“Relax” is my word for 2024. At first I was annoyed when I drew this rune from a bag. What do you mean, relax? That’s all I’ve been doing in 2023! But then I thought for a moment. It’s true I’ve been resting a lot to regenerate my health, but relaxing? Not so much. So when I made my annual collage for the New Year, I put that word front and center – and resolved to relax in 2024, come what may.
Have you chosen a word or made a resolution for the New Year? Lutheran minister Nadia Bolz-Weber recommends that you keep your expectations low. “May you expect so little of yourself that you can be super proud of the smallest of accomplishments,” she wrote in a recent blog. “May you expect so little of the people in your life that you actually notice and cherish every small, lovely thing about them. May you expect to get so little out of 2024 that you can celebrate every single thing it offers you, however small. Because you deserve joy and not disappointment.”
I get what she’s saying. Often, we aim so high with our New Year’s resolutions that by July, according to one study, only 46 percent of us are still sticking to them (and if what I see at the gym every year is any indication, we often give up after only a month or two). But maybe the problem is that we’re not setting the right resolutions – ones that really align with who we are and what we want at the deepest level. Maybe being fit, rich, well-liked, organized or even spiritually evolved isn’t the ticket to fulfillment after all. Maybe you’d be happier if you underachieved, overspent or overslept a bit more.
Capricorn is a sign associated with achievement. So it’s natural that on January 1, while the Sun is in the sign of the goat, we’d set goals and attempt to start new things. Yet at least in the Northern Hemisphere it’s the dead of winter, a time to be quiet and go within, take things slowly and not overstrain. Perhaps it’s wise, therefore, to not make any New Years resolutions just now – even if the calendar suggests otherwise.
But hold on – the real New Year is near! The Capricorn New Moon (Jan. 11, 3:57 a.m. PST) gives us a much better opportunity to start afresh. This New Moon at 20 degrees of Capricorn squares the Nodal axis at 20 Aries-Libra, bringing a strong dose of momentum. And, Mars at 5 degrees Capricorn, a sign in which it’s highly functional, exactly trines lucky Jupiter, newly direct in Taurus. Whatever you begin near Jan. 11 will be backed by executive power. This lunation also trines innovative Uranus at 19 Taurus, so it’s an auspicious time to use digital resources to find what you need or connect with like-minded folks.
Also, our friend Mercury, who turned direct on New Year’s Day in late Sagittarius, is starting to pick up speed by the New Moon, and will re-enter Capricorn on Jan. 13. If you make time now to journal, research or meditate on what will really fulfill you in 2024, by Jan. 11 – 13 you could be ready to go for it. Just remember – this doesn’t have to be about building an empire or reaching a mountaintop. It could actually mean simplifying your life, if that’s what’s needed. If your energy has been lacking, you may start feeling more strength or focus by then that enables you to get back to your workouts or take on a new project.
If you’re still a bit hazy on your 2024 resolutions, follow my lead and choose one word to focus on. Resolve to relax, or perhaps be more hopeful. An attitude adjustment can be more beneficial than an all-out physical change. Or, here’s a radical idea from Lori Deschene, founder of the Tiny Buddha blog. “Instead of making a resolution to change yourself,” she advises, “make a resolution to love yourself. Then positive change will come naturally, because we want good things for the people we love, and we know they’re worth the effort.” Here’s to a loving, fulfilling New Year for all!