Become A New You: The 1st Step To Creating A Life Plan


When all the holiday events and parties have come to an end, it’s easy to feel like a deflated balloon laying on the floor. Aside from the 12 days of Christmas and the Feast of the Epiphany observances that only a few Americans tend to celebrate, January can seem like one big dead zone.

But I have a great suggestion for you if you’d like a way to turn that dead zone into something special and exciting, not only in January but the entire year: create a life program!

As a post-divorce coach, a life program is something I advocate a lot to my clients. Especially since we are starting a new year (and Archbishop Dolan just reminded us that God is “eager to give us a fresh start”), I want to share this with you now so you can have something real and concrete to help you achieve meaningful personal and spiritual goals, which translates into a happier and more attractive person. 

The life program is a practice of our Catholic faith that has been around for a long time, and I’ve adjusted it slightly to help each client move past divorce, but it can be used by anyone in any situation. The best thing about a life program is the fact that you tailor it to fit your own circumstances. This helps you to heal more completely from your divorce or other failed relationship and sculpt a new life. 


The first step 

The most important aspect of this program is defining who you are and what your life looks like when you are happy, looking to the future and seeing yourself the way you would be if everything in your world were as right as it could be. Are you someone whose bills are paid and has savings? Are you in a happy relationship? If you have to work, what would your work scenario look like? If you have children, what does your relationship with your children look like? What does your relationship with your ex-spouse look like? What does your relationship with God look like? 

These are all questions, although not limited to these, that should help you determine what the happy version of yourself is in the future. Here’s an example:  

  • I am happy because I have remarried in the Church
  • We live where it’s warm most of the year
  • I work part-time from home
  • My children live with us and are happy because my ex-spouse and I have been able to become peaceful toward each other
  • I have a chocolate lab named Mocha
  • I am a better Catholic than I was before the divorce
  • My life is full of joy

To really make an accurate and intimate definition of yourself, I highly recommend finding an adoration chapel somewhere and spending an hour with Jesus, asking for His assistance. Because He wants you to heal and improve, I know you can count on His guidance. Take an hour and don’t take a cell phone.

In my next post, we will look at step two. In the meantime as always, count on my prayers for you.



  1. Reta-770200 July 19, 2013 Reply

    Hi Lisa:

    I just found your blog, and am very excited about it. I myself am just getting started in coaching. My practice is focused on change management and discernment in major life changes. The three steps you outlined are things I have done in my own life and have shared with others, which in turn has led to this incredible journey. Please be assured that you are in my prayers and I ask for your prayers as well. God bless you.


  2. Stephen-725391 January 6, 2012 Reply

    PS. I’ll write one up so that I can follow along! Stephen

    • Lisa Duffy
      Lisa Duffy January 8, 2012 Reply

      Excellent! 🙂

      • Stephen-725391 January 10, 2012 Reply


        This part is for me, my personal preparation for, God willing, a new and permanent relationship as was experienced by my parents (53 years before they died 36 hours apart). I don’t have that many year (I’m 62) to develop that depth but maybe some joy and happiness.


  3. Stephen-725391 January 6, 2012 Reply

    Lisa, You know that I have great admiration for you and your new life. I’m sure that it was a very painful passage. I also know that you are truly trying to ease our (my) pain. Why then do I feel such skepticism, so cynical? Sorry, I’ve never heard of ‘life program’ as a practice in the Church. Sounds like one of those self-improvement programs, get rich schemes, carry these cards in your pocket and it will happen for you promotions. Wish list and dream works. This morning talked with one of the canon lawyers who advertise assistance in annulment and shock of shocks, found out that maybe it isn’t wise to trust as a child the tribunal and their instruction if you want a fair presentation of your cause. I started process in that mode (I’m a lawyer and it went against all my instincts) and maybe it can be salvaged. I’ve also so had a vision and a prayerful plan of what it would be like to be happy going on for 13 years now, when does it kick in?

    I guess maybe since I didn’t have the Catholic program, that is the problem. Obviously, it must work because it sound that you have gotten pretty close to your happiness.


    • Lisa Duffy
      Lisa Duffy January 8, 2012 Reply

      Dear Stephen,

      Most people have never heard of a Life Program and I am dismayed by that because it is such a powerful spiritual tool. I was introduced to it when I attended Ignatian spiritual exercises a long time ago.

      However, the program is not a gimmick in any way and its purpose is self-knowledge and spiritual growth. Your success depends upon taking time to reflect upon who you are; your circumstances, the decisions you made that brought you to where you are today, your gifts and talents, your faults and failings, etc. and after those things have been identified (which is something only you can do), you identify practical ways to improve, i.e. overcoming the bad and improving upon the good. It’s team work between you and God. No one else has any bearing on the outcome.

      As far as trust goes – allow me to say first that I understand how difficult it can be to trust after the devastation of divorce and especially what you have been through with the annulment process. But Christ told us plainly that we must become like little children or we cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. We know this doesn’t mean we should be doormats but still, child-like trust is a virtue we need to constantly nurture. So, in a world that’s SO untrust-worthy, how do you realistically do that? You place your trust in God and His plan because that is what will bring you to happiness and fulfillment.

      Is it possible that you did not receive a declaration of nullity because God is asking you to let go and follow a new direction? I can’t answer that, only you can, but I encourage you to at least consider that maybe God has something different in store for you than what you’re focused on now.

      Place all your cares, worries, concerns and aspirations in Him and let Him lead you. And as you do, resolve to work on improving the thing you are in control of – yourself. This is the essence of having a Life Program. I hope this helps, Stephen, and please count on my prayers for you!

      • Stephen-725391 January 10, 2012 Reply


        Thanks for your explanation and expression of concern. Regarding the Declaration of Nullity, nothing has come down nor has it proceeded beyond the witness stage, but there is clearly a COMMUNICATIONS problem (I am being polite) that caused the WRONG grounds to be declared and, what I would characterize as, haphazard and unfocused inquiry to the witnesses leaving to them generalize their statements and not address the elements of the grounds. I have been in discussion with my advocate from my parish and I will be using real canon lawyers to correct deficiencies in my statement and those of my witnesses. Just so you know – I DO NOT tolerate manufactured testimony.

        As to God’s plan and direction for me, it is and has been made quite clear to me even before the final break-down of my marriage. It is as if God had plans to test the strength of the character of the parties to my marriage to determine each person’s ability to withstand the trauma that He would impart on us so that carrying out the larger plan would not be impaired. The larger plan is near operational status while the weak link has been removed. Nebulous I know, but I can say no more.


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