As a newly separated or divorced person, I remember wanting to make really good new year’s resolutions. Not the typical ones like these…
“I’m going to lose 20 pounds.”
“I’m writing that book I’ve been talking about since 1997.”
“I’m going to cut out red wine.”
“I’m joining a gym and going 7 days a week.”
“I’m going to quit vaping.”
“I’m going to be nicer to my ex.”
What I didn’t realize back then was that being newly separated or divorced is a wonderful time to make real, meaningful, special new year’s resolutions. It’s an opportunity to really get a fresh start; to be done with looking at the past and even looking forward, but rather staying in the present, thinking about what you are grateful for today, what you want you life to be like, and how you are going to get that life–one step at a time.
One thing that I think helps shape great new year’s resolutions is looking back and asking yourself some pretty tough questions. I know I just said to stop living in the past, but if you have the courage to ask some tough questions, and be really honest in your answers, you might find some wonderful new year’s resolutions will be the result.
Here are 17 questions to ask yourself about this past year that might determine and shape your new year’s resolutions:
1. Did I spend enough time with the people I love and care about most?
2. Did I work hard and am I proud of the way I engaged in business with others?
3. Was I self-aware and able to fault myself for things versus blame others all the time?
4. Was I kind to my neighbors and community members?
5. Did I apologize to people when an apology was warranted?
6. Did I take care of myself physically the way I should?
7. Was I present, patient, understanding and loving enough as a parent?
8. Did I have gratitude and thank people when they did nice things for me and my family?
9. Was I charitable, both with my time and my money?
10. Did I love myself and act deserving of happiness?
11. Did I visit the elderly? Help someone get a job? Engage in other kind gestures?
12. Did I have enough fun?
13. Did I list professional goals and have a plan to take small steps to accomplish them?
14. Did I live in the moment enough and not worry about the past or the future?
15. Did I enrich my life with art, music, travel and other hobbies and interests?
16. Did I have empathy for others and did I try to be as open-minded and non-judgmental as possible? Did I respect other people’s decisions, even if I disagreed with them?
17. Did I take time to walk outside and really look at nature and appreciate it?
In closing, I think that these questions are a great place to start when trying to come up with new year’s resolutions during or after divorce. Other new year’s advice to you if you are newly separated or divorced:
* Take a long look at last year and really think about the challenges you faced, how you handled them, and what you want to change.
* Look in the mirror and admit your faults and mistakes, small or large. And then forgive yourself.
* Look in the mirror and reflect on what you did that makes you proud of yourself.
* Remind yourself that change is difficult. No one likes it. It’s uncomfortable. But change is also a huge opportunity and if you work hard, stay patient, and do the right things, change will ultimately end up as a good thing.
I wish everyone all the best in making your new year’s resolutions, and I wish you all a happy, healthy new year!