The Gregorian calendar will soon turn to yet another year, giving us pause to reflect on the passing year and to make resolutions for the coming one. We set ourselves up with grand goals… and usually epically fail to achieve them. So why do we do this to ourselves, setting ourselves up for failure every year? Perhaps we make these resolutions in a fit of new year’s optimism (inebriation?). Or maybe we just forget the promises we’ve made to ourselves as the daily minutia fills yet another year of our lives.
I’m trying a different approach to my resolutions for the coming year – setting a limited number of SMART* goals and prioritizing these according to the impact that each would have on my life. In the end, I’ve chosen four goals for the coming year – the first two of which are entirely unrelated to this blog’s subject matter and don’t bear mentioning here. Goal #3 involves creative ventures, including writing. Its impact on this blog will only be a more regular posting schedule in 2014. I’m still deciding on the frequency of posts, but think it will likely be either weekly or bi-weekly.
In spite of being assigned the lowest priority, Goal #4 is the most important in relation to this meandering, eclectic path of mine:
4. Create and implement a workable annual cycle of rituals.
You would think that after all these years, I’d have something like this set up by now. I don’t and as a result, I tend to be a bit blaise about observing holidays and transitions throughout the year. Statements like “Oh, it’s equinox already?” and “What am I going to do for (insert holiday here)?” have come out of my mouth far too many times. 2013 has been particularly bad, as I observed exactly two holidays in an spiritual way… and neither of those were done well.
I am resolving this year to create a do-able calendar of rituals, something that I can use, not just in 2014, but in future years as well. My plan is to create a series of rituals/activities for each of the holidays that I observe with any regularity (i.e., seasonal transitions and Samhain), as well as a ritual for each of the months that don’t contain a major holiday. In reflecting on the reasons why I haven’t been more consistent with ritual practice, lack of energy/time/spoons ranks highest, with inclement weather and failure to plan also both being factors. All of these things fluctuate in ways that are not predictable and I may find that I have only a small reserve of resources available on the most important days.
Here’s my proposed solution: Create, well in advance, a hierarchy of rituals for each month, preparing for them as much as possible in advance (buying supplies, preparing incenses, etc), and then doing the ritual according to the resources I have at that time. By creating a framework that allows different levels of depth to each ritual, I can provide some flexibility to do the work within the limitations that exist at the time of the ritual. With advanced planning, inclement weather alternatives can be created as well. So, no excuses this year. There will be a regular ritual practice (because I said so dammit).
*SMART = specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-targeted. A more elaborate explanation of this can be found on Wiki.