As I write this, we are in that strange midway point between the flurry of the holidays and the beginning of the next year. Some say that the beginning of a new year is significant — it is a mental mile marker that allows us to track the journey of our lives, from post to post, with the months (and all of the very human struggles and triumphs that they hold) stringing between them.
Many are turning inward, assessing the final score for 2017, deciding what went well in business and at home, identifying what worked and what did not. Thoughts turn toward how well we feel that we have done in our personal assessments of the management of responsibilities and the search for happiness, and the ever-changing quest for a balance to it all. It is a time when we review our successes, and come upon strategies we feel might help us come one step closer to not only achieving our goals in the days to come, but also brings us closer to the image we each have of our version of a life fully lived.
As you are reading this, hopefully enjoying a hot cup of coffee or tea, we are beginning this brand new year — the new car smell hasn’t worn off yet, people are hitting the gym, I’m more than likely still turning the 7 at the end of 2017 into an 8 repeatedly — and the majority are probably still sticking to their New Year’s resolution.
I have some friends who don’t subscribe to the notion of “making New Year’s resolutions,” and I understand where they are coming from. I’ve had some friends explain that they just don’t feel like those kinds of resolutions are sustainable because a resolution takes long term — well, resolve — and utilizing my own experience thus far at least, I start out with plenty of resolve. I’m absolutely bursting with resolve, good intentions and a new planner at the beginning of the year. It’s keeping up a new routine and sticking to it, making new routines designed to support new habits, all while still dealing with the day-to-day unforeseen occurrences that can be hard.
Honestly, in years gone by, I can’t tell you how many resolutions have been waylaid because I didn’t allow space in my plans for life to do what it does, and I didn’t have the flexibility to move past the hurdle and keep at it. It’s a changeup that requires you to train like a long-distance runner rather than a sprinter.
According to Joseph Luciani, a contributor to U.S. News, by the second week of February, some 80 percent of those working toward a New Year’s resolution will have failed.
A good friend and I recently had a conversation about the subject, and we agreed that there had to be a way to escape being a statistic with our resolutions, and then my friend suggested that I look into the yogic concept of sankalpa, or sacred intention. I did, and I found that a sankalpa is considered to essentially be a sacred intention formed by the heart and the mind, filled with a deep determination to harness our energy and willpower to create focus in the mind and the body. Then, the sankalpa is followed through with tapas or fiery discipline. This is where the actual daily work comes in, day after day, creating purposeful change.
That’s what I’m really aiming for here anyways, right? Purposeful change. So maybe instead of throwing a bunch of resolutions at the wall and hoping that one will stick this year, I will do things a bit differently.
Perhaps the way to go about it is to pick one sankalpa — one sacred intention — and apply myself to it with passion, enthusiasm and endurance. They say that it takes 21 days to start a new habit, minimum, depending on the complexity of the new habit. The key is to remember that the results are not going to be immediate, the routine might get a little boring but in the end, it’s all worthwhile. This can apply to anything from quitting smoking to ramping up your exercise routine (or in my case, starting a regular exercise routine back up) to getting up an hour earlier in the morning.
I still have yet to narrow down my list to the final goal for 2018, but I know that when I do, it will be with intention and determination.