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Turning our Resolutions into Goals

It’s the second of January and many of you may be reading the resolutions you wrote for the New Year. Are you wondering how you are going to accomplish these resolutions? Do they sound unattainable, or more of a wish list than anything else? How do we go about turning our resolutions into goals?

What is a Resolution?

Any resolution, in the context of a New Year’s resolution, is defined as a firm decision to do, or not to do, something. Did you write a resolution to stop overeating? Perhaps your resolution was to spend more time with your family. Loftier resolutions may involve learning a new language, securing better employment or writing your first novel. Maybe you’ve decided to resolve a bad situation or habit and perhaps replace it with a new and better one. No matter what your resolution, nine out of ten times these resolutions are started, then abandoned or forgotten altogether. Why? Because at this point they are just thoughts written upon paper. There is no concrete plan on how to accomplish them. We need to understand how to make our ideas work by turning our resolutions into goals.

Creating Goals

The difference between a resolution and a goal seems simple enough. Goals, as defined, are an idea of the future or desired result in which a person or a group of people envisions, plans and commits to achieve them. As you can see, where a resolution was a decision, a goal is how we accomplish getting there. Turning your resolutions into your goals is not quite as difficult as you may think. Below are few steps to get you started on turning your resolutions into goals.

  • Take your written resolutions and reword them into goal form. – For example, if you wrote you wanted to stop overeating you would state in your goal “I will reduce my food intake by half.”
  • Establish a timeline. – Using our example of overeating we could say – Week 1: Eat only 4 ounces of meat. Week 2: Remove starchy foods and replace with vegetables.
  • Give an end date to your goal. – Be firm but realistic. Set it for three, six months or even a year. Give yourself time but don’t be so generous as to forget where you were going with your goals.
  • Re-read your goals. – Are your goals realistic? How about your end dates? If the goals seem unattainable – chop them into smaller, bite size pieces. Instead of just the one goal of reducing your food intake by half your first goal would be to stop snacking. Your next goal would be to reduce breakfast by half. The next goal, lunch amounts reduced, etc.

Don’t be afraid to create and plan for large goals, just keep them manageable by dividing the tasks into chunks, By doing so you are more likely to hit each goal on target and keep yourself motivated.

Achieving your Goals

Now that you have changed your resolutions into goals and given yourself a timeline for each, it’s time to achieve those goals. Starting now, right this moment! Don’t hesitate in beginning to move forward, momentum is key here. The faster you begin the more likely you are to succeed. It’s a proven fact that most of us procrastinate, a lot. The longer we tell ourselves that we will “get to it tomorrow” the less likely you are to ever start.

In the list below are some proven ideas to get yourself started and to stay on track to achieving your goals.

  • Rewrite your goals and timeline in fancy script or type them and print on colored paper. This cements the goals into your mind as well as making them easy and pleasant to read and reread.
  • Hang the goals where they are likely to be seen every day. Tape them to a mirror, the front door, the refrigerator, any highly visible place.
  • Make the goals into a “to do” list on your phone, iPad, Kindle or laptop.
  • Add your goal dates to your calendar.
  • Cross your goals off of your written/typed list as you complete them. Use a vivid red or brightly colored pen to mark them off, giving yourself a visual reminder as to how much you’ve already accomplished.
  • Give yourself a treat for each item accomplished. Have a spa day, buy a little something special for yourself, take a day off to just play. Rewarding yourself for a job well done helps to keep you motivated and happy to move onto the next task. You may even want to add the reward to your goals list so you know what you have to look forward to next.

Accomplishment is its own reward.

Turning our resolutions into goals will increase our success rate in keeping our yearly resolutions. Having goals helps you to progress a bit each day towards what you want to bring into (or out of) your life. So next December 31st, instead of having unrealized resolutions you will have reached your goals, giving you a wonderful sense of accomplishment, peace and pride in the fabulous year you have lived.

May you accomplish all your goals with ease, joy and great success.

Blessed Be!

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New Year, New Witch

Blessed Samhain and a Happy Halloween to all. I’ve been looking forward to this day all year!  It is a time steeped in lore, traditions, mystery and fun. It’s the one day of the year I can run amuck, dressed in my witchy finery and no one bats an eye. Then, when the last of the candy and goodies have been given out and the last little goblin is home in bed, the ritual area is set, the fire is lit and the serious work of Samhain begins.

In many traditions Samhain is thought of as the Witches’ New Year and it is has always been so in my household.  While much of the focus of this season is on the thinning veil and working with our ancestors – a  worthy focus and one I share – I have another ritual I perform every Samhain, one I wish to share with you here.

On the calendar New Year, January 1st, it is a tradition here in the States to make resolutions and goals for the coming year.  We decide what changes we wish to make in our lives, write them down, tell our friends and then find ways to accomplish them. Goals such as “I will lose 20 pounds this year.” or ” I resolve to drink less and exercise more” are often made in haste or even during a frenetic celebration (I’ve heard more than one resolution being made after several glasses of champagne). These goals and resolutions don’t seem to last very long, some are even forgotten after the first week.

While I can be heard making these types of resolutions during the calendar new year, on Samhain, I perform a ritual where I make firm, binding resolutions and goals, all pertaining to where I wish to take my Craft in the upcoming year. These goals can be as simple such as increasing my meditation time, to the complicated – learning the Kabbalah or a new divination technique. No matter what the goal may be, it is something that I feel, at that time, is something I desire to make, create or nurture for the year.

Unlike the haphazard way I seem to make my calendar new year goals, my resolutions and goals made at Samhain are done during ritual, in sacred space.  Here, where the Gods observe and listen, they take on an importance, a spiritual commitment, that the other resolutions do not.  Those things I write down and then recite to the Universe, become a pledge to Goddess and the Universe to do my utmost to make these goals a reality.  Once ritual is complete I place those goals on the wall above my altar where they are a daily reminder of the vows I have given to myself and the Gods.

Each day of the year I do one thing to help myself achieve those goals.  If it is a new technique I wish to learn I order books, research, find an instructor and get as much information as I can about it.  I then study, absorb and practice, practice, practice.  If the goal is more ephemeral, such as planning a single ritual or creating a sacred object, I set short-term goals to accomplish it along with a time-line for completion. 

Yes, I sometimes falter, misstep, or fail altogether.  Life can get in the way, and the Goddess often decides that what is in my best interest isn’t always what I think I need to do.  But I try, each and every day, to achieve those goals, to heed the resolutions that I have made.  Is it easy? No, but having been initiated during Samhain, in ritual, they seem somehow more obtainable. It’s as if you have your ancestors, the Universe, the Gods, beside you, encouraging you, urging you on. You can’t help but be successful with that kind of cheering section. Just remember to stay focused, put forth the effort and enjoy the journey.

At year-end, the day before Samhain, I take those goals off the wall and review them.  Did I accomplish everything?  If not, do I know why?  Are some of these goals still in progress? What do I need to accomplish this year? I then sit, write down a first draft of my new goals and resolutions. I then meditate, read them again, polish it up and commit to a final list.  This I take with me to ritual the next day. The circle is complete and I am ready for the upcoming new year.

I encourage you this Samhain to start your own tradition of the Witches’ New Year Resolutions.  Create or re-create the witch, the magickal practitioner, that you’ve always wanted to become. Let your heart take you places you’ve never been and allow the Universe, the ancestors, and the Gods show you what you are capable of. Remember, new year, new witch.  Make this the best year, the best you, ever.

Blessed Be!