Do you find it hard to say no when your friends ask you out but you know you should be studying? Do you find it hard to turn off the computer or telephone when you should be studying? You need to set some boundaries. We teach people how to treat us. There is a saying: 'Don't make yourself a mouse, or the cat will eat you.' In other words, people will treat you depending on how you act and respond to their demands. If you continually give in to your friends when you know that you should be doing your homework, they will always expect you to do so. One way of ensuring you are respected is to set boundaries. Boundaries are imaginary lines that you place around yourself for protection. In relation to exams, they will help protect you from the temptation of not studying. It's important that you stick to these boundaries and learn to say 'no' to people when you feel like a boundary is about to be crossed. It's hard to say no to friends who want you to hang out with them. It's hard to say no to MSN, TV, video games and other distractions in your life. By setting boundaries, you'll be prepared and will not be put on the spot when someone wants to spend time with you. It is OK to spend time with friends and watch TV - the key is to set yourself healthy timeframes for each area of your life. Examples of healthy boundaries Let your friends know the latest time they can talk to you on the phone or internet. Set limits on what time you will come home on the weekend so you are not too tired the next day to study. Ask your parents what their expectations are. Knowing their expectations can support you in sticking to your timetable. Be a friend who doesn't distract others from their studies by calling them or messaging them. Talk to your friends about their boundaries as well so you can support each other in setting good boundaries. A good friend will let you get your work done, not distract you. Make it a game. Prove to yourself that you can set and stick to your boundaries. Your efforts will pay off.