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Ep. 106 – S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Goal setting after divorce keeps you grounded and focused on what you really want for your new life. In this episode Jeff and Doreen discuss why goal setting is important to launching and achieving that new life after divorce. Find out why your goals must be S.M.A.R.T. and how to stay focused on your desired life.


Jeff: Hello, everybody out there. Welcome to Life After Divorce Coaching’s podcast. This week we’re gonna be talking about my favorite subject goal setting. So if you’re ready, let’s get started.

Doreen: Are you ready to create a life that’s better than ever before? We are Doreen Yaffa and Jeff Wilson, and we are here to give you the strategies you need to create the life after divorce that you deserve and desire. As partners both in marriage and coaching, we use our expertise as well as our own personal experiences to help you make the next chapter of your life the best chapter.

Jeff: Hello, Doreen. How are you today?

Doreen: I’m doing great. How about you?

Jeff: I’m doing fantastic. Another beautiful day in Paradise.

Doreen: Yep. It’s hot, but it’s beautiful.

Jeff: Anything new before we get started?

Doreen: What’s new? Well, I know you’re in the middle of creating some amazing podcast and some creating an amazing program.

Jeff: Yeah. It’s a one-on-one program that we’re gonna be talking about to kickstart your new life after divorce. I’m very excited about it. And we’ll talk about that later.

Doreen: Yeah. But if the listeners are interested now, they can join up for one-on-one coaching.

Jeff: Yeah, they can reach out to me at That’s our website. Or they can reach me directly at [email protected].

Doreen: Perfect. Perfect. Alright. Goal setting.

Jeff: Goal setting. Well, they tell us

Doreen: Wait, wait, wait.

Jeff: Go ahead.

Doreen: Didn’t we talk about this before?

Jeff:  We have, and we’re gonna reference a few of our past podcasts at the end of this podcast. For an example, how to overcome obstacles, going through hard times and other episodes that we’ve done on goal setting, but I just don’t think we, we can talk enough about goal setting.

Doreen: I know, because you know what goals really make you feel alive. You know, when you don’t have goals, you’re kind of, I don’t know. For me, I always just feel like, blah.

Jeff: Well, what happens is after divorce, the stronger your vision is of your life that you want, the more focused you’re gonna need to be. And when you set a goal, it strengthens that vision.

Doreen: And it also keeps you focused and putting your energy there and not on the negative aspects and feelings and emotions of divorce.

Jeff: Yeah. Well, when you have a goal, it does help you to focus on the positive, and it helps you to realize that the tough times that you’re going through are temporary.

Doreen: Absolutely. You know, that’s so true. I was dealing with that the other day. Not to, you know, go off too much, but something was going on.

Jeff: You go off, girl. Go ahead.

Doreen: Something was going on in the law firm and we were dealing, I was dealing with a lot of overwhelm. And I was thinking about the overwhelm a lot. And of course, because we’re coaches, life coaches, we know how to understand our feelings and our thoughts and basically our thoughts that are controlling our feelings.

Right? So I literally sat down and did a model on it, realizing where my overwhelm was coming from, because I realized what my thought was.

Jeff: Okay.

Doreen: And then the next day, the next day, I thought I’m not even dealing with that issue anymore. Like it was resolved and it was like, I made it such a big deal in my mind the day before and the next day the issue was resolved. I don’t know why I fretted about it so much, but you know, that’s how it is.

Jeff: Yeah. I mean, you know, when you do something like that, when you focus on the negative, it compounds it. And when you focus on the positive, it shrinks it just like it did yesterday with you.

Doreen: Well, and you also find evidence of it, right? Your brain is always gonna seek out what you’re thinking. So if you’re thinking negative thoughts, it’s gonna find lots of evidence that will tell you, you’re right. And when you’re thinking positive thoughts, it’ll also find lots of positive evidence.

Jeff: Yeah. And when you have that goal anchored in, it does give you kind of a confidence to get through the C R A P that we go through every day.

Doreen: You can say it.

Jeff: Crap. The crap that we go through.

Doreen: We were just listening to a podcast this morning, Dan Sullivan. And he had a guest on, and I forgot who it was, and he used the F word and I thought, okay.

