Articles: Grief Process

And a Better New Year

I don’t do New Year’s resolutions. I just don’t have the will power. Besides, the moment you “blow it”, (which is usually by January 2nd) you give up on your resolutions, and slip back into more of the “same old, same old.” I prefer to set GOALS. Things I want to accomplish in 2017. Goals are something you can keep working towards.

For you, maybe this past year has brought many changes. Sometimes after a loss, the way we see everything in our world changes. At times we may even regard OURSELVES differently. But we have to be careful.

Not too long ago, I was having trouble with my eyes. I just couldn’t seem to focus on the newspaper, and everything seemed just a little foggy. I made an appointment with my ophthalmologist, who checked my eyes and pronounced that all was well. When I told him about my problem, he took my glasses, examined the lenses through a light, squirted some liquid from a spray bottle, and cleaned them with a tissue. Then he put the glasses back on my face.

WOW, everything looked so CLEAR! You see trouble wasn’t with my eyes or my vision, the problem was the filters through which I was seeing my world. And often after suffering through bereavement, sometimes the way we SEE the problem IS the problem.

The real problem is not the circumstances, but how we VIEW these situations. Sometimes we need to check the glasses through which we look at our world. Are the “spectacles” through which you filter your view of things giving you an accurate picture? What’s your vision for 2017; the goals you want to reach; the accomplishments you want to fulfill; the places you want to go?

But you may ask, how do I set goals for this New Year? Let’s see if we can make it easier. One of Stephen Covey “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” is: “Begin with the Goal in Mind.”

Imagine where you want yourself to be one year from now in the various aspects and compartments of your life, and then work back setting manageable objectives which will enable you to reach your desired goals.

Write these intentions down on paper. What would 2017 have to look like to make it “better” for you? What personal goals and ambitions would you like to reach? What would you have to do to bring about that happy outcome? How about family? What would bring the people closer and make the next festive season one of thanksgiving.

Only you can determine the things you write down on that paper. But when you have done it, you have a vision. You have established goals, and now you must set objectives by which, step by step, day by day throughout 2017 you can build towards making that vision a reality.

I find my own goals are getting more personal, and, I like to think, more focused on what is really important in life.

  • My goal is to listen more.
  • My goal is to offer more random acts of kindness. More notes left on the counter for my wife, or frequent words of appreciation to people like checkout counter people, or (and I mean no disrespect) the “little people” in life who far too often are neglected, mistreated or unappreciated. It makes their day … and it also makes mine.
  • My goal is to laugh more. Let’s send more e mail cartoons, or clever articles or jokes to each other. We all need a good laugh now and then.
  • I would like to take more chances, and not play it “safe”. I also want to travel lighter in life.
  • “Someday” and “one of these days” are losing their grip on my vocabulary. If it’s worth seeing, hearing or doing, I want to see and hear and do it now. Why wait, when it may never happen if you do.
  • My goal is to show a cheerful disposition. Try to lift people’s spirits, or surround yourself with people with a knack of doing that for you.
  • Whenever possible, make life a pattern of experiences to savor, not to endure.

Even though I probably have more time to look back on than to look forward to in my life, I’m going to try to live 2017 as if it were my last, while doing everything I can to ensure that it isn’t. For people who take that attitude, the best is always yet to come.

As Peter Drucker puts it “The best way to predict the future is to create it.”

And if you do, you WILL have a better New Year.