As we prepare for a new calendar year, many of us engage in an annual exercise of making resolutions. We resolve to do better as a parent, as an employer, as a person. We make lists of what we want to do to improve our self-image.
But, if you are like me, this often ends as an exercise in futility. When I have made resolutions in the past, I usually am very good for a few days. Then after a week, I begin modifying them because they do not seem achievable. A couple of more weeks go by and I find that I am not even thinking about them. Eventually they fade into the duties of daily existence.
I think one of the problems is that most of our resolutions to change fail to take into account what is being lost when we do a new thing. If we resolve to spend more time helping others, it is important for us to also resolve to give up some of the things that keep us from doing that. For example, if I resolve to give my time to feeding the homeless, I may have to give up some TV time (a Sunday afternoon NFL game? Yikes!). If I am not willing to lose something, odds are that I will not be able to fulfill my good intentions for the future.
To love a new life, one must lose some of the old life so that there is room for the new. One must grieve the loss of that old life so it doesn't maintain control of our time in the future. Resolutions function to help us know our desires as well as our addictions to certain present behavior.
As you make your resolutions for 2014, make a list of what you are going to give up in order to achieve them. Then grieve that loss and there will be room for the new.