Most New Year’s resolutions fail because they stem from a sense of lack and the belief that acquiring or accomplishing something we don’t already have will somehow bring us lasting happiness. They are a product of ego which will always tell us that we are not enough:
- “I need to lose weight”
- “I want to get in shape”
- “I need to make more money”
- “I want to accomplish _____________(fill in the blank)”
- “I need_______________(fill in the blank)”
A sankalpa is different.
Sankalpa is a Sanskrit word that means a heartfelt resolve, intention or solemn vow. It is an affirmation that connects us to a higher truth about who or what we already are. A resolution is an expression of personal will, a Sankalpa is an expression of universal will and it comes from a place beyond the ego.
Because of this, a sankalpa is always stated as a positive declaration:
- “I love and care for my body by consuming only healthy whole foods,” vs. “I will stop eating junk food.”
- “I radiate compassion for all beings” vs. “I want to be more compassionate.”
- “Peace is my true nature,” vs. “I want more peace in my life”
We state sankalpa in the present tense to remind us that whatever is required is already somewhere within; that we are already complete and whole just the way we are.
Finding your sankalpa does not require struggle or force. There is no rush, let it come to you intuitively. That is what gives it its power and strength.
So this year make your resolutions but also sit quietly and listen. Perhaps you will hear your heart’s desire quietly whispering to you your sankalpa. Once you find it, repeat it regularly and use it to guide your life choices.