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Divorce is A Shit Sandwich

(Because it is, right?!)

Have you set goals for your divorce? (Don’t worry – I assume “Get it the hell over with,” is already on the list! 🤣)

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while (I’m so glad you’re here!), you know the tools I share are all designed to help you engage your strengths so you can confidently navigate divorce and move toward a life you’ll love. Over and over, I see how much easier it is for anyone mired in “must-do’s” to get through them when they see a light at the end of the road – even if it’s not very bright yet.

How do you focus forward when everything feels so overwhelming? Two tools.

The first is your divorce mission statement, which I wrote about last week. If you haven’t read that yet, check it out. It’s a great compliment to this step. Both goal setting and a mission statement can seem like “extras” when time and energy are in short supply, but I see both exercises as foundational tools in your recovery. They’re so useful that creating a divorce-specific mission statement and goals are two of the first things I like to do when I start working with someone new.


Because just like work goals, divorce goals help keep you accountable, focused, and can motivate you to make good choices, find optimism, and shift your perspective. Once you’ve created your mission statement you can use it as the foundation from which you create three to five specific, divorce-related goals that you write down and consistently refer to.

To create meaningful goals, have your mission statement handy if you have one, and start with these questions:

  • How do you want to feel when you look back on this time?
  • How will your actions during this time inspire others?
  • How do you want to model dealing with difficult times for your children and others?
  • Who are you when you are at your best?
  • What is a bigger purpose you can see for yourself?
  • What values are important to you and guide your choices?
  • As you look ahead to the next chapter, what have you learned about yourself from this experience?

Give yourself the time and space to write them down and think about what feels most important and authentic to your situation. As a  Forbes article about the neuroscience of goals notes,

“Writing things down doesn’t just help you remember, it makes your mind more efficient by helping you focus on the truly important stuff. And your goals absolutely should qualify as truly important stuff.”

Once you’ve got goals that feel right, put them to the test! When you have a big decision to make, evaluate your choices using your goals. What will help you get there? Are there other choices you can make that might create a different / better / more fulfilling outcome?

Here are a few sample goals clients and I have created. Use them if you like or build on them to write new ones!

  • Establish a healthy co-parenting relationship with my ex
  • Be present and available to my children
  • Take the high road in all communication about the divorce
  • Don’t badmouth my ex to our children
  • Create healthy boundaries
  • Be an active listener
  • Speak up for myself
  • Reengage in an old hobby, or pursue a new interest

Finally, think about how you’ll hold yourself accountable. Don’t overlook this important step, as it will help you get from aspiration to action. Here are a few examples you’re welcome to borrow.

  • Use a coparenting app to minimize confrontational interactions
  • Create messages to share with friends and family
  • Create a mantra to remind me of my strengths
  • Ask for support to meet my divorce goals
  • Reduce stressors in my life where possible, including go on a walk or get some form of exercise every day
  • Keep a journal
  • Others?

Finally, give yourself grace as you work toward these goals. You’ll make mistakes along the way but that, too, is part of the process. Remember that you deserve a life you love. You CAN be BETTER on the other side.

👉🏽 BTW, you don’t have to do it all alone! If you want a jumpstart to get unstuck and create a personalized plan, including your mission and goals, book a #DivorceGoals session: a single, one-on-one 90-minute power session to help navigate this time with confidence and clarity. 💪🏼 💝

Do you have a tough question? Ask away. I’ll find the right experts to weigh in and make sure you’re getting the input you need.

Q: I’ve been divorced for more than a year but I am still grieving and sometimes feel overwhelmed by sadness. Shouldn’t I be feeling better at this point?

I hear this question so often! Society is so good at telling us how we “should” feel, and what an “appropriate” timeline should be for getting through any number of difficult situations.

The truth is, we all heal differently. It can be so demoralizing to feel stuck in something when you want to move through it. Here are a few things to try.

  • It may seem counterintuitive, but let yourself feel the grief, the sadness and overwhelm. It could be that your body is resisting your efforts to move past this because you haven’t fully processed it yet. If that feels true, dig into that to get clarity on what you need to process so you can move forward when the time is right.
  • One tool I love is “scheduling” your emotions. Set a timer and let yourself cry, yell or punch a pillow during the designated time (try starting with 15 minutes/day). When the timer ends, move to an activity that takes your focus and energy. If you start to go back to those feelings see if you can tell yourself you’ll get to live in those feelings again the next day.
  • Start a journal. There are wonderful prompts if you’re struggling with what to write. Studies consistently show that writing is a powerful way to get through difficult times.
  • Set some long- and short-term goals. Who do you want to be in a year? What’s something you can do today and this week that you will enjoy?

If you can, engage a professional such as a coach or therapist to help you make a plan that includes small, meaningful steps toward the next chapter of your life. But there is no “right” timeline. Try to be patient with yourself and remember that an amazing future is out there for you, and you deserve it.

For help creating goals check out this week’s blog post and download my free workbook here.

      Here I’ll share some of the books, websites, podcasts and experts to help make your journey a little less shitty!

      As you’ve heard me say, one of the positive aspects of divorce is the opportunity it creates for intentional transformation. If you’re looking for a way to understand old patterns and move thoughtfully toward new goals, Atomic Habits will help you get motivated and create the small but important changes to help you succeed.

      I am a corporate communications VP turned Certified Divorce Coach, and I created the Better Than Before Divorce™️  program for those early in the divorce process who want to reduce the impact of divorce on themselves and their children, minimize conflict and come out BETTER on the other side. Throughout my career I have worked to help executives, teams and individuals communicate succinctly, with clarity, intention, and impact, and I love using these skills to provide support and confidence to women and men tangled in the web of divorce.

      My Better Than Before Divorce™️ clients benefit from my 25+ years of experience in crisis communications, branding and marketing, as well as my calm strength and commitment to tangible results. I am also a trained mediator, I’ve completed Colorado’s Collaborative Divorce Level I and II trainings, and I have a bachelor’s degree in psychology and an M.S. in Organizational Dynamics from the University of Pennsylvania.

      I hope you found this information useful. Please share your feedback HERE anytime, and visit the rest my website, betterthanbeforedivorce.com, for more information on private coaching, or the Better Than Before Divorceonline course.