The beginning of a new year is a great time to focus on life changes, prepare to take on the future with confidence, and ensure that you and your children are happy and well-adjusted. Here are a few resolutions to consider.
Resolve to update your will, trusts, and insurance policies
Tear up your old will and make a new one. Name a new executor. Update the beneficiaries on your life insurance policies, pension, and retirement accounts (unless your divorce decree requires otherwise). Designate powers of attorney for medical decisions and financial matters.
Resolve not to withhold visitation or child support
Children of divorce are happier if they have frequent, meaningful contact with both parents. Plus, it’s the law in Texas. Pay your child support on time and in full even if your ex-spouse withholds visitation. It’s also the law in Texas. Don’t badmouth your ex-spouse in front of your children. It will only cause a painful loyalty conflict for them. Rather, encourage your children to respect and spend time with their other parent.
Resolve to hit the gym regularly
Exercise triggers the release of endorphins and serotonin, which will make you feel happy. Numerous studies have proven the physical and emotional benefits of regular exercise. Moderate exercise (such as walking 20-30 minutes per day) both treats and prevents depression in people of all ages.
Resolve to get a handle on your finances
You either received a lump sum of money from your divorce or you are broke and in debt. No matter your situation, it’s important to consult with a financial planner to get on track moving forward. Managing your money prudently will give you incredible confidence—especially if you relied on your ex-spouse to handle the family finances. It is also a powerful stress buster.
Resolve not to date for fear of being alone
Do not be tempted to immediately fill the void in your life with another person. Take your time. Studies show that you should wait at least two years before entering into another serious relationship. Otherwise you risk replacing your ex-spouse with a partner possessing the same negative traits. The last thing you want is more pain and suffering. Besides, if you have children, you need to focus on them. Put their needs ahead of yours.
Resolve to set aside quiet time to reflect
Turn your cell phone off. Establish goals and regularly evaluate your progress towards achieving them. Calm reflection can lead to inspiration that otherwise may be drowned out by the chaos of everyday life.
Sonya B. Coffman is a Board Certified divorce, custody, and family lawyer in Beaumont, Texas. She has been a trial and appellate lawyer for over 27 years. Ms. Coffman supports making (and keeping) New Year’s resolutions.