fail? What are you usually doing right before you break your boundaries? Can you think of any boundaries that would help you prevent that situation next time?
Here are a few examples of secondary boundaries:
Let’s say you’re in a serious relationship and your primary boundary is I’ll only kiss before marriage, but kissing is so fun it always leads to other things. Here are some possible secondary boundaries:
- No time alone together after 9:00.
- No time alone unless it’s in a public setting.
- No kisses that last longer than 15 seconds (yes, I know this is a funny one but I think it would work).
Let’s say your primary eating boundaries are three meals and one snack but you have a tendency to break all your boundaries in the evening while watching television. Here are some possible secondary boundaries:
- No eating while watching television.
- Can only have fruit or vegetable based desserts.
- No potato chips unless it’s a social occasion.
Too Much Time on the Internet
Let’s say your primary boundaries are three times on the Internet each day, but you have a tendency to break your boundaries in the evening. Here are some possible secondary boundaries:
- Record the time you get on the Internet and the time you get off the Internet every time you get on it.
- No Internet after 7:00.
- Sign up for an Internet accountability site such as Covenant Eyes, so someone else can see how often you’re on the Internet.
- Make a plan for every evening of how you’re going to spend your time.
Renew Your Mind
The sad thing about boundaries is that we’re prone to breaking them. When that happens, don’t beat yourself up. God is loving and compassionate. If you’ve sinned, confess your sin, and then put all your energy into renewing your mind.
If you renew your mind this time, you’ll be less likely to break your boundaries next time.
Question for your journal: Do you need some secondary boundaries?