The beginning of the New Year brings with it the hope of new possibilities. We get a clean slate to write our future - or at least one year of it. We make resolutions, re-organize, and sow new seeds. "We are what we repeatedly do," wrote Aristotle, the 4th century Greek philosopher. To change who we are we need to change our habits. Our habits determine our karma. Karma means action, and it also means the results of our actions. The English poet, John Dryden said, "We first make our habits, and then our habits make us" - for better or for worse. We're creatures of habit, and the good news is that we get to choose our habits. The power of intention is no small thing. It can radically change the direction of our lives, and our karma from this point forward.
It's important to realize that our karma is flexible, it changes with our intentions and disciplined efforts. Isn't it interesting that Saturn is both the 'lord of karma' and the planet of discipline? Saturn likes routines and setting good habits that are sustainable for the long duration.
It's often said that it takes 21 days to change a habit. However, it makes more sense to me, from an astrological standpoint, that it takes the full cycle of the Moon or about 28 days. If the Moon passes through the twelve signs, the twenty seven nakshatras, and transits over every planet, and you're still diligent with your new habit, then I would think you've got it. It's going to be easier the second time the Moon passes through the zodiac. The Moon represents our habits, particularly our habits of mind.
The best time to make a committment, or a vrat, to start new habits is on the day that the Moon is transiting over your natal Moon. This is also called the Moon's transit over the janma nakshatra, birth star, or lunar constellation. It's also the recommended time for spiritual practices and retreat. I would suggest making your committment last until the Moon returns to the same position, twenty eight days later. Then your habit should 'make you', as John Dryden would say, from that point forward.