New Life? Time For New Changes

During a divorce, the family, friends, and home you’ve invested your life in are often swept away in a tsunami of change. Or, these aspects of your life may be altered significantly. When your life is running through your fingers faster than you can catch it, it’s easy to feel frightened and angry about the loss of control. One of the places we feel this loss of control the most is in our daily routines. Bedtimes, exercise routines, and eating patterns can all go through big changes. Rather than focusing on what you’ve lost, take Harrison Ford’s advice: “We all have big changes in our lives that are more or less a second chance.”

The second chance of divorce gives us an opportunity to take the things we’ve learned about ourselves and create a new life that we really, really love. Creating a juicy life involves thinking through the things that are important to us and then setting up systems so our new life reflects those values. Creating and using 10 Delicious Daily Habits can help you stay focused as you develop this new life. Here are tips for developing 10 Delicious Daily Habits.

1. Start by developing some habits to comfort yourself.

The U. S. Surgeon General reports that about 30 to 40 percent of those undergoing divorce experience an increase in depression and anxiety. “Often, people numb out as a way to avoid the pain. They might abuse alcohol, sex, or stuff themselves with food. Be aware of what you’re doing and ask yourself, What’s the feeling I’m avoiding? What do I need that feels and tastes like a cookie?” says certified life coach Tara Padua.

If you don’t deal with your emotional needs, they will drive your life. Plus, the fact that other people notice that you’re unraveling can make you feel even more out of control. So, check in with yourself and ask: What are three things that make me feel safe, secure and comforted? For some, that’s talking to a good friend; for another, that’s sitting quietly at church; or maybe it’s playing with the dog or listening to good music.

For some, it might be balancing the checkbook because when they know they are in charge of their finances and have money in the bank they feel at the helm of their own security ship. That can be very comforting in the financial turmoil that usually accompanies a divorce!” says Cheryl Richardson, bestselling author of Life Makeovers: 52 Practical and Inspiring Ways to Improve Your Life One Week at a Time. Richardson was featured in Oprah’s Lifestyle Makeovers series.

After you’ve written your comfort measures list, seek out people you respect who take incredible care of themselves and ask them for tips. Then assemble a comfort kit so you’ll have everything at your fingertips. For example, if one of your comfort measures is taking a nice bath by candlelight, stock up on candles and bath salts so they’re ready when you need them.

2. Allow change.

Sometimes we’re reluctant to develop new habits because that means we’re leaving the old ones behind. Divorce requires us to transition from one life to another. “Sometimes, we’re so busy holding on to all the pieces that are pulling us in different directions, we forget we’re going through a transition. What’s been in place is breaking apart so there’s opportunity for new life if you chose to create it,” says Padua.

3. Choose only habits that you want. Never select things that you should do.

Decide to stop shoulding on yourself. Should is about what other people think. What do you think? Going through a divorce is a great time to achieve greater integrity by choosing to live your life authentically. “Maybe one reason the marriage didn’t work is you acted on what you should do. Dig down deep and figure out what it is that rings your chimes and put those things into your habits. You’ll be happier. Like attracts like. The better we treat ourselves, the better partner we’re going to attract,” says Richardson.

4. Choose habits that give you energy.

Life is about energy. Some situations give us energy. Others suck it out of us. Divorce sucks. So, fill that vacuum by developing habits that leave you with more energy. Delicious daily habits that actually add to your wellbeing, for example, would be eating a big salad every day or stop eating after 7 p.m. or watching television until midnight. Ask how your energy level is every day. If you find yourself dragging, it’s time to pull out one of those habits.

5. Keep your habits simple.

Don’t set yourself up for failure by making this a big, expensive deal. Delicious habits cost little in terms of time, money and energy but yield big results in terms of happiness. They can be as simple as taking a shower and making your bed every day. These are often huge accomplishments in the early days of your divorce when all you feel like doing is crawling under the blanket. Ask what do I need to grow, blossom and flourish?” says Padua.

6. Make a List.

Thank one person.

Eat a healthy breakfast.

Read a book you want to read.

Spend an hour with my children.

Go to the gym.

Walk three miles each morning.

Read the newspaper.

Meditate for 20 minutes.

Take my vitamins.

Handle one thing I have to do.

7. Set your day up so there’s a logical flow to the habits.

For example:

Morning — Take a walk; make my bed; take my vitamins.

During the day — Do three things on my to-do list; listen to great music; commit to 20 minutes on a project.

Before bed — Write the next day’s to-do list; talk with a good friend; record in my gratitude journal at least three great things that happened today.

One of the benefits of organizing your habits is if part of the day is crazy, you’ve always got habits you can plug into later in the day. If your morning routine was off, you can catch up by doing your mid-day habits. If the whole day fell apart, you always have your bedtime routine. The point is, these habits aren’t all or none. Once you have a sense of how you’d like to fit your habits in, create a tracking system to support your habits.

8. Modify your habits as you wish.

It takes some fine-tuning to have the 10 habits that work best for you, so if you find yourself not doing one of two of your habits, change or replace them with ones which come naturally.

9. Make self-care a priority.

Put time in your schedule for your habits. Use ink. Every time we neglect ourselves, we commit an act of self-betrayal. That whittles away at our ability to trust ourselves. Knowing you can trust yourself to take care of yourself is a big issue. Many carry the belief that their spouse and marriage is going to take care of them for rest of life. The person who is primarily responsible for you is you. Self-trust allows you to feel stable and secure as you navigate the rocky waters of divorce,” says Richardson. “So, get help keeping yourself accountable. Ask good friends to ask you once a day, ‘what did you do for yourself today?'”

10. Be patient.

Developing new habits takes time. Experts suggest you develop one new habit at a time. If you try to start too many at once, you’ll set yourself up for failure. Most experts say it takes between 21 and 30 days for a habit to become firmly established. So, start with the one habit you think will give you the most juice and then add another habit in three weeks. Before the end of the year, you’ll be well on your way to a delicious life. “Take one day at a time. If you miss a day, pick it up the next day. Keep at it. You’re going through an emotional time. So, give yourself a break and don’t expect perfection,” says Richardson.

Habits are rituals that have some intention or purpose. The combination of purpose and repetitive practice elevates normal day to day things to another level. “The value is in the practice. A lot of us think we need to be perfect all the time. The reality is we are flawed and imperfect and that’s beautiful. Rituals are not perfect but their practice is,” says Padua.

Working your ten Delicious Daily Habits sends a message that you’re committed to having each day be all that it can be.