Intention Seeking for the New Year


Nurturing New Habits

Do you run on autopilot? Many of us do. Because of this, it might take some effort to build new habits because it is easy to fall into default mode (aka Old Habits).  This is certainly the time of year that resolutions and good intentions are born. While goal setting is great, I also like to look at this as a time of setting intentions, a sankalpa.

A sankalpa is Sanskrit (classical language of India) and translates to a determination or purpose.  I like to think of myself as an intention seeker.  I'm intentional or deliberate when I'm trying to uncover what I really want and why I want it.  I also like to imagine what it will feel like when I achieve it.  A sankalpa looks at the larger purpose behind your goal and really makes it part of who you are.  You can learn more about nurturing healthy habits in this "Finding Your Why" video.  Now, let's take a deeper look at discovering what your sankalpa might be for 2024. 

Discovering Your Sankalpa

  1. Write it down!  Jot down any resolutions or intentions that you'd like to accomplish this year.

  2. Meditate or contemplate.  Close your eyes and consider positive experiences you had in the last 12 months that made you feel happy and grateful. No…it doesn’t have to be associated with your new resolution. For instance, if you started journaling last year, great!  Meditate on it.  If you made a new dish in the kitchen, how did it make you feel?  If you read a book that you've wanted to read, how did that make you feel? 

  3. Look for patterns.  Determine if there are any patterns or experiences that you can bring to this year’s resolution. For instance, what steps did you take to make it happen?  Find similarities in what you’ve done in the past and how you can apply to your new intention.

  4. Create your sankalpa.  Look at the full picture (wide angle approach versus zoom) and explore why you want this new resolution and how you can make it part of you.  When it's part of who you are and you see yourself accomplishing this new intention, it can help you embrace the possibilities and how it will feel when you attain your goal.  Acknowledge that it may not come easy, but with determination, you can make it happen!

  5. Revisit often and refine when needed. Edit, condense to a word or phrase and carry it with you or put reminders in places that you frequent. Maybe a sticky note on a bathroom mirror, a screen saver on a computer, a reminder on your phone.

  6. Begin and end your day with intention.  When you go to sleep at night and when you wake up, think of your sankalpa and smile. Make it part of you when you end and begin your day.

  7. Enjoy the journey! There are no mistakes in life….only learning experiences.

Intentional Resources 

  • To learn more about sankalpas, visit Planting Seeds, Cultivating the New Year

  • If you're ready to create new habits for 2024, consider registering for the Healthy Habits program.  This program is a 4-week online program that focuses on 4 pillars of health and wellness: stress, sleep, nutrition and movement. 

  • Check out the Well-being Events Calendar and find offerings that can assist you in being your best self.

  • Learn more about Well-being at SAS and learn more about all dimensions of health that are here to support you. 


About Author

Celeste Cooper

Wellness & Fitness Manager

Celeste has been in the science, health and wellness field over twenty-five years. She began as a research chemist with a concentration in genetics and nutritional biochemistry. After working in the medical field, she saw the need to follow a path of proactive wellness and prevention. After receiving her Masters in Health Education, she ventured into the mind/body world receiving training in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and Yoga. Shortly after, she received the 2003 Wellness in the Workplace Award for a large health system in the state of Virginia. In 2004, Celeste joined SAS Institute, Inc. and continues to be passionate in her position overseeing Wellness and Fitness. She believes curiosity and collaboration bring insight and new ideas which bring out the best in everyone from team members to those who are making healthy lifestyle changes. Believing that the body knows how to heal if given the proper tools, Celeste earned certifications in Aromatherapy and Essential Oils, Classical Chinese Medicine and Homeopathic & Naturopathic Medicine. She earned her Doctor of Naturopathy degree in 2020. Celeste is a published author and practices what she preaches and teaches. She is a nationally recognized Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES) and has advanced certificates in Integrative and Functional Nutrition, Genetics and Genomics. She is an Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher (E-RYT) with the National Yoga Alliance, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Instructor, Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach (FMCHC) and Certified Yoga Therapist (CYT).

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