The moon has a recurring cycle of phases, which happen as the moon orbits Earth and result in an astonishing display of light and dark that we call the lunar cycle. The new moon is completely dark, and then over the next four weeks it will wax, become fully illuminated, and wane until it’s dark again.
The moon is actually an incredible tool for your self improvement. I love journaling and working with the moon’s phases because it provides a predictable cycle and an ongoing reminder to keep a gratitude and celebration practice as well as setting new intentions.
Let’s take a closer look at each phase from the perspective of goal setting and personal development.
New Moon: Set Intentions
The first phase of the lunar cycle, New Moon occurs when the moon is just emerging from behind Earth’s shadow. This is a time when there is no light from the sun and therefore little illumination on the moon.
During this phase, people are likely to feel subdued and introspective. They may be more focused on their goals and more inclined to take things slow. This is a good time for a fresh start — a great opportunity to start something new and set intentions for the next month and the next six months.
As the moon waxes (becomes fuller), you’ll take more action and gain more motivation toward your goal.
Waxing Crescent: Take Action
When the moon is in the Waxing Crescent, this phase is characterized by increased energy and activity, as well as an increased tendency to take action. As the illumination of the moon grows, so too does the constructive energy for you to build upon your goals and intentions.
This is a good time to take on new challenges and achieve goals that you might have put off before. The waxing crescent also signals that things are gradually progressing in your favor, so don’t be afraid to seize this opportunity!
First Quarter: Breakthroughs and Balance
As you take action toward the intentions set at the new moon, the first quarter is a check-in of the obstacles and challenges you face. Often this means a mindset block that comes up as you work toward your goal, or possibly outside influences that distract or dissuade you from your goal. Get back to clarity by remembering the “why” behind your intentions in the first place.
This phase can also be called a half moon. And like the 50/50 balance of dark and light on the moon, you may find yourself balancing between different commitments and tasks. The increased light of the moon can help you see things more clearly, but it can also lead to stress if not managed correctly. Be sure to set boundaries with yourself – say no to things that don’t feel right or aren’t supporting your goals – and take some time for yourself every day.
Waxing Gibbous: Boost Energy
When the moon is in the Waxing Gibbous phase, you’ll experience an increase in energy. This is because the moon is increasing its illumination and adding to your momentum – so use this energy wisely! It’s a great time to check in on your progress, refine and adjust if needed, and use this boost of energy to push through.
But be careful not to overdo it – if you’re feeling overwhelmed, take some time off to relax and recharge.
Full Moon: Celebrate Your Progress
The full moon marks the turning point of the lunar cycle. During this phase, you’ll be surrounded by bright light from the sun, making it easy to see and navigate around. When the moon is full, you’ll connect with your intentions in a deeper way. This means you’ll be more focused and motivated, and less likely to let distractions get in the way of your progress. This is also a good time to reflect on your goals and make sure you’re taking all the necessary steps to achieving them. Be patient – sometimes things take longer than we expect, but with enough dedication and focus, they’ll eventually come together.
At the full moon, it’s a perfect time to acknowldege your progress and focus on gratitude for what you have manifested and worked toward during this cycle. As the light of the moon wanes and we return back to the new moon, the energy of the lunar cycle will push us from energy and action into gratitude, release, and recharging. Enjoy this moment of fulfillment and gratitude!
Waning Gibbous: Release
The waning gibbous phase of the moon is a time for letting go of the old in order to create space for the new. During this phase, you might find it easier to let go of things that are no longer serving you or that are no longer fulfilling. However, don’t forget that you should also be releasing things with love, care, and gratitude. It’s possible to both appreciate and release something at the same time!
Some things that you may want to release during this phase of the moon are negative self-talk thoughts, people pleasing, fear of failure (or success), etc.
Last Quarter: Make Space
Remember back to the first quarter moon when you focused on balance and boundaries — this is a time to hold that space open for something even better to come into your life as you continue to work toward your intentions. What you’ve released throughout this lunar cycle, now you can hold space to attract and manifest with intention.
For example, if you want to be more creative, you could set boundaries around your schedule in order to open up the space for a weekly writing or art project.
Waning Crescent: Self Care
Nearly back at the start of the cycle and a new beginning, the last sliver of light on the moon reminds us to take care of our bodies, minds, and spirits. It’s a great time to reflect on all you’ve accomplished during the month, and take time to restore yourself and recharge for a fresh start.
The moon’s phases are a beautiful sight to behold. But more than being a beautiful part of the night sky, they affect us in many ways and allow us an ongoing, cyclical reminder to check in with our goals, stay grateful, and make space for our best selves.
identify your blocks
Take my quick 8-question quiz to identify your creative blocks — which will give you a great starting point for your moon work as you set intentions, move through blocks, and make space for a creative practice, healthy relationships, and more.