Resolutions? Try a Sankalpa in 2016…

Ahhh, the holidays. Christmas! New Year’s! Merry happy everything!

I started this post when I was on my way home Sunday afternoon from being “home” for Christmas with my immediate family. While not eager to leave my family, I was looking forward to get home, go to the gym, unpack, start on some projects for the week, aScreenshot_2015-12-27-17-13-26-1-1nd prep for work, until I got a text message saying my flight was delayed by an hour. Okay. An hour. Not terrible.  Soon, another text message. My flight is delayed two hours. Now, I may have some options….I have family near the airport I
could see, I have
books to read, training videos to watch. These are all things I could do, but I really wanted to be on my flight. (Sidenote: On a previous vacation, I’ve also received the “delay” texts, adjusted my schedule to arrive to the airport later, only to get a new text message saying my flight was now leaving at the original time (in 45 minutes!), and I was nowhere near the airport. So, I usually just stay at the airport even when I get the delay texts.) Once I get through security, my flight is now leaving 4 hours later than anticipated.

Hungry, frustrated, feeling like my time is being wasted, I started wandering around the massive airport at OMA, looking for something more than Cheez-Its and Blimpie subs. I found the magazines!!!

Normally, I’d buy one of these, but today, I was more struck by all of the messages I was reading.

“Make It Your Year”,

“happy + healthy + organized + satisfied”

“No Fail Way to Drop 5 lbs”

“147 Ideas to Motivate at the Gym, Work, and Beyond”

“The One Line to Make Him Commit”

“Go to Bed 35, Wake Up 25”

“10 New Years Resolutions You Can Keep”


Shiny covers. Beautiful pictures. Alluring headlines. I even picked one up and began flipping through the pages. What will my new year’s resolution be this year? How can I be happy, healthy, organized, satisfied, younger, motivated x 147, nailing all 10 of my new year’s resolutions while waking up 60 minutes earlier to meditate, drink my lemon water, get my stretching/yoga/half marathon/HIIT training in, end my shower with cold water bursts to boost my metabolism, drink a liter of water, get to work, not check email til noon, send 5 networking emails, workout over the lunch break, take a walking break every hour, read 15 minutes in a motivational book, stop drinking caffeine by 2pm, wrap up work by 6pm, meet colleagues or girlfriends for happy hour to keep up the social life, grab groceries while following the dirty dozen/clean 15 list, buying grass-fed meats, and unprocessed foods, and going to bed by 9pm or 10pm to get the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep?

Whew! If we did everything we read we “should” do in 2016, I highly doubt we would be happy, healthy, organized, or satisfied, and maybe more like anxious, stressed, schizophrenic, and wanting a life we really loved. Rather than choosing some new year’s resolutions you feel like you “should” do, why not try creating a sankalpa? I mean, really, how many times have the new year’s resolutions stuck? Why not try something different. Most of the time, resolutions come from a negative place because you hate your hips, don’t like your negative attitude, or want to be more like “so-and-so”. A sankalpa comes from a positive place of abundance, recognizing that you already are and have everything you need to fulfill your desire. Sound hokey? Hashtag mumbo jumbo? Stay with me…

In yogic tradition, san means “an idea formed in your heart,” and kalpa means “the rule to be followed above all rules.” So, essentially it’s your heartfelt intention. Not what Cosmo or Real Simple say you should do in 2016, but what your heart desires for you.

Sankalpas are traditionally repeated in yoga nidra, which is a practice of deep relaxation. By repeating this during the practice, it plants the seed in your subconscious, which we know through science and practices such as hypnosis can be recalled with almost perfect clarity. Whereas, our conscious memory forgets you scheduled your happy hour and hair appointment at the same time. It connects your mind to your body. If you practice yoga nidra, it’s a perfect time to repeat your sankalpa, but it can be used any time your yoga teacher asks you to set an intention for your practice or even to begin and end your day.

Simple Guidelines for Setting Your Sankalpa

  • Think about where you want your life to go this year. What have been blocks in the past, and what does your heart desire? What would having it be like for you?
  • Give yourself freedom in what you want. No restrictions. No fear. Instead of “I want to quit smoking” you would create a sankalpa of “I am free from addiction.” Instead of “I want to make $150,000 this year,” use “I am wealthy and successful in all I undertake.” Why stop yourself at $150,000? Am I right? Kidding. But really.

Other examples include:

  • I am successful in all I undertake
  • My world is a peaceful place
  • I am financially free
  • Create your sankalpa in present tense, not future.
  • Focus on the process, not the results. If you just focus on the results, the way you get there may be very restricted. Whereas if you focus on the process, your sankalpa can influence more areas of your life. For example, if your sankalpa is “I am in optimal health” but you have the idea that “optimal health” means the VS model body, you may skip happy hour with your girlfriends. If you consider the process of “optimal health” you might think to yourself that the time spent with your girlfriends enriches your life in an entirely different way. Order a flavored sparkling water or do yourself a solid and splurge on that margarita you’ve been thinking about.

You might be thinking this is too vague and by the end of the year, you won’t get anywhere. Trust me; I’m not too type B to not also be setting some personal goals for the year. However, when you set an intention your heart wants, I guarantee the needle will move in the right direction. Towards soul satisfied.


7 thoughts on “Resolutions? Try a Sankalpa in 2016…

  1. yogibattle says:

    Definitely cancel that subscription to Yoga Journal which is now run by the former editor of Self. She is promoting a lot of negative body imagery by focusing on petite, bendy models.

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