How to: Intentions, Goals and Sankalpa:

My way of setting goals + ambitions that can be fulfilled.  To let your purpose be discovered

Here, I am turning to the idea of intentions.  I believe these are the essence of what you truly feel you need to attain, learn about, explore, in order to come closer to your life goals/purpose.

This year I created a few intentions to guide me throughout the year. This has been the first time I have done this. I guess I have just discovered a lot over the second half of last year with my personal and career directions that I have been really inspired to clarify my visions for the year.  My list of intentions serve a different purpose to a list of goals, but for me they do work hand in hand.  This year I firstly ignored the talk about 'not setting goals because it sets you up for failure', because when you are realistic about them, your ambition should drive you to achieve them because they are ultimately what you want out of your life right?  Ambition. This is the driver, but sometimes (or a lot of the time) while we have it, of course it can be so hard to make the first and second and third move and start achieving.  So while goals are important, I have found a way to simplify them so they are honoured by the core of who we are.


Let's take the idea of goals and look at them from another angle. I have been greatly inspired by Danielle L'Aport's Core Desired Feelings, which are her versions of goals.  With her resources I explored the idea of achieving my purpose and success by determining the way I WANT to feel.  Immediately this has empowered me to take a path that feels right in achieving my goals.  This idea is clearly not new and it is also a strong tradition in yoga known as a sankalpa.  A sankalpa is another form of an intention.  It is a commitment and intention that is set based on your true inner beliefs and who you already are at your deepest core.  It is based on the idea that you already ARE your intention and you have everything inside you to be and feel this way, in order to achieve your purpose - or dharma. A sankalpa is always in the present tense, acknowledging that you do not need to search for your intended way of being externally and in any time frame; it is inside of you right now, there to be discovered and brought to the surface.  As a result, it honours our truest nature and it can guide you to fulfilling your purpose.

A guide to creating your Intentions that also use sankalpa principles to empower you:

1. You can start with a hard-hitting goal that you have wanted to achieve.


Health: I want to have a regular yoga practice; I want to eat more plant food and less meat.

Career: I want to publish my work; I want to network and find more like-minded people


2. Step back from the above goals and now think about how you want to FEEL instead (ultimate goals, your heart's desires)

As with the Core Desired Feelings, this is a really deep way of determining what your true goals are/should be.  If you think about your absolute content self, what does it feel like?  If you stripped it all back, how does your gut say you want to feel?


Health: I want to feel healthy; my fullest potential of health; i want to feel fit, I want to feel energised

Career: I want to feel satisfied creatively and confident in sharing my ideas to make a difference


3. Create your Sankalpa

This is simply a phrase/idea that reflects the above desired feeling in the present tense, as you already ARE the above desired feeling.  This is all about connecting to this feeling and phrasing it in a way that empowers you to start filling your inner being with it.


Health: I love my body; i nourish my body; i want to take care of my body; I am cleansed within

Career: I attract positivity and creativity; I am creative; I am motivated; I am empowered to make change


4. Determine ways to feel that way (intentions)

Now you can find the means of feeling this way. This would ultimately be your intentions - the means to fulfilling your desired feelings.  This time, with the actions to go with it.


Health: If you want to feel healthy, what actions satisfy this feeling? If you smoke, perhaps quitting is an intention.  If you feel weak and lethargic perhaps your diet or exercise regimes could need revising.

Career: Do you need to share your ideas online, do you need to network to meet more people in your field?

Maryanne Torok