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How to Have Confidence about Your Next Steps

When we’re contemplating a divorce, or in the middle of a breakup, it’s tempting to run out and buy one of those Magic 8 Balls, isn’t it?

It’s impossible to know what the best thing is to do next. How much should you ask for? How much child support is reasonable? Should I stay in the house, or should we sell it and split the profits?

There is no way to predict the future, so we need another tool to determine the paths we should take and the actions that are in our best interests.

It’s super important to have professionals to rely on when it comes to practical matters. A good mediator that you feel comfortable with, or a compassionate divorce lawyer, is important.

Another professional you can rely on if there are assets to be split or complicated financial investments is a CDFA (Certified Divorce Financial Analyst).

So you have that covered. But your world has been turned upside down. The very things that kept you grounded, the anchors in your life, might have been shifted or pulled out from underneath you. How can you be confident that you’re doing the right things, taking the right steps, and behaving in a way that is going to cause you the least amount of stress and aggravation?

The answer is to have a well defined value system.

Our values are the set of principles we base our behavior on. They are the concepts in life that we consider important. They are the indicators of the kind of person we aspire to be, the kind of person we want to be, with the kinds of traits that we think are important - even if we don’t have all those traits yet.

We talk all the time about values and what’s important to us, but have we actually taken the time to sit down and define those values?

Just about everyone says they want to be compassionate, kind, and loving. But there are so many other choices that help to define the person we want to be! Here are just a few examples:

Curiosity * Commitment * Effectiveness * Generosity * Grace * Benevolence * Growth * Bravery * Shrewdness * Hardworking * Wisdom * Positivity * Gratitude

You can always do an internet search for “examples of values” or “examples of principles.” Take an afternoon to sit down and decide what is truly important to you. Who do you aspire to be? Who is the best version of you, and what does that person believe? Write it all down. Every few months, pull the list out and add more values, or take some off that don’t serve you as well.

The purpose of this exercise is to give you a framework for your attitudes and behavior.

For example, you might be tempted to call up your ex and fuss over something that he did or didn’t do. You might desperately want to call up your attorney and cry about something that the ex did, and you want her to call the other lawyer right now to have it stopped!!

Let me ask you this: Is that something the person you want to be would do? Does that behavior align with your values?

And if not, what would that ideal version of you do? How do you really want to behave? Do that.

Think about it. At the end of the whole process, do you want to be proud that you stuck to your values and kept cool and calm? Or do you want to be the person who feels guilty because you behaved badly?

When our behavior is at odds with our values, it creates something called Cognitive Dissonance. That’s what psychologists call it, but it’s really just your conscious mind and your subconscious mind going to war with each other. The end result is stress.

If you want to avoid a lot of stress, behave in a way that you’ll be happy with later, and be an awesome role model for your children, define your values and live by them.

This is just one way you can get through a tough day in one piece. To learn more, read this article:

Susan Petang is a Certified Life Coach, helping women stop feeling overwhelmed during a breakup, and start waking up happy in the morning again. You can learn more about her and The Quiet Zone Coaching at

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