Here are 3 reasons why you shouldn’t set new year intentions on January 1st and the 3 keys to successful intention setting.
December 29, 2022
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Why New Year Intentions?
For over 400 years, since the Gregorian calendar was implemented, Western society has been encouraged to celebrate January 1st as the “New Year.”
And with ever-increasing consumerism, we’ve been bombarded with the message that the “new year = the new you.”
But is January 1st actually the new year? And is it the right time to set your intentions?
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3 Reasons Why Your New Year Intentions Don’t Often Manifest in January
For people in the Northern Hemisphere, January is a time for internal wintering. For moving inwards. For resting and resetting. And it may not feel like the time for setting intentions and taking action.
And setting intentions when it doesn’t feel natural to you is a recipe for disappointment.
Negative Energy Powering Your Intentions
You manifest your desires when you’re in a positive flow state.
If social pressure is the dominant (negative) energy powering your intentions, they’re not going to manifest in their highest expression and fullest potential.
Like attracts like.
It’s imperative that there’s positive energy driving your intentions. So unless you feel inspired, excited, and activated to transform on the January 1st New Year, wait.
Also, for the past several years, Mercury Retrograde has occurred in the first few months of the year. Mercury retrograde isn’t considered an optimal time to create contracts and make decisions. And for most, during a Mercury Retrograde, taking action on your desires just won’t feel natural.
When is the Actual New Year?
It’s natural to have the desire to cycle. To allocate space for endings and beginnings.
Ancient Egyptians celebrated the new year on September 11th, the Celtic calendar started on November 1st (Samhain), during the middle ages, the English marked the new year on March 25th, and currently, in Andean-Amazonian communities, it’s June 21st (their winter solstice).
This is a reminder that there’s no true date for the new year. A calendar is simply a social contract. This article in The New York Times provides more perspective.
And I believe our current calendar, with its inability to change and flow (apart from leap years), says a lot about our patriarchal society.
How About the Lunar Calendar for New Year Intentions?
The early Greeks, Romans, and Celtics used the moon’s cycle to measure months.
And to this day, Chinese and Indigenous people use lunar calendars.
The Bloodvein River First Nation people believe that the stars provide directions, the moon tells you what month you’re in, and the sun allows you to tell time. You can learn more about their 13-month lunar calendar here.
And the Chinese New Year is marked by the second new moon after Winter Solstice. Meaning that the New Year can occur anytime between January 21 and February 20.
And if you want to be precise about the Lunar New Year, look at when the 2nd new moon occurs in your own time zone.
Follow Your Own Rhythm
The lunar calendar follows a more matriarchal sensibility. With its ability to change and flow with the cycles of the moon. But for you, the timing may still not feel right.
For as long as I can remember, my personal New Year has been in the fall. It’s a time when I feel the greatest desire to move inward, allow what no longer serves me to fall away, set intentions, and welcome in the new.
For you, the desire for transition may be activated by sunlit summer days or the new growth of the Spring Equinox.
Internal inquiry will help you discover your personal new year so you’ll know when to set new year intentions.
When is the Best Time to Set Intentions?
It’s absolutely personal.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Am I in alignment with this intention? Is it a full-bodied yes?
- Do I have the energy to take inspired action?
- Do I have the time to take inspired action?
And remember, intention-setting doesn’t have to be annual. You can revisit your intentions each month on a new moon, during a particular phase in your menstrual cycle, or simply when you feel a deep desire for transition.
The Keys to Successful Intention-Setting
Your intentions need to have a mindful “why” and conscious emotions powering them.
What’s the reason for setting the intention?
How will it help you personally and how will it help collectively?
What’s the positive drive behind the intention?
How will manifesting this intention feel?
What are the positive emotions associated with it?
Can you trust the Universe to support your intention?
And can you trust yourself to take intuitive action?
Once the timing feels right, you’ve identified your why and the emotions behind the intention, and you trust the universe and yourself to put the pieces into place — however it may happen — then simply allow the manifesting to unfold.
Final Thoughts on New Year Intentions
In the grand scheme of things, our current yearly calendar has only been standardized globally for about a century. It’s just a drop in the bucket of our history. And perhaps, in the coming years, we’ll return to a more natural rhythm.
In the meantime, it’s your choice to set intentions when it intuitively feels right — may that be setting new year intentions on January 1st or on your own personal new year, and to treat the process as the intimate transformation that it is.
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