Have you tried making New Years resolutions but never stick to them? Don’t worry because apparently only 8% of people stick to their resolution for the entire year. (1)
How about trying another way, it’s a yogic method that has been practiced for centuries and it’s called a Sankalpa?
At the beginning of a yoga class we normally set an intention or a Sankalpa for our practice on the mat. It might be something like, I will be kind to myself or I will not judge myself or, I will accept whatever I can do today……… We can take this same idea off the mat and bring it into our everyday life and we can even make a New Years Sankalpa.
Sankalpa is a bit different to the Western idea of a resolution. Very often a resolution comes from something we are not happy with in our life or we want to change something, like I want to lose weight, or I want to give up something. A sankalpa doesn’t really focus on the need to change yourself but rather loving yourself and understanding yourself first, then translating that to the world around you.
A sankalpa comes from somewhere deeper inside of us. In Sanskrit, San refers to your higher truth or purpose and Kalpa means to make a vow or deep promise. Therefore, together the words mean, to make a commitment or set an intention to seek our highest truth.
With this in mind, instead of just going for the usual New Years resolution where we are trying to ditch something we don’t like about ourselves, how about trying to dig a little deeper and seek our true purpose and higher truth.
It’s quite easy really, here are 3 easy steps:
- Set aside some time to sit for a while and think about how you would like to feel for the year ahead. Write a few ideas down.
- Make a short phrase or mantra that is easy for you to remember like
‘I am at peace with myself’
‘I am healthy and strong’
‘I will be kind to myself (and others) no matter what.
- Dedication to your sankalpa will take some time but remind yourself of your intention whenever you can. It does take some willpower and commitment but just try to bring yourself back to your higher truth.
A sankalpa comes more from a positive place within yourself and a not an external judgemental place.
So what will it be for 2016 the standard New Year resolution or a Sankalpa instead?