It started on a car ride to the mall for my daughter’s 9th birthday yesterday. The end of December is always this hectic, in a “I’m way too bloody busy feeling”, between Solstice, Christmas and two birthdays- and I won’t complain that New Years and a 3rd birthday are soon to follow. December 29 and 30th are ME days. Where I can recover my breath for 2 days.
On this car ride, I was thinking of resolutions and life purposes and all those things that I’m not sure why would come up in the car. As I watched the world pass by at 70mph, I was trying to plan what I'd like to look for- some new jeans, a new shirt or two, a coat, some geeky goodies, but that's not really what was on my mind. At one point I even had to grab my phone and type something.
Perhaps our purpose in life is to experience life. To dance to our soul's song, our Star and the Universe. To find others who’s soul resonates with our own. To feel…To dig out hands in the soil of the earth and connect with the seasons. Are we truly experiencing our corporeal bodies?
And then this morning, I saw two images posted and both resonated with me in some way. One was someone discussing their thoughts on resolutions and why they hated them. I disagree with the idea of dismissing resolutions completely, although I do get their reasons. I honestly felt like they were focusing on one perspective of New Years resolutions and that's the broader, capitalistic sell. We've all gotten email after email over the years, selling these types of resolutions: get thinner, get prettier, lose weight and look great this upcoming summer in a bikini! Fit that little black dress. Stop eating carbs forever so you can make your ex eat his heart out! Make your husband fall in love with you all over again, by getting down to a size tiny waist and big breasts!
And then I cam across this image, that says “Ditch the resolutions.
To resolve means to find a solution to a problem.
You are not a problem.
The way you showed up for your life the past year was necessary for your growth.
Now is a time to reflect. To learn. To create an intention, a positive call to shift, a spark of magic + manifestation rooted in self-love and backed with action.”
It makes some sense. You aren't a problem, and from the perspective of "change yourself to get rid of the problem" there is an inherent toxic positivity that needs to be dropped. However, I quickly realized that the latter part of that statement is…a resolution. The concept of resolution doesn’t come from the word resolve, but the word resolute. Resolute is defined as “admirably purposeful, determined, and unwavering”. Umm, I'm not sure if that's just me, but that sounds amazing, and it's more of what I think of when I think of resolutions. It's how I want to approach any of my life planning and goal setting.
We can make resolutions any time. March 3. April 24. July 17. September 5. Resolutions are not limited to the new year. New Years is a good time though, isn’t it? The end of one year (and in our modern times, the end of some really shitty years) and the start of a new one. A new year represents hope, or it can…and yeah, sometimes that hope fades quickly. I firmly believe that cycles are not set and sometimes the world is gonna go through some bad times- that might last a year, it might last 5 years. Hell, the dark ages lasted 1000 years, give or take 100. And humanity survived (maybe barely…) so promises are set in stone, but to me, New Years always feel like a dawn...we don't know what each day will bring, but we can pick how we greet it.
I want to share my own view and practice of New Years resolutions. I’ve outgrown New Years resolutions as a way to “get back on track *and the treadmill” or anything physical. I tend to think of Solstice to around January 10 to be a more liminal time- a space between years where I can rethink my life goals and purposes. I do a lot of journaling, and vision boards.
What will make me happy?
What do I want to bring more of in?
What do I wish to see less of?
What do I focus on?
What do I need to drop?
I also like to use this time to rest and reflect both on the previous year, and the upcoming year. All the negative and unwanted things are things I'm going to release- sometimes literally. I will throw them into my fire, or candle, and even toss the ashes into my nearby creek.
What was really good last year?
What was really bad? Could I have changed the bad? (*2020 the answer was no. 2021 was probably the same.)
What self care worked, and what should I include more of this year? (The answer is baths with bath bombs! And more camping.)
What shadow work did I do, and what more needs to be done?
And finally, I start listing what I’d like to achieve in the next year. These don’t have to be “goals” but purposes as well. This is where my vision board comes into play.
I’d like to camp more.
I’d like to visit a few National Parks, including a few out West.
I’d like to increase my meditation time.
I’d like to cook more fresh meals.
I’d like to work on being more organized, both around my time, and my space.
I’d like to write more.
I’d like to focus on experiencing more, and being less focused on materialism.
I’d like to read more.
I'd like to spread my fire and light to others who wish for it, or need it.
While things like physical changes are not usually my focus, they do get included if I want them to be. I’ve had years where they were my focus, usually because of health reasons. This year will be one of those years- but instead of giving an exact goal like “I want to lose 20lbs”, I will probably write something like “I’m going to incorporate more physical activity in my daily life” (and then write them in SMART goals format), “I want to drink more water and herbal teas to be hydrated” and “I want to focus on better nutrition”. Again, eventually they are put into a Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-based format- but that’s not my focus at this time.
Resolutions are not inherently bad. Our capitalist society might place more value and stress on certain things, and that, of course, is just silly. But the changing of years can be magical if we believe it to be- and it is a good time for meaningful change or direction. It’s a perfect time to sow seeds of intent and manifestation. But more importantly, like every day, this is our time, defined. If you don’t want to make resolutions or set intentions at this time, don’t. And if you do, you should! Create this time and every time in a way that is meaningful to you.
admirably purposeful, determined, and unwavering
And really, with that, we can combine both the "Now is a time to reflect. To learn. To create an intention, a positive call to shift, a spark of magic + manifestation rooted in self-love and backed with action" with "admirably purposeful, determined, and unwavering" and we find ourselves in a powerful position to take control of what we need to take control of. Our lives, our beliefs, our practice and our selves. For me, at least, as a priestess serving a Goddess of sovereignty, that's a compelling and mighty spell. Perhaps instead of New Year's resolutions, we can call it New Years Intentions and Manifestations, powered by our bad ass resolute self.