Let’s be honest, the hustle and bustle of daily life can distract even the most calm and focused person. From our mounting to-do lists and important client meetings, to remembering to post that tweet — the list goes on and on.
The balance between achieving your personal and professional goals can be easily disturbed by all the ruckus. This is where the yogic practice known as sankalpa can help.
For those who practice yoga you're probably well aware that it’s tradition to step onto your mat and set an intention for the practice. This creates a space where the practice connects your mind to your body, offering a greater purpose beyond the physical realm.
An intention can be as simple as a word that you dedicate your practice that represents a value you'd like to bring into your life.
Over time, your actions will start to align with your intentions. When you begin to understand what you are seeking from your practice, you can see how to direct energies and actions in order to get there.
You can create incorporate a sankalpa into your practice by reciting a short affirmation to bring about positive change.
Think of it as a short term goal for manifesting your reality. It’s all about thinking about a certain value you'd like to invite into your livelihood. An example of a sankalpa affirmation could be: "I want to express compassion more often," or maybe "I want to laugh out loud today." You could also make a conscious choice to ditch the FOMO (fear of missing out) in your life.
But you don't have to limit a sankalpa to just your yoga practice — you can also apply it to all areas of your life.
Here are four ways you can use sankalpa in your life to help you live better and attain your goals:
1. Acknowledge your blocks.
Hey, we all have blocks in most areas of our lives, many (if not all) of which we've put up ourselves. You may have made plans to start writing a book or to go to the gym every morning. The thought of these plans made you warm and fuzzy when you set them, but they just didn’t happen.
Realize that this is OK, forgive yourself and move on. Start fresh and set your intention each week to move forward with your goals by honoring your limitations. In other words, use this as a tool to get out of your own way!
2. Take a step forward every day.
Maybe your sankalpa means that you simply take a step forward each day, in acknowledgement of the value of your intention.
If you have aspirations to exercise more, you could start by walking up and down stairs instead of taking the elevator. If you wanted to start writing a book, brainstorm some ideas and write them down to get you started. Even the smallest steps count toward something bigger, and you should acknowledge these steps as working toward your goal.
3. Stop comparing yourself to others.
Everybody is at a different stage in their journey to reach their goals. While it can be great motivation to benchmark yourself against others, it can also result in living a smaller life because you can't seem to step up and move beyond, “Why does she have it, and I don’t?”
4. Be kind to yourself.
It is always a great practice to express gratitude toward people in your life, so try to extend this same principle to yourself. Congratulate yourself when you have made small steps to achieve your larger goals. This keeps you motivated about consciously achieving your intentions.
Intentions and sankalpas aren’t uttered once and then forgotten about. In yoga, during challenging poses, we can call forth our intention and allow it to power us through the posture. Just like in yoga, a sankalpa can be applied to power you through the challenges of life.