If you follow my Instagram page, you may be familiar with the New Moon Intentions I set each month. I’ll be honest – doing this started as a cute idea to go along with my business name change, but I have continued setting intentions for very different reasons! Read on to learn more about Why I Set New Moon Intentions and how intentions can be valuable tools for wellness.
The New Moon has long been considered a poignant time for new beginnings. For releasing what doesn’t serve you. Starting over. Closing a cycle and trying again. We all need these little fresh starts throughout our lives, sometimes often, sometimes less so. Time flows continuously forwards, but is marked by never-ending cycles; the seasons, lunar cycles, tides, night and day, a life. By observing work days, mealtimes, bedtimes, or holidays, we naturally follow these cycles; they come and go fluidly.
Are you hoping to bring more mindfulness into your life? Are you attempting to call something new in? Maybe you are seeking a change, but aren’t yet sure what it is? Setting an intention is the first step in the process, and tapping into the natural cycles around you is the simplest way to organize yourself.
Do you have to use the New Moon?
Absolutely not! ANY time or cycle can be used to focus on new things! Some people use the Full Moon, New Year’s Day, the first day of each month or week, even every morning while meditating, or journalling with a cup of coffee. If you’re considering making a habit out of intention setting, choose a time that resonates best with YOU. I personally resonate most with the New Moon — I was born on one, and it follows the pattern of shining light out of darkness, and growing life out of death. The darkness signals both the end and the beginning, the assessment period before the cycle begins anew.
When I’m feeling low, uncreative, and sad, this reminder shines a little light back into my heart — you simply can’t have brightness without darkness.
Why I Set New Moon Intentions
Setting some intentions for myself each New Moon has become a helpful tool to keep small promises to myself. (If you happen to struggle with follow through, sticking to new habits, or accomplishing bigger goals, keeping small promises first is a great method for working through this!). It’s a way of reminding myself how far I’ve come, and what I still need to work through. Like writing myself a little love letter each month, reminding myself that I have the strength to follow through and create or manifest what I need.
It is very important to set manageable goals for yourself! If you are someone who struggles to stay focused, or continually self-sabotages, please know that it’s way easier to keep promises to yourself by starting slowly. If your goals aren’t coming naturally to you, try shifting them, breaking them down into smaller pieces, spacing them out, or setting reminders for yourself in your calendar or on your phone. Maybe even consider if these goals are RIGHT for YOU. Once you get things dialled in appropriately, you will find yourself actually looking forward to your practice, keeping more little promises to yourself every day, and eventually achieving those bigger goals with much less effort.
Setting intentions also supports my own healing. I came to nutrition and medicine out of my own health struggles. Being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease in my early 20s was a massive blow to every aspect of my being. I have worked hard since then to achieve some semblance of health, and while some days it really doesn’t feel like I’m doing well, looking back over my journey, I realize just how much I’ve actually achieved! Journalling is also wonderful for keeping track of all the wonderful things you accomplish but may not realize. I still struggle to journal often, so setting intentions on the New Moon has been a lovely way to ease into a more regular mindfulness practice that works for ME.
Intentions vs Goals vs Manifesting
Setting an intention is a little like setting a goal, but it’s actually the first step, and can have a far bigger impact.
Essentially, a goal is something you want to DO or ACHIEVE. To ensure your goal-setting is successful, try following the SMART ideology – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Timely. There is a place for goal-setting, but you may find them easier to achieve if you have set intentions before each one. This small extra step may be the key to avoiding achievement burnout.
An intention is a way of BEING and facilitates personal growth. It is a guide or set of principles for how you want to show up in the world, or in a particular situation. Intentions work well as “I Am” or “I Will” statements — “I am making my health a priority”, or “I will practice gratitude for the mistakes that help me grow”.
Intentions can be taken a step further and turned into manifestations. Manifesting is when we shift our mindset to actually create the reality we want and call things into our life. Here is a wonderful post from The Holistic Psychologist that explains manifestation perfectly!
Intentions as Tools for Wellness
How can intentions be used for health and wellness?
Intentions are a simple way of leading you down the path you might be struggling to stay on with goals. Instead of setting hard-hitting goals to “get healthy”, “lose 40lbs”, or “make more money”, setting intentions such as “I am prioritizing my healing”, or “I will set a budget and consider purchases against my goals and priorities” are more likely to get you started and actually sticking to the path your goal is at the end of. As said above, intentions need to be made before the goal can even be considered, let alone achieved!
I have found that folks who are particularly sensitive souls, or struggling with chronic illness, benefit from adding a small intention-setting practice to their routine.
Methods for Setting Intentions
There isn’t really a wrong way to set intentions; however, you are probably trying this for a reason, so approaching them in a mindful way is ideal. As complicated humans, we always have a mess of things happening, and therefore much to work on. Choosing your intentions therefore should be done mindfully and with, well, intention!
Take a few moments to yourself, free of distractions. Take a few calming breaths and settle in. This moment is for you, and only you. Consider the things that have been bothering you lately. Recall the things you were most grateful for that day. Dream up your long term goals. Then consider HOW you might overcome those bothers. HOW you might bring more gratitude into your day. HOW you might achieve those long term goals.
What comes up for you? Keep it simple! If all you feel right now is “I am existing”, then that is the perfect intention for you right now.
After practicing a few times, you will start to gather a bundle of intentions. If you look at them altogether, they will show you a clear picture of how you want show up in the world, and how to better achieve your goals and dreams. You may even realize that some of them have already been accomplished! You may notice patterns — tune into these! These are likely the most important items to you. Do you need to dive deeper? Perhaps you just need to witness these amazing, wonderful values you carry!
I don’t have particular rituals that I follow, besides lighting candles (it’s the darkest night of the month after all!). However, many folks add special tools such as crystals, tarot, meditation, herbal teas, smudging, mandala-making, baths, etc. Here is an example of a New Moon ritual if you would like to learn more. Tools such as these can help guide you, and help set the scene for maximum focus.
I have also started reviewing my New Moon Intentions on the Full Moon. It feels helpful to check in halfway through the month to see how my intentions are sitting. Am I being mindful of them? Have I forgotten what I intended to work on? What has the intention manifested so far?
Play around with it — what works best for YOU?
Ready to go even deeper? This article from Deepak Chopra is the perfect place to start!
Here is an example of the New Moon Intentions I post on Instagram — follow along if you like! I’d love to hear what intentions you’re setting, and if you use a particular cycle to stay focused!
Disclaimer: I am not well-versed in astrology or any particular spirituality. I set intentions based on my intuition. When setting your own intentions, remember that they will only work if you’re ready to work with them. (As with ANY health or life-related problem!). Go slow, enjoy the process, and let it come naturally.