Sarah Beth Hunt

writer on a journey in search of oracles, alchemists and hidden doors to wisdom

Forget New Year’s Resolutions – try New Year’s Mantras or Animal Cards instead!

February 1, 2016

It’s the beginning of February, and we are officially one month into 2016.  Which probably means that whatever New Year’s Resolutions you made a long five weeks ago have already started to unravel at the seams.

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If that sounds familiar, then we’re in the same boat.  I had big plans this year–more running, more meditation, more patience… Hmmm…

I do love New Year’s – not for the parties, for the resolutions, for the new beginnings.  New Year’s makes me feel, for a brief moment, like I can really be the person I want to be and can really transform my life into the life I want to be living.

I’ll never give up on New Year’s Resolutions because I do love them.  And because I value that time to reflect on the past year, what I’ve enjoyed and done well, what I’d like to change.  But I have also learned to go easy on myself because nothing transforms over night and even caterpillars take a full 7-10 days to become butterflies–which is about half of their entire life!

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But each New Year’s, I now do something beside set slightly idealistic goals for myself.  I also choose an Animal for the year.  I have a pack of Animal Cards which includes about fifty different Native American animals and a book that explains what lessons each animal can teach us.  The tradition was passed down to me from my best friend’s brother who lives in a log house he built himself and is probably much more in touch with the real-life versions of these animals.  For those of us in the UK, or in urban North America, these animals will be a bit more rare.

These cards do not fit into any clear part of my belief system–they are just fun (for me a bit like reading my horoscope in a magazine), but each year I have to admit that there were some resonances between the experiences of the year and the animal card I had chosen.  Last year, for example, I drew the Beaver.  The Builder.  The Beaver teaches the power of working and building your dreams.  Beaver calls upon you to put your ideas into action or complete some project that has been neglected.  And oh boy did I use Beaver ‘medicine’–my husband and I finally bought our first home (which needed lots of remodelling) and I also FINALLY published my novel, my oh-so-neglected dream project.


This New Year’s the card I drew from the pile was Owl.  Owl is a bit more ominous in its lesson.  Owl is called ‘night eagle’, is at home in the darkness and is able to see that which others cannot.  “Where others are deceived, Owl sees and knows what is there.”  Makes me wonder what lies ahead of me this year…

Animal medicine cards are fun, and put an interesting spin on my reflections about the upcoming year.  But by far the BEST New Year’s advice I have heard this year is in the form of my friend’s New Year’s Mottos.  Sick of making resolutions, a friend of mine has instead decided on 3 mottos for 2016:

I have enough.

I am pretty happy.

I am doing my best.

Sometimes accepting ourselves as we are right now, rather than following our society’s compulsive urge to change change change, and improve improve improve, might just be the wisest thing to do in 2016.

What about you?

Any New Year’s Resolutions you’re still committed to? Or are you throwing resolutions out the window and adopting New Year’s Mottos instead?

I always love hearing from you!

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