Although the liturgical year begins, for most Pagans, at Samhein, the secular new year, January 1st, is just around the corner. Now’s a good time to make manifest all of that introspection that we’ve been doing for the past few months. And if magic is, as Uncle Aleister averred, “the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will,” then establishing goals and objectives for the coming year — adopting New Year’s resolutions, if you like — is one of the first steps in what can be an important magical working.
Of course, the standard thing to say about resolutions is that they don’t last. People start off with good intentions and, within a few weeks, they give up on going to the gym, or reading every night to their child, or sitting daily in meditation. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Stories of people who have changed their lives are legion and those changes started with a determination to cause change to occur in conformity with will — whether at the New Year or at some other time.
Here are a few things that I’ve found helpful at changing my own life in conformity with my will:
* Christine Kane‘s “Word of the Year” worksheet is a really valuable tool; I do it every year on secular New Year’s Day. She offers it free, although you do have to give her your email. She’ll send you an occasional inspirational post and/or ad for her coaching, but you can unsubscribe if you don’t want those.
If you try it, let me know, in comments, how you like it. What’s your word for this year?
* I’ve written before about calendars. The calendar is, IMHO, the most important magical tool that anyone can have. A calendar lets you control your time (How many times have we all read that putting down exercise appointments will help us to schedule regular exercise? And it may seem quite simple, but it’s also effective. “No, I can’t do the call at two o’clock; I have a previous appointment. How about four, instead?” Works for daily practice, too). It lets you track your progress (a simple check mark next to each kept exercise appointment, a tally on the last day of the month, a star or pentacle next to every fifth success). It lets you break your goals into doable chunks (noting on the 15th of each month that it’s time to put money into savings, writing weight goals at the beginning of each week, scheduling the dates by which you’ll have found a yoga studio, registered, gone to the first class, etc.) Find a calendar that you like — electronic, desk, or wall — cast a circle, and start causing your life to change in conformity with your will.
* A friend of mine puts the two ideas together and writes his word on the year on each page of his desk calendar. There it is, reminding you what’s really important each time that you check to see what appointments you have and whether you have time for another one.
* I’ve always found clearing away clutter and getting rid of the detritus of the prior year to be a great way to let my Younger Self know that I’m serious about making changes. In Thinner This Year Chris Crowley suggests starting off the first day of a diet and exercise program by doing a big physical project — a really long bike ride, for example — just to convince yourself (I’d say “Younger Self”) that you’re serious and that this is the beginning of something big.
How do you convince Younger Self that you’re serious?
* And, then, there’s this very good advice from my brilliant friend:
Picture found here.