Top Five Goal Setting Tips For Divorce

Divorce can be confusing, upsetting and chaotic. Riding the waves of the emotional roller coaster can make you feel like you have no idea what might come next. Because we aren't always clear on what we really want, it becomes easy to fall into the trap of fighting over things we don't even care about! 

Understanding our goals for divorce, our family and our future can be essential for keeping your head above the rising tide. I've created my top five goal setting tips for divorce to help you get started.

Tip No. 1: Start with a Vision
Although your initial vision for your life may  have changed, you can use your divorce as a chance to reframe the picture - just how you want it. Before writing out any goals, make sure you know what you want your life to look like a year from now, five years from now and ten years from now. Sure, getting re-married may be off the table for you right now. But, dare yourself to dream a little. If you are having trouble, simply write out all the different areas of your life and imagine your highest vision for each area: Physical Environment, Health, Career, Fun and Leisure, Romance, Money, Personal Growth, and Family and Friends.

Tip No. 2: Break down your goals
Just like we might have a different vision for each of the different areas of our life, we probably have different goals when it comes to divorce. Divide up the different areas that divorce covers and ask yourself what your goals are for each area (financial, parenting time, property division). For example, when considering your financial goals, you might say that your goal is to be financially stable while working only part-time so that you can be home with the children five more years. Knowing your goal will help your lawyer to create a plan where you might be able to achieve that.

Tip No. 3: Rank your priorities
After writing out your goals, you might notice (for example) that your goal of having your spouse be involved in your children's life is in conflict with your goal of having the children spend every night in your household. When you rank your priorities, you can clearly see the conflicts and be flexible in the areas with lower priorities. 

Tip No. 4: Make your goals SMART
We want to achieve all our goals, right? When setting personal goals, such as "I will be financially independent within one year after my divorce", make sure the goals are SMART:

  • Specific.  In order to be achievable a goal must be clear and unambiguous.  In other words you know exactly what your goal is and how to do it;
  •  Measurable.  There must be concrete criteria for measuring progress.  Typically, a measurable goal will include some sort of quantity: How much? How many? How will I know when I am done?
  •  Achievable.  A goal must be something that is completely within your control and doable.  If you have to rely on some outside source or person in order to be able to complete the goal then it would not be achievable (Examples would be things out of your control would be things like waiting on your husband to finish certain paperwork, or relying on acts of God);
  •  Realistic.  Is this something you will be able to accomplish within your time frame?  If your goal is to find a full time job in one month and you have not worked in several years, it might not be realistic for you to say that you find a perfect full time job within a month.  Make it something you can do in order to achieve positive results.
  • Time-Based.  Action steps should be grounded in a specific time frame or be time based.  If, for example, you want to sell the house in the divorce, provide a time frame within which you believe you can accomplish this goal.  Not only will it help with providing realistic possibilities, but it will help you better negotiate the terms of your marital settlement agreement if you come to the negotiation table with clearly defined parameters.

Tip No. 5: Be Realistic and Be Flexible
It is important to remember that even if we feel fully justified in the goals we've set, that they be realistic. Even if we think our spouse deserves to be destitute and homeless, the likelihood of us achieving that goal isn't very high. In order to avoid a lengthy battle, we want to set goals we are likely to achieve. It's also a good idea to remain flexible. Even if you can't see how something is going to work out right now, allowing for some flexibility in our goals helps us to achieve that bigger vision we created of a better life.

Still Stuck? Here are some great questions to ask yourself when setting goals. 

(1) What kind of divorce process do I want? 

(2) What type of parent do I want to be? What kind of parenting relationship do I want to have with my ex?

(3) Where and how will I live?

(4) What do I want my home life to look like? 

(5) What do I need so that my physical, emotional and spiritual needs are met? 

(6) Who can support me during this difficult time? What ties do I need to cut?

If you have any additional questions, or would like to be supported during your divorce process by a coach, please email me at linda@lindamperry.com. Or click here to set up a time with me today!