No New Year's Eve Date? Create a Gratitude Memory or Memoir

Instead of resolutions, create a memory or write a memoir.

Posted Dec 29, 2017

Copyright Rita Watson 2017
Source: Copyright Rita Watson 2017

As the New Year approaches, people often make resolutions or fret about not having a New Year’s Eve date. Forget the resolutions and forget kissing under the mistletoe or watching the fireworks with a special someone. Instead consider this time alone as a gift to yourself to rest, to dream, to forgive, to begin your 40 minute gratitude memoir.

The resolutions: New Year is a time to consider making changes such as giving up old habits, dieting or joining a gym.  We learned from Dai, Milkman, and Riis, the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, of “The Fresh Start Effect: Temporal Landmarks Motivate Aspirational Behavior.” People often feel the need to make resolutions, which oftentimes do not last. The authors of this 2014 study noted:

"We propose that these landmarks demarcate the passage of time, creating many new mental accounting periods each year, which relegate past imperfections to a previous period, induce people to take a big-picture view of their lives, and thus motivate aspirational behaviors."

What is important is the recognition that you can do better. Then by expressing gratitude you can reinforce your determination to find a path to change. 

No date for the midnight mistletoe moment? It really isn’t necessary.  Why have we bought into this?  Here are four alternative thoughts.

1. Consider the peacefulness of no date and read: 14 Tips to Overcome Those Alone on Saturday Night Blues.

2. Choose to review the old year, express gratitude for the good and the sad, and then look forward to the New Year with joyful anticipation. What to Do When You Have Nothing to Do.

3. View the night alone as a gift to yourself -- a time to dream: Seven Days to Your Heart's Desire. 

4. Write a 40 minute New Year’s Eve memory as the start of your 2018 memoir.The Mini-Memoir.

Your New Year’s Eve Memoir

Ask yourself these questions and as you write out the answers, you will have the makings of a memoir.

  1. What was New Year’s Eve like for you as a child?
  2. Did you celebrate with your family or did you live in a home in which there was no celebration when the clock struck midnight?
  3. When did you first attend a New Year’s Eve party?  Was it thrilling or a let down?
  4. What was the best part of the New Year for you when growing up?
  5. Did your town have New Year’s Eve fireworks and, if so, did you get to stay up to watch them?
  6. Did you ever make a New Year’s resolution?  Did you keep it or break it right away?
  7. How had you wished to celebrate New Year's Eve 2017 and how are you finding an alternative?
  8. If you were to write a memoir, is there a family member or friend who might help you remember some of the happy or exciting moments?
  9. Which member of your family would be the most interesting to interview? Why? Because of their customs, their cooking, their jobs, their ability to make you feel loved?
  10. Who in your family or circle of friends can help you find a positive moment in a sad memory?

Not all memories are happy ones.  While memoir writing can be therapeutic, it can also be painful. Jungian analyst John A. Sanford, in his book Healing and Wholeness, wrote, "Our life must have a story in order for us to be whole.  And this means we must come up against something, otherwise a story cannot take place." If you did come up against a problem or illness, you can be grateful for your life today.

Power of forgiveness

If you are having difficulty with gratitude, simply start making a list of all that you have that brings you joy. Go from room to room in your home and express thanks.  Just one room? Look around and be grateful. Then look into your heart. Are there hurtful places or people?  Wish them well. Detach. Then watch the magic unfold. A memoir is simply one memory at a time.

Copyright 2017 Rita Watson