Jeff: Okay. We can say crap now. Okay. Well first, why don’t we tell the listeners what the Google say the definition of a goal is.

Doreen: Okay. So I’ll take it from here. So the Googles tell us that a goal is the object of a person’s ambition or effort and aim or desired result.

Jeff: Yeah. And that makes sense that it’s a desired result. That’s gotta be the most important thing because if it’s desired, it’ll be encompassing in your thoughts.

Doreen: Right.

Jeff: And that’s the most important thing. You know, I do wanna talk about, some of the benefits of setting a goal after divorce and how it’s gonna to help you. I think one of the most important things that keeps you grounded. I mean, there’s a lot of things where your mind might be going in many, many different directions, but when you anchor a goal in your life, it kind of keeps you grounded.

It lets your logical brain take over from your emotional brain, and it continuously helps you to make better choices. Okay. Does that make sense?

Doreen: Yeah, it does.

Jeff: Okay.

Doreen: It does.

Jeff: And also another benefit is when you’re co-parenting, let’s say you have children.

Doreen: Right.

Jeff: Okay. And you’re co-parenting with your ex. This is a biggie because when you have common goals with your ex on how to raise your children or your desired outcome with your children, it takes the relationship from being an emotional relationship to a more of a business type of relationship.

Doreen: Right, right. I just did this yesterday with my ex, with Sam.

Jeff: Okay. I know Sam.

Doreen: Yeah. We all know Sam, and we like, everybody knows Sam and we like Sam. Right. We love Sam. So I have an amazing, for new listeners, I have an amazing relationship with my co-parent to my three girls. This is a second marriage for us. So I have three girls with Sam and then Jeff has one son.

So we’re a blended family of four children, but we have always had the business of co-parenting as primary focus of our relationship. Always the three of us, because it takes a village, right? So I was dealing with an issue with one of the kids and whatever it was, I don’t wanna divulge it, but it required us to pay for it.

And we, first of all, our kids are over 18, so that’s amazing in itself that we can still talk about expenses for the kids. Cause we all know that when they hit 18, they’re not off the payroll. Right?

Jeff: Right. Exactly.

Doreen: And so I said, look, how about I pay for the first one? You pay for the second, I’ll pay the for the third and we’ll just keep going.

And he was like, yeah, sure. That’s great. Right. So the business of co-parenting and having that goal for our listeners to take it away from that emotional part of it and really just work on trying to unify on the goals of your children together. Because if you ask your ex to, let’s say, let’s just have a conversation.

Go for coffee. Or if you can’t do that, okay, maybe that’s a bit of a leap. Speak over the phone. Let’s set a time to talk about what we want for the future goals of our kids and when you can have that common thread together and what parent, I mean, I would hope that most parents would welcome that invitation.

Right. They might be skeptical, like, why are you wanting to do this? And is this like a bait and switch or something? But no, most parents, I believe, are good at heart and they really want to be good parents. So when you set those goals, like, Hey, the goal is that our child get A. Not A’s, Because we’ll talk about like over like overachievers and things like that, but get good grades, whatever that is for you.

So if it’s A’s and B’s, let’s just say our goal is that our child get A’s and B’s. Our goal is that our child be involved in a team sport. Our goal is that our child, you know, is rested and eats well and is healthy, you know, and you could think of whatever goals are important to you and your child and your ex, your co-parent. Right?

Jeff: Well, I do think that probably one of the strongest reasons why you and Sam, well, Sam and I as well have such a great relationship, is we have very, very similar goals for the children.

Doreen: For our children.

Jeff: And even though sometimes we, you may not agree on how to get there inevitably we do find a way to work together to get to the common goal.

Doreen: Absolutely. And an example of that not happening. So look, it may not happen with all of our listeners, with their parent, ’cause it does take two to come to the table. Don’t give up if you have a part, a co-parent on the other side, that’s you know, resistant. Now we tried to do that with your ex, your son’s mom, and it just wasn’t gonna happen for a number of reasons, because the goals were very, very different, you know? So, and I don’t wanna get into that,

Jeff: Well, I do think that the parent himself or herself has to have some kind of sense of importance of how, what a goal is and how important a goal is to somebody’s life. If you’re not a goal setter and you don’t care about goals, you don’t believe in goals, it’s gonna be very difficult to do it with parenting and your children. So I know Sam is very much a goal setter. He’s a driven person. And he’s very intelligent, and we know that goals are a very positive thing in everybody’s lives.

