Dec 13, 2018 - Things to Do

I won’t miss 2018 — here are 4 things I’m doing to get back on track in 2019

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2018 is ending, and I for one won’t miss it.

You’re like me if your year included divorce, losing a loved one, getting fired, financial trouble or all of the above. Some of us are leaving this year with a lot more baggage than we had on New Year’s Day.

How do you come back from that? How do you piece your life back together? Here are the four things I’m doing to get back on track in 2019.

1. Mourn what I lost.

We’re allowed to feel bad. Not giving myself the proper time to experience loss has left me stunted in the past. If someone were to speed through mourning a spouse’s affair, for example, that bitterness could pop back up in a new relationship.

I used to mourn passively. I was sad only when I had time to be sad, like after work or between social commitments, but sadness can’t be scheduled. Mourning needs to be active. I will carve out time, spaces and even activities with the sole purpose of allowing me room to be sad.

2. Take stock of what I still have.

“I lost everything” is the most inaccurate way to describe how you’re feeling.

If someone got fired, they lost their job. If someone got divorced, they lost their marriage. I would never trivialize those things, but I do find relief in realizing my life is much more than a job or marriage.

No matter what I lose, I still have my work ethic. I still have my belief in love. I still have my hobbies. I still have my dreams.

In fact, most losses also lead to gains. Losing a parent could make one closer to their siblings. Having a failed business could make someone better at budgeting.

It’s important that I make acquaintance with the new me, the person who has lost big things, but not everything, and has exciting new skills ready for a new year.

3. Outline my practical problems.

I don’t think I have real problems. A real problem is like your village is being bombed by rebels or there are snakes on your plane. Those are problems.

I have situations I confuse with problems. It’s easy to do, and lots of people do it. Being single for the first time in 20 years, for example, is not a problem – it’s a relationship status. Living in a tiny apartment because you lost your house is not a problem – it’s a living space.

It’s easy to wallow in my situations, because I can’t change them. People are afraid to approach their true problems because those actually require personal responsibility. What are the practical concrete problems I have? Taking note of those, rather than dwelling on my situation, is going to be key to bouncing back next year.

4. Create actionable steps to tackle them one at a time.

The cool thing about practical problems is they have practical solutions. Yes, all of them.

Once I peel away the vagueness of my Big Issues, the practical problems that dogged me in 2018 are more approachable. Coming up with actionable strategies, things I can do, is the only way to knock them out. There needs to be a verb in there.

If my fear of commitment caused a long-term girlfriend to leave? It’s time to go to therapy to figure out why commitment frightens me. If the business I sunk my life savings into was a flop, it’s time to budget around my new financial reality and apply for jobs where my new skills come in handy.

In 2019, all pity parties are canceled. We’re out here re-building our lives and enjoying becoming the new us.

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