It's New Year's Eve and many of us are contemplating waking up tomorrow with resolution that will alter our lives for the better. New Year, New You right? Unfortunately, typical self-improvement resolutions simply don't last. Interestingly, nearly 50% of people make some kind of new years resolution with just 8% seeing thoses resolutons through to the year's end according to a well cited article in the medical journal Clincial Psychology.

So why do so many resolutions fail? It might simply be that we're choosing the wrong resolutions or goals. The I'll lose 5 kgs, drink less, exercise more, goals that require a power through and hard work mentality are at odds with exactly what a resolution actually is-  in fact, the root of the word “resolve” means to “loosen,” “untie,” or “release”  therefore a resolve or resolution is a form of surrender or a way to loosen and find kindness to ourselves and others. 

So what does that actually all mean?

On the surface, typical goals like reducing stress or getting fitter may seem like great ideas. But dig deeper and you may find a greater purpose. Maybe the goal of less stress translates to actually desriing to being more patient with your partner, or losing that 10kgs is actually about being healthy which enables you to play with your kids. For resolutions to work we need to find the emotional reason behind the commitment as an interpersonal resolution actually has a different neural signature or pattern of brain activity than a goal driven by self-image or self-focus. We need to tune in to the heartfelt wish, the deeper desire or as we call it in yoga... our Sankalpa. 

Next questions. What is this Sanskrit word Sankalpa?

San means “born from the heart,” while Kalpa means “unfolding over time" says Dr. Richard Miller, PhD, a clinical psychologist and author of Yoga Nidra The Meditative Heart of Yoga. For the resolution to have longevity, to be worthy of your effort it needs to be one that isn't focused just around grit and determination and moves beyond the superficial.

Today, as you're contemplating what a new year means to you and where you want to go with this annual re-set button take a minute to consider re-framing those resolutions from a different perspecitve. Think about the aspiriations that serve you on a higher level and that have a heartfelt evolving focus not just an end game plan. 

Interested in how to set a Sankalpa? There's a great article over at one of our fav publications Yoga International on setting intentions and how to follow through with them plus there be loads of talk this week in class about these kind fo ideas.