Doreen: Well, that’s what we’re encouraging you today, is to always have goals, whatever it is. It can be a workout goal, a health and fitness goal, it can be a business goal, it can be a child goal, it can be a personal goal in business, you know, and having many goals is okay as well. Right. But you know what, the next thing I was thinking about that goals between co-parents is important because children also seek goals. Meaning they love discipline even though they will, you know, push back on it, but they crave discipline and consistency. All the experts tell us that.

Jeff: Yeah. The biggest saying is that the child without discipline is child abuse. I mean they crave discipline. They want to be focused. They want to have, you know, the discipline in their lives to keep them on the right track. And when they know that they have goals, it keeps them focused on what their future might look like.

Doreen: Right. And when the parents have goals and they share that with the with the child, not only does a child, you know, understand this, but they see the parents getting together, they get, everybody gets united on the goals. So again, children crave goals, they crave discipline. Then when they understand, like your goal, our son is to get A’s and B’s, right? And here’s how we’re gonna accomplish that and whatever that looks like for your family. Now the child knows what to expect no matter how big or long the goal is. It gives them the specific vision of what their future is to look like. Right?

Jeff: And also, on a side note, I think it’s very important that the children and no matter what age, understand that you know, there are gonna be failures that we talk about failing forward. There are gonna be obstacles. We don’t give up. We don’t quit to throw in the towel. And when they understand that this is part of goal setting, right. It’s a great lesson to teach your children at any age.

Doreen: Yeah. Because part of having goals is that you’re gonna fail.

Jeff: Of course. I mean, you don’t just decide what your goal is and it’s just gonna happen. It takes time, it takes commitment, it takes establishing new habits, which I think we should do an episode on that because habits are super important with that. I think they say it takes how many?

Jeff: 30 days to create a new habit.

Doreen: Yeah. 30 consistent days of creating new habits.

Jeff: And it’s really not that long, it’s simple, but not easy.

Doreen: Yeah. Because once you fail your primitive brain tells you, ah, see, it’s never gonna happen for me. And you have to think then with your stronger brain, which is your, what I like to call your prefrontal or your parent brain. Yeah. You know, one’s the logical brain, one’s like the child, toddler brain, which it’s, no, it didn’t work. It’s not gonna work. I’m not doing this anymore. And the other one’s your parent brain and says, no, honey, that’s the way it’s supposed to be.

Jeff: Yeah. It’s like the devil on one shoulder and the angel on the other shoulder.

Doreen: Well, let’s talk about other goals after divorce that people might consider.

Jeff: Well, I mean, there’s, maybe you have a goal on dating, maybe getting in better shape, could be, you know, your financial goals, finding new friends, there’s a maybe goals on traveling. So, there’s a lot of goals that you can set for oneself, especially after divorce.

Doreen: Alright, so how do people actually go about setting their goals? What kind of tips might love do you have for our listeners?

Jeff: Well, I think, one thing that maybe many of you listeners out there have heard of is goals have to be smart. And I don’t mean make smart decisions. It’s an acronym meaning specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time dated.

Doreen: Okay.

Jeff: And we’re kind of explained a little bit each what they mean, but one thing I do know is that you have to write goals down and they have to be smart.

Doreen: Yeah. I mean, I’m a visual learner. So I always have to see, I always tell my team, I’m like, show it to me. Like, you can’t just tell me something. So for me it’s really important that I journal my goals and that I refer to them often.

Jeff: Well, I’m gonna say something bad. I’m gonna say, it may not be bad, but they say that a goal that’s not written down as a fart in the wind,

Doreen: It’s true. Not only should you write it down, but what I like to do is put reminders. You know what, I just put a reminder on something on the refrigerator for you.

Jeff: Oh great. I know exactly what it is because I remembered.

Doreen: I know you do. It was a goal of mine that you get that accomplished today. Something that needs to be fixed.

Jeff: Exactly.

