As I start wrapping up 2012, the main thing on my mind is determining what my New Year resolutions should be. A few weeks ago I wrote about my word for 2013 being “expand” – that I wanted to focus on trying new things and getting outside my comfort zone so I could continue to grow and learn about myself. For whatever reason, the word just hasn’t sat right with me, probably because it just sounds so bland and not very inspirational. In my quest to figure out my resolutions, I started doing some thinking about what I wanted to accomplish in 2013 and came across this journal article about sankalpa, a concept I have fallen head over heels in love with.
Sankalpa is a sanskrit word commonly used in meditation that means “will, purpose, or determination.” To make a sankalpa is to make an intention. Oftentimes, New Year resolutions are set and (without even realizing it) usually focus on the negative. For example, if your resolution is to lose weight you may vow not to eat sweets or drink soda only once a week. If you fail to meet that goal just once it automatically makes you feel like a failure and negates your success over the months. Maybe you drank soda twice this week but overall you’ve decreased your consumption by more than half – that is something to be celebrated. The purpose of making a sankalpa is to determine what your true desire is. Using the example above about losing weight, maybe your true desire is to love your body or to be healthier. Fine tuning your desire first and then setting goals that you think will help you attain that desire opens you up to more possibilities and inner exploration rather than limitations.
I think what I find so intriguing about the idea of setting New Year intentions (or making sankalpa) is that they are soft, flexible and created with purpose in mind. Intentions allow you to relish in the experience of personal growth and self-awareness whereas resolutions seem to be very rigid and structured; they’re easy to give up on because you’re so focused on either succeeding or failing rather than embracing the process of exploring your inner self. When I read about making sankalpa, I immediately connected with the concept and felt that because I have a strong sense of self and a deep understanding of what my desires are for the new year, I should really focus on fine tuning those desires, writing them down, and creating action-plans for what I think will allow me to achieve them. I am so excited to start working on drafting these!
So what’s my real word for 2013? It’s evolve.