New Year’s Resolutions, Fresh Starts, and Ceremony

Dear Vicki: I love New Year’s resolutions! Committing to what I want to accomplish next year makes me happy. Unfortunately, my husband hates the idea. Every year it’s impossible to get him excited about sharing thoughts for the coming year. And when he does finally agree, it’s like the Grinch has moved in. I’m dreading January because I know it will just be one more fight about resolutions. Of course, I could make them alone, but we’ve been together a long time and so much of what happens in my life involves him. How do I get him excited about New Year’s resolutions? Signed: Resolutions for Me

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Dear Resolutions: This is an issue many of us have faced and I believe it can be addressed rather easily with assistance from the Five Elements. Knowing your primary elemental personality and that of your husband will help you approach the subject in a way that might make the idea of resolutions more palatable to him.

The fact that you enjoy coming up with resolutions for the New Year suggests that you are probably a primary Wood personality. The arena of focus for Wood people is the future, and nothing is more future-oriented than creating resolutions for the coming year. In truth, resolutions are really just glorified plans for change and Wood people excel at planning.

Because your husband hates resolutions (rather than just finding them boring, pointless, or silly), I suspect he is probably a primary Metal personality. The arena of focus for Metal people is the past; they excel at synthesizing events that occur over the course of a cycle, be that a month, a season, a lifetime, or longer. Metals are brilliant at looking backward and bringing wisdom forward. But it’s often difficult for them to project themselves into the future; they just don’t think that way, which is probably one reason your husband hates making resolutions.

The idea of making New Year’s resolutions is popular in our culture not because we’re a world of primary Wood personalities. Instead, I think the popularity of resolutions suggests that each elemental personality can and does connect with the idea of a fresh start. So, let’s take a closer look at how each elemental personality responds to the idea of New Year’s resolutions and then we’ll explore a way for you to approach the topic with your husband.

As we said, New Year’s resolutions are a fancy way of formalizing desired changes for the coming year. Wood People are the planners of the Five Elements personalities, so they usually love the idea of making resolutions and will probably stick with them for some time. Wood people have access to the motive power of manifestation, too, which carries them a long way toward a goal. They also have a great deal of structure, which helps them stay focused and on task. How successful Wood personalities are at keeping their resolutions will usually depend on how reasonable their goals were in the first place.

The reasonableness of the resolution takes us to primary Water personalities. Water People are big picture thinkers. They love pondering big questions and dreaming about new ways of looking at and doing things. Imagination sits in Water, so practicality isn’t a big concern for Water people. This means they aren’t likely to create particularly reasonable resolutions. Action and productivity (which sit in the Wood element) aren’t important for Water people either, so their resolutions usually end up more like guidelines rather than concrete plans. The most important part of resolutions for Water People is that they provide fodder for imagination and lively discussions.

Fire People usually find it easy to make New Year’s resolutions. They live in the now, so if the people around them are making resolutions, primary Fire personalities usually make them, too. But while Fire people will approach their resolutions with the best of intentions, their lack of structure often makes it difficult for them to keep resolutions. Also, the enthusiasm Fire people feel for a fun opportunity will usually bring forth a big “Yes!” to almost anything, which often undermines their resolutions. And honestly, by the time something new rolls around, many Fire personalities have forgotten their resolutions, anyway. For Fire people, it’s all about the now.

New Year’s resolutions made by Earth People will usually relate to food or be made to benefit someone else. Primary Earth personalities care deeply about people and causes and want to help others in any way they can. Because of this, Earth people are likely to keep to their resolutions longer than the other elemental personalities, especially if the resolutions make a difference for others. If the resolution helps them personally, they are less likely to stick to it, especially if it involves dieting. Earth people love food and sharing food with others. Anything that curtails that can be a downer for an Earth personality and usually won’t last very long.

Looking at Metal People, we’ve already said that planning and forward thinking aren’t their thing. This means that the making of New Year’s resolutions usually isn’t a good fit for them unless you can convince them that it’s the “right” thing to do or embed it so deeply into the fabric of your life that it becomes a natural part of the season. Unfortunately, neither of these are particularly easy to accomplish with Metal personalities. But there is a way you can encourage your Metal husband to be part of planning for the New Year and that’s through the use of ceremony, something Metal people usually enjoy. Let me explain.

I’m a primary Wood personality married to a primary Metal personality and have dealt with the same issue you face. What has worked for us is a short Five Elements ceremony that we do every year during the first week of January. We begin by looking back over the old year and privately listing for ourselves: a) the high and low points (very Metal), b) what we have learned (very Metal), and c) what we want to release to leave behind in the old year (very Metal). Then we each make a second list of what we hope to take with us into the new year (very Water) and what we hope to manifest in the new year (very Wood). Finally, we make a separate mini list of what we want to release and, after thanking it for the lessons, we burn that mini list (very Fire) to let go of what’s on it (very Metal). Then we toast the New Year (very Earth)!

We have done this ceremony for many years as a way of addressing the New Year’s resolutions issue and it feels good to both of us. I hope it helps you. Best wishes for a fantastic 2020!

2020

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