Well, it’s already the second week of January and all those resolutions you vowed to stick with last week may have already been thrown to the wayside.

If that’s the case, don’t panic or be hard on yourself.

But that is not an excuse to just throw your hands up, give up, call it a day, and resign yourself to the fact that you’ll never fully recover from divorce. Or become financially secure. Or quit feeling guilty. Or take better care of yourself. Or quit living in the past.

But there is one small thing you can do to stick to your resolutions.

Start small.

It sounds simple, but it’s not easy. And when we’re looking to change what we don’t like in our lives, especially during divorce, starting small can seem kinda worthless. But I’ll tell you why it’s absolutely crucial.

Starting small means you will no longer be overwhelmed and hard on yourself when you’re trying to reach a big goal.

Let’s break this down. 

Say, for example, you want to move the hell on from your divorce. That’s pretty admirable, but impossible to obtain if you don’t get more specific. So, let’s see what starting small looks like.

Instead of This Big But Overwhelming Goals: I want to move on.

Try These Small Steps Instead:

  1. Define what moving on means to you…and be specific!
  2. Break it down into categories
  3. List those small objectives in each category
  4. The more specific the things you list, the more tangible the tasks become
  5. Focus on just doing one of these tasks today. Then repeat tomorrow with a different task. And the day after.

Let’s see what starting small means when it’s put into action:

  1. Define what “moving on” means. If you can’t be specific, there’s no way in hell you can attain it. So, let’s take a crack at defining it for ourselves
    1. Moving on means being independent, regaining confidence, not feeling stuck, and not living in the past
  2. Break it into categories
    1. Independence
    1. Confidence
    1. Getting Unstuck
    1. Not living in past
  3. List smaller, more tangibles objectives in each one of these categories
    1. Independence—this can mean a lot of things to a lot of people, but for now, but many of you have said this means financial independence, so let’s drill down on that
      1. Financial Independence…what does it mean to you?
        1. Moving Out and getting your own home
        1. Re-entering the workplace
        1. Formulating your own budget on your income alone
    1. Confidence…what does it mean to you?
      1. Learning how to say “no” when I’m overwhelmed
      1. Learning to be okay with being single
      1. Establishing better boundaries with my family
      1. Strengthening my support system
      1. Taking better care of myself
  • Repeat these steps with Not Feeling Stuck and Not Living in the Past. Make a list of what those mean to you.
  • The more specific things you list, the more tangible they become. Remember, Specific=Tangible
    • Now that you’ve started to break down these task, pick one—just one—that you can start working on. Many of you have mentioned how hard it is to deal with loneliness and feeling like you don’t have a good support system, so let’s hone in on that for a second. If you can’t remember were we listed it, it’s #4 under the Confidence section. Here’s what it will look like:
      • Strengthening my support system
        • What does that mean to me? List the ways you would like to strengthen your support system. A good place to start is the following:
          • Do an internet search today to see what type of divorce support groups are in your area
          • Go to meetup.com and see what groups they have that you would be interested in—book clubs, hiking, learning to dance, the list is endless. Pick one today to research and RSVP to one of their events
          • Call up one of your friends today to talk.
          • Go to a class at your gym. Say hello to three people and ask who they’re doing.
  • Focus on doing just one task today. Then repeat with a different task tomorrow. Then repeat the day after.
    • What small thing are you going to work on today?
    • One of my goals this year is to establish a more person-to-person presence of Surviving Your Split in my city. So today, I will sign up to two wellness networking events.
    • And tomorrow, I will make a list of the business in my town who may be interested in working together.
    • How about you? J

The purpose of this exercise is not to make you feel overwhelmed, and is not to send the message that “holy shit omigod I thought I just had five things to do and now I have infinity things to worry about! To hell with trying to attain any type of goal, I’m never going to get anywhere!”

All you need to do is start small. Think of the big goals you have, then break them into tiny, bite-sized pieces. And do just one of those. And it may not seem like much, but I promise you, the more consistent  you are with doing the manageable bite-sized stuff, the faster and easier it will be to attain those big overarching goals.

Before you know it, those New Year’s “to-do’s” will become “have-dones,” with no problem.