I am not a fan of the New Year's Resolution. To me, it always has an underlying negative message that can leave me feeling bad about myself.
"I want to give up sugar" says, "I am so unhealthy!"
"I want to be more organized" says, " I am a mess!"
Creating a change for the better at the beginning of each year is a great concept, but more often than not our attempts to follow through with our New Year's Resolutions fail.
A yogic version of the resolution is called a sankulpa.
A sankulpa is similar to a resolution in that it focuses on creating a healthy change. It is different because we are asked look deeper into the reason behind the change we would like to create. So instead of a resolution that says, " I want to lose weight which means no more late night eating.", a sankulpa would explore what thoughts or feelings might be driving the behavior. Maybe the late night eating has become a way to self soothe and avoid facing difficult emotions. Becoming aware of what motivates an unhealthy habit is the first step in finding a way to change it.
A sankulpa is an intention that we set in the most loving way towards ourselves. It is a clear and concise phrase or mantra that we can repeat regularly. A sankulpa to lose weight might go something like this, "I eat late at night to stuff down my feelings. I will allow my feelings to arise and then to pass which will keep my mind, heart, and body open to love."
Creating your sankulpa might require a bit of soul searching or at least a little quiet time so you can turn your attention inward and really become aware of the changes that you would like to make.
Once you have decided on the change you are seeking you can create your sankulpa by setting a positive intention, focusing on what you want, not on what you don't want.
Make sure you use the present tense in your statement and don't use any negative words. ie. "I am courageous and ready for a new and rewarding relationship" sends a better message than " I won't be afraid to start a new relationship this year."
Finally, let go of the result and stay present and attentive to the process. ie. when fear arises and you don't follow through with your intention to be courageous, forgive yourself, repeat your mantra, and try it again remembering that change doesn't happen overnight.
They say, "where attention goes, energy flows". A sankulpa can be very powerful because it keeps your attention focused on the life affirming changes that you would like to create.
So, if you are like me and New Year's Resolutions leave you feeling bad about yourself, consider making a New Year's Sankulpa instead.
Wishing you a kind and peaceful 2014.
All Abhyasa Ahimsa Aparigraha Asmita-Ego Attachment Baron Baptiste Beginner's Mind Bramacharya Carl Jung Clear Seeing Colorless Comfortable Discomfort Creating Spaciousness In Mind And Body Cultivate The Opposite Deepak Chopra Dharma Empty Your Cup Enthusiasm Equanimity Family Fight Or Flight Great Vows Inner-awareness Inner Critic John Kabbatzinnb2faff332d Listening Mirrors To Ourselves Monkey Hunting Non Stealing Patanjali Pause Pillar Pleasure And Pain Posseses Us Practice Pratipaksa Bhavana Pratyahara Present Moment Present Moment Awareness Respond Instead Of React Samadhi Samskara Santosha Satya Sauca Sensual Pleasures Shadow Side Spirituality Steadiness And Ease Sthira And Sukha Strength Sustained Attention Svadhyaya There You Are Thich Nat Hahn This Too Shall Pass True Self Uncertainty Universal Truth What We Possess Wherever You Go Wisdom Yoga Philosophy Yoga Sutra 1. 14 Yoga Sutra 1.33 Yoga Sutra 2.33 Yoga Sutra 2 37cfe9965fa2 Yoga Sutra 2. 46 Yoga Sutras