Welcome to the Sea Witch's guide to setting (and keeping) your 2022 New Year's resolutions!
Widely acknowledged markers of the passage of time may seem arbitrary, but the fact is that they do offer a psychological boost of energy for embarking on new things! Yes, you can absolutely set goals whenever the spirit moves you, but there is power in the energy of patterns, and the tradition of setting new goals on the eve of the new year is a great opportunity to harness some of that power for yourself.
In this blog, we'll talk about how to narrow down and phrase your goals for the best chances of success, and then we'll walk through a simple bit of green witch spell work to help you manifest your new reality.
What you'll need:
- A whole bay leaf, any dried leaf that can be burnt and written on, or a small bit of compostable paper.
- A writing utensil whose markings will show up on your leaf or paper.
- Ginger, cinnamon, chamomile, or any herbs in your pantry that are associated with the sun, the element of fire, or ideas of strength, determination, or success.
- A mortar and pestle (optional).
- Incense or dried herbs to burn.
- A walnut, chestnut, tree knot, sea shell, or other compostable casing.
- A candle.
- A S.M.A.R.T. resolution.
What is a SMART resolution?
A SMART resolution is one that is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. (This is a goal-setting acronym we're borrowing from the business world.)
Answer any what, why, who, where, and which questions that are relevant. What do you want to accomplish? Why is it important (what's your motivation)? Who is involved? Where is this happening? Which resources or limitations exist?
Let's use an example: We might start with something like, "I want to have a more positive relationship with - and attitude about - my body." That's a great start! But by giving ourselves time to flesh out the idea with specifics, we both hone our intention and begin to manifest our goal.
An expansion might look like: "By this time next year, I'd like to see myself spending significantly less of my time obsessing about my body, so that I can focus and work on more important and fulfilling things. I want to address and rewrite my internalized fatphobia and learn to see myself with loving eyes so that when I look in the mirror or see myself in pictures, my emotional reaction is neutral, or even positive, instead of traumatic."
Goals like the one above are harder to measure than say, quitting smoking, but specifics like "spend less of my time obsessing" are observable if you journal about your progress - even if it's just every once in a while. Marking your progress will help you see results as well as flaws in your approach, so mark a few new moons on your calendar as viewpoints for you to pull over and look back over how far you've come and where you've struggled. These are excellent times for ritual baths.
Is this goal realistic and attainable for you considering your current reality? Can you lay out a plan for how you're going to get there?
Do you give a flying fish about this goal? How will it change your life for the better?
Mark off your new moon viewpoints, set your deadlines, and kick-start your broomsticks.
Set your ritual space
Tidy a surface or space on the floor, lay out your altar cloth, candles, incense, and supplies listed above. Light candles and incense.
Write your resolution as a manifestation
After fleshing out your resolution, you'll condense it again with more thorough understanding, so it fits onto your leaf. Rephrase the statement so there are no negatives or aspirations, only positives and certainties. So, instead of, "I want to quit smoking," you could write, "I am a non-smoker." Instead of "I will finish writing a novel" or "I'll get my first book published", you could write, "My novel is complete." or "I am a published author."
Using our first example, our leaf might say, "I love and accept my body."
Write the statement on a full bay leaf and set it aside.
Outline your plan
Write it down so you can see how possible it is. You can totally do this!
Using our body love example, our steps might look like this:
- Unfollow any account on social media that glorifies thinness, promotes diets or exercise plans specifically for weight-loss, shows weight-loss before-and-afters, or displays fatphobia in any way.
- Follow fat content creators. Fill your social media feeds with body-affirming images and messaging, with every single beautiful fat model you come across, with fat artists, writers, and tiktokers who dare to exist as fat people on the internet and look confident and awesome doing it.
- Ditch clothes that don't fit. If your pants feel tight, put on a dress, or go get new pants because you deserve pants that fit you! When the way your clothes feel or the way you look in them starts making you uncomfortable and your brain starts criticizing your body, challenge that narrative and remind yourself it's never your body that's wrong - it's the clothes.
