64 New Year’s Resolutions for Grievers

Like many, I have a love/hate relationship with New Year’s resolutions.  On the one hand, they can be a great kick in the butt.  But on the other, they have the potential to make you feel like a total failure when you…well…fail.  Just the same, we thought coming up with a list of 64 grief resolutions would be a swell idea and we turned to you, our fabulous readers, for suggestions. OBVIOUSLY you delivered.

One of my favorites was a beautiful comment from Jeannette Brown, a Buddhist, who explained that “rather than make resolutions for grief, every morning and every evening we pray (by chanting, our form of prayer) for the happiness or repose of all of the deceased. We believe that if we continue our growth and pursuit of happiness, our deceased family and friends will continue to become happy as well”.   I love that sentiment so much, but as someone who just barely manages to commit to a shower every day, resolutions admittedly help keep me on track.

Whatever is right for you, grief resolution or no grief resolution, we hope you find the list of ideas below helpful in thinking about how you will grieve in the new year.

  1. calvin-hobbes-new-years-resolutionsBe honest about how you feel, with yourself and with others.
  2. Speak your loved ones name.
  3. Live in a way your loved one would have wanted you to.
  4. Support someone else.
  5. Seek professional help.
  6. Start a project memorializing or in memory of your loved one.
  7. Brush off hurtful comments from well intentioned people.
  8. Be open to happiness.
  9. Let go of guilt about having fun or enjoying life.
  10. Archive those old photos in an album or online.
  11. Join Tracey Leyden who is resolving to “keep toxic, mean spirited & self absorbed people away . . . to not get sucked into their lives through guilt, manipulation, threats etc.  To give myself time to find my resiliency and slowly mend my broken heart and spirit and spend time with those that let me lean and lift me up and not those that tear me down & beat me up emotionally.”
  12. Give away the belongings you are willing to part with.
  13. Journal or blog on a regular basis.
  14. Donate to a cause that your loved one would have supported.
  15. Plan a vacation.
  16. Get 20 minutes of sunlight and/or fresh air a day.
  17. Join J Mase III  in “choosing to grieve better” in 2014 (check out his great article Rules for Grieving in the New Year — Or Grieving Like It’s 1999)
  18. Take more walks.
  19. Tackle that book list and read more.
  20. Join Mary Kate Cranston in “trying something new this year” (check out her post, No Lifeguard on Duty from her Cry, Laugh, Heal blog)
  21. Set aside more time to unplug -turn off your phone and shut down your computer? at 6pm.
  22. Get a hobby – Journaling?, Photography?, Cooking, Sewing, Hiking, to name a few.
  23. Get enough sleep.
  24. Start a family tree or family history.
  25. Share memories of the person who died with children also impacted by the death.
  26. Practice Mindfulness and Meditation.
  27. Take a yoga class.
  28. Spend more time with family and friends.
  29. Join psychotherapist (and WYG guest blogger) Hannah Mirmiran in  letting go of the “shoulds, grieving timelines, and linear stage expectations” when grieving.
  30. Do things that make you laugh.
  31. Create a memory book, memory box, or even memory board on pinterest to remember your loved one.
  32. Get organized.  If you are still struggling with organization and household tasks your loved one used to take care of, resolve to ask someone for help.
  33. Join Kiri Speirs in “allowing myself to feel whatever comes and accept it for what it is, don’t fight it. And to keep my focus on living in a way my daughter would have wanted me to – seeking out joy and practicing kindness.”  (check out her blog, Retro Girl & the Chemo Kid)
  34. Get out of the house more  (join a gym, join a book club, join a walking club, take a class, etc).
  35. Find out more about nutrition and make positive dietary changes.
  36. Slow down and don’t fall into the myth of “keeping busy” as a way to cope with grief.
  37. Volunteer with an organization or cause that you and/or your loved one believe(d) in.
  38. Create new traditions honoring friends and family who have died.
  39. Seek grief resources on the web, including Marty Tousley’s Grief Healing blog and her post on New Year’s Resolutions in Caregiving and Bereavement.
  40. Give up or minimize unhealthy habits like excessive alcohol use.
  41. Spend time with others affected by the loss – don’t be afraid to talk about your loved one.
  42. Set aside one-on-one time with children affected by the loss – do something they enjoy or engage in an activity focused on dealing with grief
  43. Make up with any family and/or friends you have been quarrelling with since your loved one’s death.
  44. Set aside 30 minutes a day for yourself
  45. Make the doctor’s appointment you’ve been putting off.
  46. Create a will or advanced directive.
  47. Laugh at yourself.
  48. Join Molly from O’Connor’s Mortuary in ” saying “no” to guilt and allow ourselves the freedom of feeling what hits us when it hits us.” (check out her post My Grandpa Died Yesterday: When Christmas is a Blur).
  49. Attend a support group or spend time with people who make you feel well supported (online groups count).
  50. Learn more about grief.
  51. Learn more about yourself.
  52. Reach out to family you have lost touch with, even if it isn’t easy.  For example, this year the folks at Grandparent Alienation is Not Natural are resolving to, “encourage all Alienated Grandparents to utilize the internet to speak about their grief directly to those grandchildren who’s absence they grieve rather than about whoever stands between them and their missing loved ones.”
  53. Do something you want/need to do but have been avoiding because of your grief: read old letters or journals, clean out their closet or home, sell their home, car, etc.
  54. Speak your mind, about your grief and about anything else you have been holding in.
  55. Allow yourself to sulk every once in a while.
  56. Stop saying “I’m fine” if it isn’t true.
  57. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
  58. Let go of shame and stigma: if your loved one died by suicide or overdose, be honest about the loss with yourself and others.
  59. Embrace and learn from negative feelings like guilt and regret.
  60. Try not to compare your grief to others.
  61. Try not to judge the way others cope with their own grief.
  62. Recognize your strengths.  How have you grown from your experiences?
  63. Be like @StefanieLash and, “learn what can be learned from grief, and help others in as many small ways possible.”
  64. Subscribe to ‘What’s Your Grief’ to receive posts straight to your e-mail in-box listen to a WYG Podcast or check out our store for print grief resources.

