Happy New Year!
Many of us take this time of year to reflect upon the last twelve months. For some, this brings peace and a smile to your face. For others, this time of year brings a heaviness and a sense of hopelessness. Whichever category or wherever on the spectrum you find yourself, we hope the new year brings more opportunities for you. An opportunity to maintain the areas of life you’re enjoying or opportunities to change the areas that aren’t as life giving.
As you’re making your New Year’s resolutions and goals, remember to keep them SMART:
Specific - Be specific with your goals.
Instead of saying “I’d like to lose weight” maybe you could revise your goal to “I’d like to decrease my body fat from 26% to 19%.
If you’d like to spend more time with your family, maybe your specific goal could be to have a family game night once a month for the next year.
Measurable - How will you know you’ve reached your goal?
Instead of saying, I'd like to learn to cook more homemade meals this year, maybe you could create a goal of mastering one homemade meal each month. You’ll know when you’ve mastered the meal when your spouse says it tastes good and you no longer need to read the recipe to cook it.
Perhaps you’d like to save more money this year. One way to measure this goal is to watch your savings account. What number are you trying to reach and maintain?
Attainable - Is this goal something that you can achieve?
Can you master five different instruments in one week? Probably not. However, can you learn one new instrument in ten months? Most likely!
Are you trying to fight less with your significant other? That’s a great goal! However, if you’re trying to never fight with your spouse ever again, that might not be quite as attainable. Instead, maybe your goal could be about how you fight. You can choose to always be respectful during a disagreement. You can choose to not raise your voice or to always tackle the problem and not insult the person you’re arguing with. You can also choose to never let a fight last more than twenty four hours, etc.
Realistic - Is this goal realistic?
Training to run a marathon may be a realistic goal. However, training to run a marathon while you’re eight months pregnant may not be.
Are you trying to sleep more? Creating a goal of sleeping at least seven hours a day may be more realistic than trying to sleep eighteen hours a day.
Time bound - What’s the time frame to accomplish this goal?
Wanting to learn a new language is great, but when do you want to learn it by? Perhaps you can learn fifty new verbs in one hundred days?
Perhaps you’re trying to travel more. How many different places do you want to visit and when do you want to travel by?
I hope this acronym was helpful for you as you're creating your goals. The examples provided were to help illustrate the goals and in no way were they meant to be all encompassing.
From us at The Carlton Center, we’d like to wish you a Happy New Year!
Wishing you much love, peace, and joy in this upcoming season. As always, if you’re in need of support and would like us to walk alongside of you as you journey through a tough season, please don’t hesitate to contact us for an appointment! We would consider it an honor to walk with you.
*SMART goals was first developed by George T. Duran.
Written by Jessica Hwang, ALMFT
The loss of a loved one is a major event in anyone’s life. It is a defining moment. It is an experience that can only be fully understood by someone who has experienced the loss of a loved one. It is a day when time stands still. A time when you might question your faith, the purpose of life, and the question “Why God?” may ring constantly in your ears. “Will I ever become normal again? Will I ever find something to laugh or smile about? How can I possibly go on? I don’t want to celebrate holidays because it is just too painful.”
All these feelings and thoughts are perfectly normal and almost expected. It is important that you know that everyone grieves very differently. It is harmful to compare your grieving process or allow others to compare your grieving process to theirs or others. Grief looks very different for each person and even for each loss you experience.
As we draw closer to the holidays, you might be wondering how you are going to make it through and may even be thinking of not celebrating. Holidays can be very painful and a lonely time because you may feel like no one understands and no one even remembers.
Here are a few helpful tips to survive the holidays:
1. Do not fight the feelings of grief and the process of grieving. Prepare for an onrush of sadness, joy, guilt and longing for the presence of your loved one. You may have intense feelings or a moment of sadness. Whatever feeling you experience, don’t fight it and don’t apologize for it. Allow yourself to feel the pain; it’s a healthy part of your recovery. Give your friends and family notice that you may not feel like doing anything or you may withdraw yourself from the festivities or shed tears unexpectedly. Be honest about how you feel. Don’t feel the need to be pretend like you are not hurting.
2. Spend time with friends and family that will allow you to reminisce and share memories of your loved one.
3. Give yourself permission to begin new traditions. Sometimes it’s helpful to start new traditions and ways of celebrating the holidays. This can include a different location, change in decorations, menu, etc. Be creative and possibly include a small part that will always remind you of your loved one.
4. Do something to honor the memory of your loved one. This can include serving at a local food pantry or soup kitchen. It can even be a monetary donation to charity that was important to your loved one.
5. Do what YOU feel like doing. Don’t overschedule yourself or accept invitations out of guilt. If you feel like being alone, do it but don’t allow yourself to get into despair. Have someone you can reach out to if you have feelings of despair. If you want to spend the day in pajamas and read a book or watch movies, do it.
6. Take time to worship with others. Though you may not feel like it, going to church can help you remember where your source of strength comes from. It can be a reminder to hope in God again, to know that God will never leave you He and comforts you in times of grief. The Holy Spirit is our Comforter; we can run to Him. We can open our hearts to Him and allow Him to touch us in that area that hurts.
7. Remember the day will come to an end. Holidays are not forever. Just plan how you will survive the holidays.
Here are some scriptures that you can meditate upon in the grieving process:
Psalms 23:4 (NLT) – Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.
Psalm 27:13-14 (NKJV)
I would have lost heart, unless I had believed That I would see the goodness of the Lord In the land of the living. 14 Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!
Jeremiah 31:13 (NKJV)
“Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, And the young men and the old, together;
For I will turn their mourning to joy, Will comfort them, And make them rejoice rather than sorrow.
Psalm 34:6 (NLT)
In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened; he saved me from all my troubles.
Matthew 5:4 (NIV)
Blessed are those who mourn, For they will be comforted.
Psalm 147:3 (NKJV)
He heals the brokenhearted, and binds up their wounds.
Psalm 119:28 (NKJV)
My soul melts from heaviness; Strengthen me according to Your word.
1 Peter 4:12-14 (NKJV)
Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NKJV)
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
Written by Fiona Arthurs, ALMFT & Clinical Director