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In most versions of Sokoban, you have three choices to make before you start to play. They are either to begin a new game, continue from a previously visited level, or go into edit mode.

Begin a new game
As the choice implies, you will start from the first level of the first stage. From here, you can attempt to beat the first level and get as far as you can. Every time you complete ten levels, you advance to the next stage. Different versions have different numbers of stages, but each stage almost always has ten levels.
Most versions of the game provide passwords that record your progress through the game, indicating which stage you are in, and what level of that stage you are up to. If you record that password, you can enter it when you choose to continue, and pick up from the last level you left off from.
Edit mode
A popular aspect of this game is the ability to take any level design that you have created, add it to the game, and allow other people to attempt to solve your puzzle. Many versions that offer an edit mode also provide a means to save that level to disk or to a battery backed save file so that they can be stored and retrieved after the machine's power has been turned off.