- See yourself as art. Treat yourself to at least one professional boudoir or nature photoshoot, where you are the model. In the wise words of Moira Rose, "Take a thousand naked pictures of yourself, now!" Not only because they may be a treasure to you later, but because they can help change the way you see yourself in the present. It's hard to look at a beautiful piece of art and not admit that the person in it makes it beautiful.
- Whenever possible, spend time around fat people who aren't ashamed of their bodies and avoid spending time with people who perpetuate fatphobia but if you must, start challenging it when it comes out of their mouths!
Feel it, Speak it, Unleash it
Visualize what your life looks and feels like in this new reality. Put yourself there and imagine how you will feel having accomplished this. Burn your statement over the candle as you repeat it aloud. Watch the fire transform this tactile representation of your imagined future into particles too small for your eyes to track. Witness the essence of your manifestation be expelled from its written form into swirling tendrils of smoke. See how it goes forth from your hands to become enmeshed with the fabric of the universe, its energy expanding and mingling with this reality, altering and affecting it, becoming inextricably, irrevocably part of it.
Drop the burnt leaf into your mortar, and add your herbs. As you grind the ashes of your manifestation together with your spices, call upon their invigorating properties, asking for stamina, determination, and success. If you don't have a mortar and pestle, that's fine! Your burnt leaf will crumble between your fingers, and you can always use ground spices from the pantry, or cut/crush fresh ones however you see fit.
Cleanse and fill your vessel
Swirl the tip of your lit incense stick around the inside of your compostable container as you speak aloud to banish unwanted energies and imbue the vessel with your own. Fill the vessel with the ground mixture, close it, and seal with candle wax.
Return it to the Earth
Now you will want to find the right place to bury the remains of your work, so that it returns to the Earth just as the smoke of your manifestation has rejoined the Air. (This is why your vessel and note must be compostable!) You may find that a place in your yard or garden works just fine, or you may want to take a stroll or even a hike to find the right place to leave your shell. (Just make sure you're not digging on someone else's property!) You may also consider dropping your spell inside of a tree knot, leaving it under a large rock, or adding it straight into a compost pile.
Bring it into a shared reality
Tell your chosen family about your resolution and your plan. Ask them to imagine your success and support you by believing with you in its inevitability. You can of course also ask them to help keep you accountable, but even just speaking your goals aloud helps to solidify them.
Check your limiting beliefs
As you move forward with this goal in mind, notice the things you say to yourself without thinking, the stories you tell yourself throughout the day. How do you talk to yourself? Once you start noticing the thoughts you habitually accept, you can start to challenge them. Words and attitudes MATTER: Unfortunate things do not "always" happen to you. You do not "never" get what you want.
And don't let sneaky questions and self-deprecating confirmation bias slip past your notice! When you drop something or forget your keys somewhere, does your brain ever go, "Well OF COURSE that would happen to ME"? Why “of course”? Don't let yourself accept that narrative. It's just a thing that happened! It is not proof of a pattern or a reflection of your worth.
Ever ask yourself things like "What is wrong with me?" or "Why can't I do this?" Notice how there's no good answer to those questions? That's because they're not really questions, they're sneaky insults. They come with assumptions like "something is wrong with me" and "I can't do this". Don't buy it! And don't be ashamed to have a full-on argument with yourself in your head about it, as many times as you need to.
Give yourself grace
When you catch your internal monologue repeating one of those habitual, negative thoughts, don't beat yourself up about it. When you catch yourself beating yourself up about it, don't beat yourself up about that either.
When you falter in your plan, forgive yourself, and try again. Treat yourself with the gentleness your inner child needs.
Change can be incremental, subtle, and nuanced. Neither healing nor growth are linear. You are here, wanting to better yourself, taking the first steps to making it happen. That's huge. It's often the hardest part. So celebrate the person you are now, the one who has decided to be even better. You right now are the one who made that decision. It's already in you! It's already happening. Expect it.