Doreen: And it’s been one of those things as I put a post-it, but no, I’d like to use post-its, and I just put them all over. Right. You put ’em in your office, put ’em on your mirror in the morning. Just the goals, like, just to continuously remind yourself, you know, it’s important also putting timers or on your phone or on your watch, you know, just to like dinging sometimes it’s like, Ooh, I have that goal. I gotta do. Right?

Jeff: Right, right. Well, let’s talk about the essence SMART.

Doreen: Okay.

Jeff: It’s about being specific. You know, don’t be wishy-washy among what you really want. You know, be very specific as to exactly what your goal is. For an example, you can say, you know, I really want a lot of money, or I wish I could make a lot of money. That’s not specific. No, but saying this year I want to gross $2 million. That’s a specific number. It’s a specific goal.

Doreen: It’s, yeah. For example, your $2 million example is then you can work, it’s measurable. We know what the number is, and if you are in business, I mean, it’s quite simple to just sit there and now figure out what you have to do to get there. I gotta sell X amount of whatever it is, your product or service in order to get to that gross revenue goal. It’s just a number.

Jeff: So what is the M again?

Doreen: I’m sorry. Measure

Jeff: O you, you already went into it, right? See, so take it away girl.

Doreen: Alright. Yeah. You gotta be able to have it measurable. You must be able to manage it and in order to manage it, you have to understand it. It has to be calculated, whatever that means.

Another example might be something like, I wanna lose 20 pounds by January 1st. Right? Okay. So interestingly enough, I was researching this and I realized that did you know most women? It’s not, and please don’t quote me if I’m wrong, but burn between 1500 and 2000, maybe a little higher calories per day on average.

Okay. And then of course when you do exercise, you’re gonna increase that because you’re burning more calories, right? So it’s pretty measurable, and it takes 3,500 calories to burn one pound. So you can figure out how long it will take you to lose one pound by measuring the amount of calories in.

Because you can use, I use, what is it, MyFitness to track all my food. And then my calories out I use my Apple Watch. Okay? So if I do the calculation, I can see, hey, 1500 calories came in, I ate and I expended 2000. That’s 500 calories towards my goal of 3,500 calories to lose one pound. Right. So it’s measurable. The opposite is true. So you can figure out by January 1st how much you have to do in order to lose that amount of weight. Right Now there’s other things to factor in, such as weight, sorry, water retention.

And you know, this thought that or I guess it is muscle weights more than fat. So if you’re in a fitness program where you’re weight lifting weights, those types of things, then you also have to measure in how many calories you’re putting in. So if you are obviously the opposite way, if you are taking in more calories than you’re expending now that goes in towards the next new pound that you would be putting on.

Jeff: Yeah. And you know, and everybody out there, it doesn’t have to be this complicated. I mean, we could take 20 pounds divided up by the rest of the amount of months you have in January, and you know how much weight you need to lose per month per week and then start measuring your, weighing yourself and then, yeah.

Doreen: And that’s just an example. I was just excited because I figured out it’s just a mathematical calculation. It’s really not overly complicated. Alright, the next one is

Jeff: Well, achievable.

Doreen: Yes.

Jeff: You know, you want to set your goals aligned with your skills, right? In other words, if you know, you wanna make sure that you are able to work out, you’re able to earn that kind of money to make $2 million a year. You wanna make sure that your skills are there and your resources are there to make this goal achievable.

Doreen: Right. So, for example, I remember reading a book or something where they use an example of someone who wanted to be in the M B A, basketball player, you know, the goal was to be a professional basketball player.

This guy loved basketball. I can’t remember which book this was from, but he was only like five seven. Okay. And you know, not that someone can’t do it, but it’s more likely that he wouldn’t. Right. Because he doesn’t have the natural build height to be able to achieve that, that goal. So it’s really just being realistic on it. Right?

Jeff: Absolutely. You’re correct. Now the R is Relevant. In other words, your goals have to be in line with your objectives and what your future might look like. Cause this way it kind of gels with your core values. You know, if you really believe in what you’re doing and it’s valuable to you, this will give you the courage and the strength to overcome the tough times. Overcome the obstacles.

