What to Do Before Making Your New Year’s Resolutions

It has already begun.

We’re a week before Christmas, and there are already heaps of articles and posts circulating about New Year’s resolutions. They tell you how to make resolutions, how to keep resolutions, how to join a community with the same resolution, and occasionally why you should not make New Year’s resolutions at all.

But everyone misses something.

I am not surprised that in the U.S. we focus on New Year’s Resolutions: New! Future! Different! Better! Maybe, though, we should slow down before leaping forward into 2015.

What might we learn by looking back at 2014?

Here, I don’t mean reading all the “Best of 2014” lists or the biggest news stories or albums of the year.

What about your year? In particular, what sucked about 2014?

I have a friend and mentor who frequently calls me back to consider that which has already happened, especially what’s been hard. In June, before we moved back to South Africa for this year, he said,

He’s wise, this friend. He knows that big transitions always involve some amount of loss, of lament, of mourning, of grieving. And in our culture (maybe particularly with my personality type), we are quick to run right past this.

But running past the struggle and pain of the last year doesn’t help us. If you don’t reflect and grieve properly, some pain or regret is going to trip you up in the New Year.

2014 has generally been good to me. But despite me putting up a good front, there have been some reasons to grieve…

– I miss my family and friends.
– My job is not as fulfilling while working remotely.
– We have made some costly financial mistakes.
– Some of my dreams have sat for another year.

And so I look out my door at the gathering storm clouds here in South Africa, and I acknowledge that everything isn’t awesome.

Join me. It’s the first step toward the New Year, including some good resolutions.