While I love the idea of making resolutions, the thought of sticking with something for 365 days carries a lot of pressure and feels very rigid.
Instead, something I do regularly is set monthly intentions, and I do this by following the lunar calendar.
What is an intention?
An intention is similar to a goal, yet there are differences between the two. A goal is a desired outcome, defined simply. An intention is a starting point, a seed planted in the present moment. The outcome may not be crystal clear, and the intention may flow and shift with time. Though an intention is based in the present moment, through regular maintenance and cultivation, desired change can occur.
My suggestion would be to set between 1-3 intentions. Writing a laundry list of all the things you “should” be doing isn’t productive. Some people like to give this process structure by setting one personal intention, one work-related intention, and one other intention. Whatever you choose, try to make it affirmative. For example, instead of “eat less junk food,” try “nourish my body with healthy food.” Or, instead of “stop mindlessly scrolling on social media,” try “set healthy boundaries with my technology.” Make it personal and specific.
Another thing to keep in mind: It’s okay to have the same intention from month to month. Many times I have held the same intention for several months; I’ve tweaked and fine-tuned as details become clearer.
Why do I do it?
I like the idea that I can adapt and shift my intentions each month as new things arise. I also like how this process is connected with nature and the natural cycles that occur around us. I feel more in tune with myself, more connected with the earth, and more grounded in time.
It might be nice to find a journal designated for intention setting. Some people simply write their intentions on a Post-it note and place it somewhere where they can see it often to remind themselves and keep their intention in their awareness. There are so many ways to create a ritual that fits your lifestyle – make it personal and easy to stick with.
Below you will find the major moon phases and how to link them with your intentions.
The New Moon
When the moon is new, it is time to set your intentions. What do you want to focus on?
Make your intention (or intentions) as specific as you can. Once your intention is written down, say it out loud, maybe light a candle, and place it somewhere where you can see it.
The First Quarter
When the moon is in the first quarter, it is in the building mode. The first quarter moon asks you to make an action plan. Look at your written intentions and state them aloud from time to time. By simply bringing awareness back to your intention, you give it energy.
The Full Moon
When the moon is full, intentions are manifested. Review your intentions and note what progress you’ve made. Be okay with whatever progress was made – little or big. The beautiful part of intention setting with the moon is the chance for a new start each month.
The Last Quarter
When the moon is in the last quarter, it is a time designated for releasing habitual patterns. What can you take away from the last few weeks? What can you release that no longer serves you?
As the moon enters the balsamic phase and returns to the new moon phase, take time to process and prepare for the new lunar cycle ahead. Offer forgiveness and move forward. Give yourself permission to accept what didn’t work and notice what went well. Reset, and repeat!
-The lunar phases move from right to left. I like to imagine it like turning pages in a book to remind myself where the moon is in its cycle.
-There are several free moon calendar apps available to keep track of when each new moon occurs. The Farmer’s Almanac also shows the lunar calendar.
Written by Katie Gorczyca, MA, Expressive Therapist
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