I've never been one for New Year's resolutions. Surely January, with its short, grey days and post-festive flatness, is a time of hibernation and retreat, when promises made in good spirit are easily broken? But this year, I'm hoping to gain strength from the Sanskrit word, sankalpa - meaning determination - to help me bounce into the New Year, yogic guns a-blazing.
A sankalpa has been described as a New Year resolution with a yogic twist: an intention that explores what's behind the thought, and recognises the value of making the effort in the first place.
All too often (with me, anyway), it's easy to berate ourselves for setting goals and not keeping them - an unhelpful spiral that does the opposite of boosting self-esteem.
As far as I understand it (and I absolutely stand corrected!), a sankalpa aims to replace the destructiveness of dwelling on past transgressions with a focus on intention, surrender and openness to whatever life will bring this year.
So how to turn around a set of destined-to-fail New Year's resolutions so that they work for you?
Perhaps a good tool is to imagine what you would like to achieve this year, and how you would like to feel, and work backwards to achieve this. How will your resolutions best be realised? What frame of mind is needed to bring you where you want to be?
Patience is a virtue, it's said, and one that I often lack. It's important to remind yourself that change won't happen overnight.
One of my main resolutions this year is to establish a daily yoga and meditation routine. A sankalpa (as a mantra, perhaps) added to the mix can cement resolve so that it becomes embedded in your thoughts, and therefore your actions.
Writing a journal of thoughts, feelings and aspirations is another way to crystallize thoughts and intentions, and use them as a marker to move forward.
Have you made any New Year's resolutions? How do you intend to keep them? I'd love to hear; please leave a comment below.
Whatever techniques you use, I hope you a happy, healthy and focused New Year!
Lucia Cockcroft, editor