“If not now, when? Go for what you want, or life will pass you by.” – Beth Lemke
Your divorce is final, now what? You are untethered by the bonds of marriage, no longer restricted to a life of compromise. You are no longer the person you used to be and you want a life that reflects the person you are now.
Here are 5 tips to help you usher in a new era of independence and reinvent yourself after divorce.
1. Do Some Soul-Searching:
The period just after the finalization of your divorce is an optimal time for self-reflection. Begin by asking yourself, “Who am I and what do I want from life?” Your divorce ended a chapter and you get to decide what’s next. Journaling, listing your interests and crafting a dream board can help you brainstorm and visualize what the next chapter of your life looks like. No idea is too far-fetched, too superficial, or too outlandish. End by using those ideas to draft a personal manifesto that addresses every aspect of your life. Start each sentence with “I AM” and follow those two powerful words with every hope and dream you can imagine for yourself.
2. Set Specific Goals & Start Now:
You know what you want, but what does it take to get there? Set detailed goals and break them down into smaller steps. If you would like to return to college, identify the college you want to attend and the process to apply. Arm yourself with enough knowledge to begin working toward your goals, but don’t get paralyzed in the planning stages. Dreams cannot be realized without action. Whether you choose to start big or small, start now.
Do not worry about how it will all come together. Once you start pursuing your dreams, you will be amazed at how easily doors begin to open. Your only job is to stay focused on where you want to be in 6 months, 1 year and 5 years from now.
3. Ask For What You Want:
You have to be assertive in order to get what you want in life. It is not easy to unlearn passive behavior, but you must be your own advocate. You no longer have a spouse to do it for you. Whether you need professional tax advice, mentor-ship, or emotional support, you have to clearly communicate your wants and needs to others. Eliminate the guessing game and give those around you the opportunity to get it right the first time.
Every area of your life will benefit due to your new-found ability to ask for what you want. You will find that you are no longer willing to settle for less, whether you are on a date, negotiating a purchase, or asking for a promotion. Each situation will give you the opportunity to increase your awareness about what it is you truly want.
4. Believe You Can:
Change begins with the right attitude. You have to believe in yourself before anyone else will. Your marriage may have been emotionally destructive, and the process of divorce may have obliterated what little self-esteem you had left, but you are not hopeless. Actively work on re-building your confidence. Take time each day to reflect on your positive attributes, be kind to yourself and work on eliminating negative self-talk. Contact a professional counselor, if you need to work through emotional trauma from your past. Eventually, you can learn how to love yourself and have faith that you can accomplish whatever you work hard enough to achieve.
5. Respect Your Progress:
Don’t diminish your progress, or engage in self-sabotage. Change can feel scary and uncomfortable. But, you will never see the fruit of your labor, if you do not push past the fear and get out of your comfort zone. When you feel yourself reverting to defeatist behavioral patterns, stop and reflect on where you are now in life. Chances are you have come a long way. Keep a running list of every goal you reach to review on the days you lack motivation.
Recognize and reward yourself for every accomplishment on your list, large and small. Embrace an attitude of gratitude and celebrate having the courage and freedom to pursue what you want in life. For that act alone, you already won.