Here comes New Year’s Eve! What will you make from it? A fun evening? A window into the vastness of space and time? Steps towards a better life, a better you? All of these are possible!
New Years Resolutions
New Year’s resolutions fail so reliably that they have become the butt of jokes, right? Like “My new year’s resolution is to force myself to drink at least 1 beer a week.”, right? Sure. After all, human beings very often fail resolutions in general, especially when they are not small, incremental, measurable, and carefully tracked. Change is hard.
However, a study show that New Years Resolutions are over 1000% more likely to succeed than the same resolutions made at ordinary dates during the year! Granted, this was one small study (n=282), but it shows something we Naturalistic Pagans already know: that symbolism, ritual, and special dates are powerful ways to influence our brains. Here we see placebo magic used successfully by millions of people the world over, without knowing it!
What do you want to improve in 2023?
Here is an opportunity to use this magic for your, in your life. What do you want to improve in your behavior? How can you make that goal small, incremental, measurable, and carefully tracked? For instance, Let’s say you wanted to start your Pagan practice. The New Years Resolution of “I resolve to do Pagan practices more often.” is very likely to fail, especially compared with the New Year’s Resolution of “I resolve to read this short Sun gratitude spell aloud nearly every Sunday night, and will track it”, which is much more likely to lead to a long term change in behavior.
With that in mind, here is a resource: “Starting a Naturalistic Pagan Practice”! Woo hoo!
Do you know friends who would also like to start a Pagan practice? Could you start together? Could you help encourage each other and report progress? Resolutions are much more likely to succeed with even just one other person to stay on track with – and that’s true even if the other person is starting a very different practice, such as, say, the 5 daily prayers required by Islam.
As with past years, our family will celebrate our vast Universe, using the Cosmic Calendar, on New Year’s Eve. This year, for the first time in the ~14 billion year history of our Universe, all of us can do so with a synchronized web page! Check it out here, and watch the events come faster and faster as we approach midnight on December 31! We’ll have this up on the big screen in the living room – it’s a lot more powerful than a ball drop! It’s worked for the first year, and is going strong!
However you are celebrating, whatever your New Year’s resolutions are (or none), may your celebrations be fun, and your 2023 magical!
The Author: Jon Cleland Host
Starstuff, Contemplating: We are assemblages of ancient atoms forged in stars – atoms organized by history to the point of consciousness, now able to contemplate this sacred Universe of which we are a tiny, but wondrous, part.
Dr. Jon Cleland Host is a scientist who earned his PhD in materials science at Northwestern University & has conducted research at Hemlock Semiconductor and Dow Corning since 1997. He holds eight patents and has authored over three dozen internal scientific papers and eleven papers for peer-reviewed scientific journals, including the journal Nature. He has taught classes on biology, math, chemistry, physics and general science at Delta College and Saginaw Valley State University. Jon grew up near Pontiac, and has been building a reality-based spirituality for over 30 years, first as a Catholic and now as a Unitarian Universalist, including collaborating with Michael Dowd and Connie Barlow to spread the awe and wonder of the Great Story of our Universe (see www.thegreatstory.org, and the blog at evolutionarytimes.org). Jon and his wife have four sons, whom they embrace within a Universe-centered, Pagan, family spirituality. He currently moderates the yahoo group Naturalistic Paganism.