by Jessica Shepherd
(Article originally published in The Llewellyn Journal.)
The New Year, and its promise of starting over, dangles the carrot of a clean slate in front of us. We want to lose weight, finally start meditating, drink less, make more time for friendships and family... the list is as universal as it is personal. It's so important to take our desire to be happier seriously, yet sadly far too many resolutions don't pan out. As sure as the winter snow will melt with the weather, so too, does our resolve. We often blame ourselves: our lack of willpower, consistency, and steadfastness. In reality we just may be failing to think with our Venus.
We don't normally connect Venus with will, resolve, and discipline. Venus, being the lush of the Zodiac, is inclined toward pleasure, beauty, and enjoying the good life. Saturn is the harsh taskmaster, and with the Sun in Capricorn and Aquarius, Saturn's signs, for January and most of February, an attitude of "out with the old, in with the new" prevails. Yet, when setting a goal, how many of us actually consider how inspired we are about it? For the Goddess of Desire who heralds all the things we love and enjoy in life, a goal bereft of happiness, love, beauty, bliss, and inspiration is like a horse without a rider... and a bereft horse often goes out to pasture.
I'm an astrologer, but I'm also a health coach, and one of the things I learned in nutrition school that stuck with me was the idea that our health goals fail because we think we want to achieve the goal itself when in reality we want the feeling it will bring us. Take, for instance, losing weight, which requires cutting calories and increasing exercise. For most people these are clear negatives, easily conjuring images of deprivation and unhappiness. Not motivating! But when you say, "I want to lose weight because..." you find out the true, good, and positive motivation behind your desire. Which might be, for you: I want to have more energy. I want to look great in my clothes. I want to feel sexy naked. Now that's what I call motivating.
This metaphysical principle was familiar to me. Through joy, inspiration, and pleasure, Venus pulls in the same. A vibration magnetizing our deepest desires toward us through our own emotional excitement, she's like a sunset steadily growing in magnificence, and steadily attracting a greater number of admirers to it. So how inspired are you about your New Year's goals? That's a key indicator of whether you will achieve them. That's why, when I asked my health-coaching and bride-to-be client how she wanted to look and feel on her wedding day, and she said, "I want to look and feel dazzling" and then proceeded to elaborate on how wonderful that day will be, I got goose-bumpy and became inspired, too. Venus is irresistible.
Inspired Goal-Setting with Venus Any goal-setting strategy that includes imagination, positive emotions of joy and inspiration, visualization, beauty, and art are Venus blessed. Here's a simple one I created. Fold a large piece of paper or poster board, making three columns. At the top left side of column one, write: "I want to..." and list your goals beneath. At the top of the middle column, write "because..." and in the area below name the feelings, or the experience, you want to have as a result of this goal. For instance, if my goals are to spend more time in meditation and with family: I want to start a daily meditation practice because...I want to feel peaceful. Or: I want to spend more time with my family/friends because...I want to feel connected to those I love.
The last step is to fill out the picture in your mind's eye, using your imagination. Label the last column "I see myself..." For instance, if my goal is meditation: I see myself glowing with inner peace. I see myself celebrating the fact that I was able to cut my tendency toward emotional reactivity by fifty percent. I see myself having more experiences of grace in my life. Allow this list to be especially extensive. You want to give your mind positive anchors for your goal by giving yourself visual images of what your life will look like after achieving your goal.
You will recognize the law of attraction at work here. This idea of framing what you want in positive terms and using your imagination to draw your desires toward you, I call "thinking with your Venus." Or, if you prefer, pulling in what you want by using a more than your brain as Venus holds sway over our emotional intelligence. Just as when we see a litter of new puppies and our spirit is stirred with joy, when we train our mind to gravitate toward the positive feelings associated with achieving a goal or resolution, we're going to be inspired by it and create the energy field for it to happen. After all, Venus asks: What's aspiration without inspiration?
Oops, I Ate a Cupcake...Or, There Will Be Setbacks Friends of astrology know that Venus is not a fan of deprivation, timeserving sacrifice.... or the self-flagellation that follows each year's trail of broken resolutions. That's Saturn's department. Venus lives to enjoy life. So what if achieving your goal appears to cut into your pursuit of pleasure? What if you're derailed? It will happen. You can count on it. You'll feel so good about how much you’ve been exercising.... then Girl Scout cookie season arrives. Just when you get into the rhythm of regular meditation sessions, you have to work late hours at the office and your daily routine takes a dive. When the above happens, first, immediately forgive your self. Accept that these things happen: Hey, you're human! Then, ask: what pleasurable activity can I do get myself inspired again? Go on a walk, not for exercise but for fun. Buy yourself something small but nice. Breathe. Go back to your list (which you have posted in a place you can see everyday) to remind yourself why you're so awesome. Then, re-inspired, get back on that horse again. Be kind to yourself. With Venus as your New Year's guide, there's no place for harshness, guilt, or beating your self up. When we fail to meet our goals it's often because either we didn't set our self up for success from the get-go (we want to lose weight, but we didn't have a solid plan), or we listen to our own bad marketing, our negative self-talk. For the former: if you have an involved goal that will require outside expertise or support, enlist the help of others. Getting other people involved with your goals will also hold you accountable to them. Regarding the latter, a little negativity is human and natural, but it can be a downward spiral for your desires, so catch your thoughts when they turn dark. Think with your Venus instead. Get inspired. Have a little fun. Take a dance break. Imagine how great your life will be when you feel peaceful, sexy, and energetic. Remind yourself why you're choosing to honor your deeper desires...you love yourself, and you love taking care of you. Then get back to it.
Of course you can extend this Venus lesson beyond your New Year's resolutions. If you know how to look for her, Venus is the energy behind every pursuit worth pursuing. Because at the end of the day, every dream, ambition, and desire we have boils down to the feelings we think it will bring us—feelings of pleasure, connection, contentment, peace, relaxation, joy, and love. Knowing this, you and your list of resolutions can now breathe a little easier—which is what Venus wants for us all.
Article originally published in The Llewellyn Journal. Copyright Llewellyn Worldwide, 2015. All rights reserved.