As we let go of 2020, the new year is an ideal time to look forward and create new goals. Many people make resolutions. Studies show that 80% of people give up their New Year's resolutions by mid-february. Resolutions often make us feel like we are not enough or something about us is wrong. As in, "I need to lose 10 lbs." We eventually give up when we don't feel we have the will power, get impatient when the results aren't happening quick enough or when we're falling short of the mark. It makes us feel like we can only pass or fail. It's also a "I'll be happy when...." idea, robbing of us of our happiness in the present moment.

There's another way to approach our goals with the yogic idea of sankalpa. The word sankalpa means "heartfelt intention". When setting a sankalpa, you acknowledge the duality that you are becoming your best self and already possess what you need to be your highest aspiration. A sankalpa might look like, "I take care of my body and maintain a healthy weight." When stated in present tense, you acknowledge the tremendous will, energy, and truth that arrive with the discovery of your heartfelt desire. It also reminds you that whatever is required of you is already within you.

Becoming our best self takes more than simply stating intention. It takes action. This is where we can create tapas or "burning discipline". Tapas is one of the five niyamas or "personal observances" in the second limb of yogic philosophy, as told in the Yoga Sutras of Pantanjali. Tapas is the willingness to stand in the heat to burn away old debri. It's cultivating a sense of self-discipline, passion and courage in order to burn away ‘impurities’ physically, mentally and emotionally, and paving the way to our true greatness.

We cultivate tapas when we forgo immediate gratification for something better in the future. It's when we put down the box of cookies or grab a healthy snack instead, to stay in the integrity of our heartfelt intention. Tapas also requires us to show up for ourselves on a daily basis. We begin by finding one or two things we can do daily to move towards becoming and being our best self. Start simple and be disciplined in something that's DOABLE. It might mean moving just 15 minutes a day in your body. If that's too much, start with 5 minutes. Building consistency builds heat. Fire is the element of illumination and transformation. We build on our momentum.

The practices of Ayurveda and yoga are ways to discover your sankalpa and to help build tejas. Ayurveda recognizes daily self care practices as the cornerstone of good health. A disciplined yoga practice or sadhana, will show you your truth, your strength and heartfelt desire.

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