New year, new you: a fresh start [2022 edition]

As we start to recover from our seasonal indulgences and recharge our mental batteries, thoughts inevitably turn to New Year resolutions.

However, just as we start to look forward to a new year, the media constantly relays how the pandemic continues to affect both our current and future lives. As we write this, there is a great deal of uncertainty as to the impact of the Omicron variant in terms of infections. What is not in dispute is the very real effect that uncertainty is having on the economy, education, the health service - and the everyday lives of millions of people in the UK.

That uncertainty can lead to us forming a gloomy picture of the future. However, taking time to reflect on our own lives will probably show us a brighter future than we would expect - if we take the time and courage to pro-actively change our circumstances.

Start as you mean to go on

The New Year holiday offers a time window when we can take stock of our life and set priorities. You might want to improve your fitness, your finances, your work/life balances - and your relationships with your partner and your children, close family and friends.

New Year resolutions are basically long-term goals that help you map out and plan for the year ahead. However, many of us make resolutions, only to break them within a month. That’s because resolutions are often too vague, too big, or too out of your normal scope of activity - or all three!


Goal setting for everyone

Goal setting is a common practice in business, but too few of us take the tried and tested formulas and apply them to our own personal lifestyle goal setting. We also often don’t measure and monitor our progress, which means you never quite know how close you are to your goals!


Relationships goal setting

Goal setting for lifestyle changes is the usual focus at New Year, but what about your relationship or marriage?

Start by asking yourself one simple question, “Am I happy?” If the answer is no, you need to goal set to change that situation.

As family lawyers, we know how difficult that can be. It takes both clarity and honesty to say, “I’m not happy”. According to James Clear, writer on habits and human potential:

“The real challenge is not determining if you want the result, but if you are willing to accept the sacrifices required to achieve your goal… It's easy to sit around and think what we could do or what we'd like to do. It is an entirely different thing to accept the tradeoffs that come with our goals.”

That’s why it’s as important to set distinct goals for both your lifestyle and your relationship. Just as a basic resolution to “keep fit” which begins and ends with a new gym membership, a resolution to “have a better relationship” will probably begin with dinner and flowers, but fails to progress to address the deeper issues.


How to goal-set successfully

Goal setting enables you to look ahead and decide what it is you want to achieve, and what it will feel like when you get there.

For example, you might set a New Year resolution of “I want to lose weight.” This is too vague. You need to nail down the details. How much weight? What timeframe? Do you need support and help? You need to turn that vague resolution into a measurable and achievable goal.

The same applies to your relationship goals. You may say "I want a divorce", but what do you actually want?

  • To live your own life totally independently from your partner?
  • To co-parent your children, but not necessarily have sole custody?
  • To end a broken relationship and then move on to find a new life partner?

Once you know what you want, and set the goal, you can work out the steps required to get there. One of these might be to get professional legal advice from a firm of family lawyers so you can plan with confidence.


The challenge of Christmas

The Christmas holidays inevitably place already strained relationships under more stress. Suddenly, you are with your partner 24/7, not working, at home with (potentially) rain lashing down, bored kids and the pressure of not quite knowing how many visitors you may be able to have at a “gathering”.

Even if it’s just the two of you, the effect of accumulated tiredness, excess alcohol and having overspent may bring deep-seated resentments in your relationship rising to the surface. As a result, there may be things said or done that confirm that you do need to separate, for your own happiness and that of your family.

Many couples feel they need to stay together until after New Year for the sake of the family, or the kids. Once the decorations are down, normal work restarts, the kids return to school, and time marches on. Suddenly it’s half term, and you’ve taken no action towards separating.


Act now and set the goal

If you want to go your separate ways as your relationship has run its course, the best time to act is now. Moving forward with your divorce will make all the difference between feeling trapped and stressed, or looking forward to a fresh start in 2022. So, set the goal and plan the steps.

The first step is to get professional legal advice, so you know what is involved, the timescales, and the implications for your future family life. Every divorce or separation is different, so at LGFL, we offer a reduced fee 1 hour consultation to discuss your unique situation with one of our Directors. This 60-minute session gives you plenty of time to talk through your unique situation and receive advice on ways forward.

Simply click to apply for your initial consultation and take that first step. We know it might be difficult, but it will give you the incentive to move forward to your goal of a fresh start and a new life for you and your family in 2022.


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