New years is a new beginning for many. The year gone by is just that. As the clock strikes midnight friends raise their glasses, lovers kiss, and young parents are amazed simply in being able to stay awake to see it all. As we prepare for ringing in the new year we often reflect on the year past. What did we accomplish, what was left undone. Many look back and think about what they would like to see happen in the new year. For those that have suffered trauma and experienced loss may label the past year as a “bad one” or will forever be “the year” this person left us.
Many people make New Year’s resolutions with hopes of finally losing those last 10 pounds, getting out of debt or chasing after those things that many believe will make their life happier. It is also a well understood fact that a week into the new year people give up on these resolutions. Most of us are back to the same old things of the past.
For those of us who have already experienced loss through the death of a loved one, sometimes resolutions may seem like too much effort. New Year’s resolutions can feel like letting go of the things that comfort us. For many, a resolution is about what we want to take away from our life. Stop swearing, stop overeating, stop drinking soda. To stop doing something or to eliminate something is a struggle. It feels negative, it wears on you and at some point it can feel like another loss and we often give up.
New Year’s Resolutions For The Grieving
The holidays can be really hard when experiencing grief over a loved one’s death. You may walk out of the season feeling emotionally exhausted rather than filled with the spirit of the season. In lieu of tossing out the idea of making a New Year’s resolution, it may be time for you to be more thoughtful and intentional in your goal setting this year.
A good alternative to thinking about what we want to eliminate from our lives (fat, debt, or unhappiness), is to think about what can we gain. What are some positive things you would like to gain? In a year that has seen so much loss, set a resolution to add increase to your life. And if you feel excited about it, think about some ways that you can add blessings to other’s lives as well.
Ideas for Your New Year’s Resolutions
When setting intentions to add to our lives, we can start the new year with a fresh outlook. Set an intention and resolution for yourself that will add to your life in some way. Here are some quick ideas on New Year’s Resolutions:
- Instead of eliminating candy, commit to eating more fruit and vegetables
- Find simple ways to start achieving bigger goals
- Add a daily walk around your neighborhood and say hi to everyone you meet
- Meet those neighbors you always see but haven’t actually met
- Find ways to give back to others, with your time or resources
- Connect more with others (an easy way to do this is to join the Bakken Young grief group – coffee & conversation)
There are so many things that you could commit to adding into your life. You may find just the thing to boost your everyday life. As you add in more positive things it starts to push out the negative. The more we can put hope and joy into our lives one little bit at a time the more we can manage the grief and heartache.