New Year’s always start off with great hype and optimism. Exercise more, eat healthier, read more etc etc. The list sounds all too familiar, thanks to the over-saturation of New Year’s resolutions in social media over the last few years. Self-improvement websites are all the rage at this time of year with 50 New Year’s Resolutions and How To Keep Them or New Year’s Resolutions You Should Never Make, making headlines.
On top of this, marketing companies have jumped on this bandwagon and started bombarding us with New Year sales, to help us keep those said New Year’s resolutions.
As cynical as it may seem, discounts on yoga passes, offers on cleanses or sales on gratitude journals are not really going to help us keep those resolutions for the next 364 days of the year.
Many people love to make idealistic, but often unrealistic resolutions. ‘I’ll go to the gym EVERY single day’, ‘I’m going to have a green smoothie EVERY single morning’, ‘I’m going to read before bed for 30 minutes EVERY night’. The year is then shaped a bit like a series of parabolas put together – a week where you commit to your said activity, and then a week where you don’t, a week where you commit, a week where you don’t… you get the pattern. For many people, the prospect of doing a new thing for each of the 365 days of the year looks pretty daunting.
But then, like many other things in life, let’s look at it from a different perspective. What if we don’t think of it as a New Year, but a New Day? If we don’t go on that walk one day, there is no need to feel down about it, but realise that tomorrow is a NEW day, a new chance at picking ourselves up again. We’re given a whole new set of 24 hours to live again! And when we begin to look at things like this, the year isn’t 365 days looong, but more like 365 chances at getting 24 hours again!
An important part of a New Day is setting an intention, or sankalpa, as it is called in Sanskrit. A sankalpa is a strong mental creative determination or affirmation. Sacinandana Swami, a modern day meditation practitioner, writes extensively about sankalpa in one of his newsletters. He once asked his Ayurvedic doctor about his maintenance plan, after a period of intense treatment at an Ayurvedic clinic. His doctor replied:
“The most important thing is a strong sankalpa – an inner resolve. All the best medicine and therapy in the world would be ineffective without such a commitment. On the other hand, with such a sankalpa you would almost not need anything else”
It’s such a nice way to begin each day – with a strong inner resolve – something we can plan new for each day, rather than be daunted by the task of having to do it every day for one year. We can use sankalpas to help frame our day, or even the very activity we are concentrating on – for as little or big as the task is. It’s a powerful method of setting your intention, and cultivating a strong inner resolve.
So don’t worry if you haven’t been able to catch up with your new year resolutions – there is a new day waiting ahead 🙂