64 New Years Resolutions for Grievers

Holidays and Special Days / Holidays and Special Days : Litsa Williams

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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 (which we all do!). Just the same, we thought coming up with a list of 64 Grief Resolutions would be an interesting idea, and we turned to you—our fabulous readers—for suggestions. OBVIOUSLY, you delivered.

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. Be honest about how you feel, with yourself and with others.
  2. Speak your loved one's name.
  3. Embrace one of your loved one's hopes, dreams, or values.
  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 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" (And 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" (And check out her post, No Lifeguard on Duty, from her Cry, Laugh, Heal blog).
  21. Set aside more time to unplug.
  22. Get a hobby: journalingphotography, cooking, sewing, hiking, etc.
  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 a 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." 
  34. Get out of the house more: Join a gym, a book club, a walking club. Take a class. Do something!
  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.
  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. Makeup with any family and/or friends you have been quarreling 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."
  49. Attend a support group or spend time with people who make you feel well supported (yes, online groups count too!).
  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. 
  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 or 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. Work on letting go of shame and stigma.
  59. Embrace and learn from difficult 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 Stefanie Lash 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 

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.

For more advice as we enter the New Year, check out these articles:

We wrote a book!

After writing online articles for What’s Your Grief
for over a decade, we finally wrote a tangible,
real-life book!

After writing online articles for What’s Your Grief for over a decade, we finally wrote a tangible, real-life book!

What’s Your Grief? Lists to Help you Through Any Loss is for people experiencing any type of loss. This book discusses some of the most common grief experiences and breaks down psychological concepts to help you understand your thoughts and emotions. It also shares useful coping tools, and helps the reader reflect on their unique relationship with grief and loss.

You can find What’s Your Grief? Lists to Help you Through Any Loss wherever you buy books:

Let’s be grief friends.

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23 Comments on "64 New Years Resolutions for Grievers"

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  1. beauty receipes  July 28, 2023 at 5:19 am Reply

    interesting thank you!

  2. ira approved gold  May 15, 2023 at 5:38 pm Reply

    This seems a bit out of the loop-can you add some detail?

  3. holding gold in an ira  May 14, 2023 at 3:30 am Reply

    Hey this post certainly made me think! Thanks-I wouldn’t have seen things from your p.o.v otherwise.

  4. carol battaglia  December 31, 2021 at 12:07 pm Reply

    I lost my husband 2 1/2 months ago from a battle with cancer I took care of me home on hospice he was my best friend he has a son who is totally ignored me since the funeral will not let me see my granddaughter has taken a lot of his father‘s money and I don’t do anything about it I just pray that God knows what’s best for me and he will keep me safe

  5. Wendy Glencros  December 31, 2021 at 5:07 am Reply

    My darling husband of 51yrs passed away 15 wks.agotonight with me holding his hand from AML.I’m broken-hearted.💔

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  9. Ann McHugh  December 30, 2017 at 9:18 pm Reply

    In the early hours of Tuesday 21 November 2017 I found my beautiful husband had passed. Almost 6 weeks since we have been apart and I still can’t believe he has gone. Thank you for the suggestions. Ann x

  10. Ann McHugh  December 30, 2017 at 9:18 pm Reply

    In the early hours of Tuesday 21 November 2017 I found my beautiful husband had passed. Almost 6 weeks since we have been apart and I still can’t believe he has gone. Thank you for the suggestions. Ann x

  11. jeanne  December 29, 2016 at 8:50 pm Reply

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

    • Tasha  December 30, 2016 at 4:28 pm Reply

      So sorry for your loss Jeanne <3

  12. Maria Hui  December 29, 2015 at 5:39 pm Reply

    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.

  13. Carm Russell  December 29, 2015 at 3:24 pm Reply

    #35, #55, #64

  14. Kris Halstead  December 30, 2014 at 2:55 pm Reply

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

    • Eleanor  December 30, 2014 at 10:20 pm Reply

      Great! Thank you so much for sharing with your clients.

  15. Megan Oden  December 30, 2013 at 7:37 pm Reply

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

  16. Beth Marshall  December 30, 2013 at 4:44 pm Reply

    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!

  17. Eleanor  December 30, 2013 at 4:03 pm Reply


    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.


  18. Tina Marie  December 30, 2013 at 2:25 pm Reply

    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!

  19. Litsa  December 30, 2013 at 10:43 am Reply

    Thanks Marty!! Updated your link!

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