The thud and whoosh sound followed by the splash of colours brightening the sky. I love fireworks, especially the big displays of New Year’s Eve. Whether it’s sitting in the park, watching from a hilltop or even on television where the display has a music soundtrack, I find joy in the explosive light and sound. It depicts the promise of new life; the darkness can be changed to bright colours.
I’ll confess it hasn’t always been this way. In the past avoidance worked for me. I used to hate New Year’s Eve, people gathered together celebrating the potential for a New Year when I was stuck in grief and of course the inevitable lack of midnight kisses with your loved one to remind me I was alone. It was easy to use the excuse of having young children so we’d stay home and maybe watch the fireworks on TV.
These experiences are common contrasts of recovery at the end of relationship. There is the grief as you process loss stuck in that darkened world ,so overwhelmed by the negative emotions. .
But there is hope when your relationship ends; there is New Life in the Mourning.
Your new life
The start of the New Year should be a time when you think about what you would like that new life to look like.
You are a whole person. You are more than what you do. You are more than the roles you fulfil. You are more than the labels you use to describe yourself. You are created for a purpose, body, soul and spirit.
Your new life is not just about what you would like to do but is more about who you are and what you would like the different dimensions of your new life to look like.
Part of some of the courses I teach and also in coaching people living with chronic health conditions, I explain how to create a vision for your life. The vision is the big picture. Then you create small steps by using goals and an action plan to get there.
Looking at the big picture you may perceive other steps to lead you on the path to the destination. You can also see what you are already doing that is moving you towards the vision and can celebrate that.
You can create the big picture by answering some questions and/or using the ‘Model for Healthy Living’ from the Church Health Centre.
Create the vision
To help you envisage your new life, reflect on the following questions that are in the worksheet:
- What would you do with your time? For money, for creativity, for fun, to help others.
- What would your relationships be like? Who would you spend time with? How would you resolve conflict? What communities would you be a part of?
- How would you look after your body? Nutrition, movement, sleep, fitness, relaxation, managing a chronic condition?
- How would you balance caring for others with caring for yourself?
- How would you nurture your spirituality and sense of purpose and hope?
- How would you look after yourself emotionally? Who and what could support you in this area? What does emotional health look like for you? How would you manage stress?
Now craft a short paragraph from your answers to create your vision. You could start with ‘In 1 or 2 or 5 years time I will…’ or ‘This is my life…’
Or use the Model for Healthy Living following the instructions in the video. The ‘Model for Healthy Living Assessment Wheel’ from the Church Health Centre is a tool for pursuing balance and satisfaction across seven dimensions of health. Reflecting on it can grow your vision for your life. Click here for your copy.
Take small steps
The big picture is your vision of what you would like your life to be. When you know where you want to go, you can plan your journey. You break the big picture down into small steps; steps that are achievable. You set goals for your steps and these move you closer one step at a time to creating the big picture. As you complete a step, you set another goal and gradually walk the path to your destination, creating the reality of the big picture; one step at a time, one goal at a time.
Don’t set multiple in-depth goals in every area your life at the same time. It’s too hard to achieve. Accept that you will go backwards sometimes. You won’t achieve a goal. You may return to behaviours you’ve previously changed, especially during times of stress and you may revert to default coping behaviours. If this happens, with the big picture in mind, celebrate what you have done using a strength based approach and don’t give up. Reset the goal to take another step.
Spend some time thinking about steps that you can do to create your new life. It could be managing an emotion from your grief, learning how to create boundaries in relationships, finding balance between caring for others and caring for yourself as a single parent, investing in your spiritual life, taking a step to improve your physical health through nutrition or movement, or finding a way to be an active contributor in your community through volunteering or work.
It can be helpful to discuss your vision and your goals with another person. Find someone who will encourage, support and help you.
- see the big picture
- look at what motivates you
- look at barriers (such as fears, thoughts, or practical things that might get in the way)
- problem solve when you identify a barrier or don’t achieve a goal
- frame your goals
- create an action plan
- hold you accountable to carry out your action plan or become part of a support group that offers this.
Putting legs on it
Create the vision for your new life
Take small steps to get there
‘How to make a change that sticks’ online course (which is provided free as part of Restoring Balance Retreat or online course). Click here
For more information on Restoring Balance click here
Photo credit : Chris Chadd www.unsplash.com