In a recent article, 3 Steps to Achieving a Better Divorce, I wrote about how important it is for people to be informed and proactive when going through the challenging time of a separation or divorce. I outlined a Three Step Formula to help you have a better divorce. In this three-part series, I will zero in on each of those steps, giving you more detail and direction so you can truly benefit from this formula.
The first step to achieving a better divorce is this:
Decide what you want your life to look like a year from now and then five years from now. Write it out in detail. I call this the “Big Picture” view.
Whether you’re just thinking about separating, are already separated, or you’re in the thick of the divorce process, this step is critical to your future. Doing this with thoughtfulness and intention will make a difference for you and your family. I guarantee it.
How will deciding what you want your life to look like a year from now and then five years from now help you? Here are a few ways:
- It will keep you focused on what’s really important to you so you can stay the course when there are aggravating bumps along the way, and there will be aggravating bumps along the way. There’s no way around this. But having the Big Picture view will keep you from going down those paths that will take you away from what you are really wanting. It will help you to “pick your battles,” as you realize that some things are just not worth fussing about.
- It will guide you to the right professionals for you. When you know what you are wanting to achieve through your divorce – emotionally, financially, relationally – you will find the professionals who can best support you in achieving that. When you don’t know what you want or how you want your life to look when it’s over, that’s when you get in trouble and your case can spiral out of control.
Now that you know the value of this step, how do you do it? Try these:
- Breathe, breathe, and breathe some more.
- Buy a new journal and some fun pens.
- Find a quiet place—a room in your house, the library, your office, Starbucks—any place where you can just be for 30 minutes or so without interruption.
- Write the following sentence in your journal: “A year from now, my life looks like . . . ,” and then describe your life in detail.
a. Where are you living?
b. What kind of work are you doing?
c. How are you children doing?
d. What kind of relationship do you have with your former spouse?
e. What kind of relationship do your children have with each of you?
- Then write the following sentence: “Five years from now, my life looks like . . . . ,” and answer all of the above questions again.
- Go back to your quiet place at least once a week and read what you have written, and make it bigger. Write more about it. The more detail the better.
Take the time to do this. It will set you on the path to a better divorce for sure, a better future for you and your family, and a more peaceful existence.
Stay tuned for Part II of this series – Get Informed!