I have to say, creating this list got me inspired and excited about the idea of a resolution for this year, I hope it’s done the same for you.  Leave a comment to let us know what your resolution (grief related, or otherwise!) will be this year.

March 28, 2017

13 responses on "64 New Year's Resolutions for Grievers"

  1. Just lost my only son unexpectedly and having a hard time….looking forward to this website….. thanks for the love

  2. I like all of them. Some I’ve done, some I will. Every little bit helps. Respect the love ones we’ve lost, respect ourselves, even in the midst of grief.

  3. #35, #55, #64

  4. i am a psychotherapist and am finding this post very helpful for several if my clients! Thank you!

  5. Thanks Litsa. Great advice. I especially like #36 which I am guilty of doing myself!

  6. Oh I love this post, Litsa.

    My personal favorite- #31 create a memory book, box or board. Also #64. Your website is one of the finest!

    Thanks for all the excellent post and goodness in 2013, ladies-

    Blessings to you and your families in the new year!

  7. Profile photo of Eleanor Haley

    Tina,

    Oh I’ve never thought of doing this, thank you so much for sharing! What a great idea for creating a place to remember and share memories of a loved one.

    Eleanor

  8. Those are all great! I also made a Facebook memorial page for my younger sister/only sibling after she passed away in September of 2011!

  9. Thank you again, Litsa ~ and please forgive me for misspelling your name ?

  10. Profile photo of Litsa Williams

    Thanks Marty!! Updated your link!

  11. Terrific list! Thanks so much for the mention, Lisa (#39). The correct link to my post, “New Year Resolutions in Caregiving and Bereavement” is http://j.mp/KeiHNk ?

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