How *not* to Write Resolutions

A Guide on Intentions or your Sankalpa

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

This time of year I get wrapped up (pun intended) on reflecting, goal setting, figuring out how to be most productive in the year to come. But as I narrow down why I want to get all these things done, it usually goes back to some very basic intentions or resolutions.

Which resembles more of a Sankalpa.

In yoga philosophy, a Sankalpa is an intention. It looks beyond the “I want…” or “I will…”. It digs deeper into the connection of your heart and your mind.


Kalpa: meaning a vow
San: higher or highest sense of truth.
  • A promise to your higher truth.
  • A commitment to the truth within yourself.
  • An affirmation to yourself beyond what you see and know.
We tend to gravitate toward different interpretations even though the result may lead to the same thing.

In other words, different truths come up for different people even though the goal could be the same.

But what does that mean?

Some of the New Year Resolutions that we are familiar with are:

“I want to lose 10 pounds”
“I will not overspend my budget in 2019”
“I will create a new online course”

While all those are essential, healthy, needed, and productive a Sankalpa goes a step further and asks,

What does or will it feel like when you…

Lose 10 pounds? Or stick to your budget? For someone that could be Happiness. For someone else that could be Belonging. Vitality. Self-Awareness.

This is what it means to have different truths for different people even though the goal could be the same (aka losing 10 pounds).

Forming your Sankalpa or Intention

As a result, as these higher truths sprout up we receive them as gifts already within ourselves which forms your Sankalpa

“I am happy or happiness”
“I am love”
“I belong”
“I am vitality”
“I am self-aware”
“I am the color red”

Figuring out your Sankalpa(s) may not be that straightforward. It may change from day to day, or from the beginning of class to the end of class.

All is well, remember these are truths that you are calling on within yourself sprouting up for different reasons and maybe at different times

Here are a few takeaways for you to practice or other ways to find your intention:

See your list of goals and dreams.

  • After reviewing them, is there a theme you see? As you see the theme, reflect on how it will make you feel when you accomplish them. Say or write to yourself “I am____” fill in the blank with that feeling

Practice a Yoga Nidra class.

  • The beauty of a Yoga Nidra class is that it puts you in a state of deep relaxation in body and mind while still being aware and awake. That feeling right before you fall asleep is in the theta brainwave or also known as the hypnagogic state. When our body and mind are quiet for once, it could be easier to “listen” to the alignment of your heart and Buddhi mind. That is the state we want to be in to come up with our Sankalpa. Because we’re in the fuzzy state of mind your intention may come up as an image, a phrase, a color, or a feeling.

Life’s Intentions

“The chief architect of life is the mind” – Rod Stryker 

When we align our mind to our life’s intention, we live from a space of flow. Situations will still challenge us, and life does not get easier, but we have that higher sense or that higher commitment to yourself that your moving in the direction of your intention or Sankalpa.

I would love to hear your thoughts on setting intentions, goals, or your Sankalpa.

Here are a few of mine:

  1. I am abundance
  2. I am a well-respected professional
  3. I am open and receiving


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