According to the Oxford Dictionary, a resolution is a firm decision to do or not do something. As one year ends and another begins it can feel like a time to make a New Year’s resolution. Traditionally, resolutions have been made in the arena of health and fitness. A resolution in the coming year is to lose 20 pounds, to walk 10,000 steps a day, to ride or run or swim in a competition.
Making a resolution implies setting a goal.
However, grief, loss, and some aspects of change are not problems to be solved or fixed. What grief has taught me is that it isn’t something to think our way out of. It is something, rather, to live our way through and alongside. When we are going through significant life changes – many of which come with a side of loss – we get to open to them with curiosity.
While there are admirable resolutions, seasons of grief, loss, and change may require a different kind of resolution altogether.
A resolution in this kind of season involves looking in a different direction. Enough change has happened, and it is a time to rest, reflect, or consider restorative practices. It is a time to cease pushing, striving, or hustling and simply be. Be present. Be still. Be in the quiet of the space left from the loss or change. You may resolve to identify your safest places for caring for your tender self.
You may have already discovered that change is exhausting! It can feel nearly impossible to look with tenderness, gratitude, and curiosity at what is unfolding in the present moment. In a watershed moment, you may find yourself learning about and leaning into a future completely different than the one you imagined. You may resolve to give yourself compassionate inner care. You may resolve to go slow, take your time, surrender, and let go of trying to figure it all out.
Threshold moments may have very real pressing concerns such as paying the bills or caring for children or an older parent. If your circumstances are tied to trauma, you may be carrying all kinds of tension and anxiety. You may still feel like you are in fight, flight or freeze mode. A coach, therapist, and trusted friends can help you unpack and identify the most important things to do next. Whomever you trust should be people who listen with the utmost compassion for your circumstances. You may resolve to rely on trusted others for the assistance you need.
If your body has been in fight, flight, or freeze mode or if you have been physically and emotionally laboring through your change, taking good care of your whole self may be essential. When was the last time you saw your primary care doctor, went to the dentist, or had your eyes checked? When was the last time you chose to prepare a really healthy meal for yourself? Sometimes transitions are so challenging that taking care of our very own body goes by the wayside. You may resolve to get back on track with body care.
Maybe recent events have been so challenging that you find yourself wondering when you last had fun. It can feel as if you’ve completely lost track of what fun looks like. What did you do before your watershed moment that was fun? How long has it been since you engaged in that activity? Taking time to be outdoors is one of the most restorative things we can do. When was the last time you took a drive, went for a walk in nature, rode a bicycle, or simply sat on a park bench? You may resolve to rediscover activities that bring you joy. You may commit to getting outdoors for a few minutes every day.
As the year draws to a close and a new year begins, you get to choose what will bring you the most peace, comfort, restoration, and care. You have been through a lot. Carefully consider what will benefit you the most – not in a way of goal setting or success – but in ways that bring you what you need for continued recovery as well as renewal and revisioning your what’s next. You get to choose a new style of resolution for yourself. To really dig in and take good care of your most valuable asset – yourself!