Doreen: Absolutely. And let’s talk about time dated. We kind of talked about that. That’s the last one, right?

Jeff: Well, time dated is another way of saying if you can measure it, you can manage it. You know, you can break it down into increments, but you have to put a deadline on your goal.

You know, it has to have a finished time to kind of push you to do something on the day-to-day activities that, and actions that you want to do to achieve this goal.

Doreen: Right? And when you start getting close to your goal, you may wanna set up a new goal. Right.

Jeff: Absolutely.

Doreen: Keep going. Keep going.

Jeff: Yeah, And you can have many goals at one time, right? I mean, you can have a goal of losing weight, but you can also have a goal of earning money at the same time.

Doreen: Sure, of course, of course, of course.

Jeff: So measuring it and having it time dated. Makes it a goal.

Doreen: Yeah. When we work with our clients, we limit their goal setting. We try to limit to the most important goal they have, or maybe two goals at most, because we’re teaching you how to train your brain and reach the goal with all the things that we’ve taught today, but also how to manage your brain to get there.

Right? Because that’s what we do as coaches. We basically, you know, are that check-in and we’re helping you to think about your brain to know what you’re thinking to get to that goal.

Jeff: Absolutely.

Doreen: So important after divorce. I just can’t emphasize it. I know that these subjects go for anybody. And that’s what’s so beautiful because eventually you will get past the divorce, you will move on to a better life. It’s inevitable. Right? So it’s going to happen. It’s just a matter of your goal setting will help you to get there sooner than later.

Jeff: Yeah. And also, as we said in the beginning of the episode, it does keep you grounded and it does help you through that tough times especially after divorce.

Doreen: And you know what? Even if you don’t feel like doing whatever you need to do to get to that goal that day, okay, you wake up and your goal is to lose weight and you wanna go to, you say, I’m gonna go to the gym. You know, today you set this goal, this is part of it, and you get up that morning and you don’t wanna go, you just go anyhow. You just go anyhow because nine times outta 10, once you get there, what happens?

Jeff: You have a great workout.

Doreen: Yeah, you have great workout. You have a great workout. And even if it’s not so great, okay fine. But you did it and you could pat yourself on the back and then it’s gonna help to set that habit which is gonna continuously just grow, you know, and help you, help you get there.

Jeff: Right? And, you know, goal setting can be equivalent to a ratchet. You know what a ratchet effect is where you take it goes three steps forward. One step back. Two steps forward, two steps back, right? Three steps forward. As long as you’re making progress and you know that the steps backwards will happen. Will happen.

Doreen: Well, let’s talk about the other episodes that we had, have done, or that I did, that kind of touch on this in case they wanna know. Let’s start with episode number five, which was, I called Setting goals.

Jeff: Setting goals.

Doreen: Then we had 65, which was featured 60.

Jeff: That’s 68, sorry.

Doreen: Oh, 68. I’m sorry. Yeah, it looks like a five. 68 future goals.

Jeff: Yes. And then 95 is very important where we talk about embracing the hard stuff.

Doreen: Right. Right. Because you will go through tough times if your goals are tough.

Doreen: And make them big. Make them big. Don’t have tiny goals. Yeah. Tiny goals are for wimps.

Jeff: This year I wanna make $10,000. No, that’s not, no, no. That’s not gonna, you have to push yourself. Why? Because what happens when you achieve a difficult goal? It’s more valuable. It’s more worth.

Doreen: Exactly. Exactly. Yeah. All right, my friends.

Jeff: Let’s end it on my favorite saying.

Doreen: Oh yes, go ahead.

Jeff: Ready? 1, 2, 3.

Doreen & Jeff: Goals we set are goals we get goals we get.

Doreen: That was pretty alright.

Jeff: Thank you everybody. Hope you enjoyed the episode and I love to get some feedback from you and we’ll talk to you next week.

Doreen: Bye everybody.

Jeff: Bye-bye. You have the vision of what you want your life to look like after divorce, but maybe you just don’t know how to get there. So if you’re ready to take control of your life and want to find out more about our coaching, visit us at That’s L A D as in life after divorce dash

Doreen: Until next time, have an amazing rest of your day. And remember, yes, you can have an amazing life after divorce.


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