As you reflect on this past year the question remains what do you want this coming year to be?
Every year I write down specific goals I have for myself. Sometimes I meet them but most of the time I look like the picture to the right when I read them come the end of the year.
I realize this practice without objectives, timely review dates, or someone holding me accountable, ends with me not accomplishing them. As with our own spiritual life, we also have to be intentional in how we set goals and go about them. So let's look at how we can set goals for our spiritual journey this new year and really hold to them.
Creating Spiritual Goals for the New Year
You may be asking shouldn't spirituality just come naturally? From my experience I would say "no". Developing spirituality is a process that takes intentionality and authenticity. Setting goals for our own spirituality can deepen our faith. It also focuses us on growing instead of just moving through the regular motion of our lives.
So here are some tips for creating and keeping our spiritual goals.
1. Align them with your Values - These are your goals so they should align to your values. I find identifying our personal values somewhat difficult without direction from others or something guiding me through an assessment process. Here is a values worksheet created by Virtus if you are interested in exploring your core values. There are lots of value worksheets out on the web if another one fits you better.
2. Think Backwards - Where/ who do you want to be at the end of 2024? It's helpful to think about your success and what that will look and feel like for you. Moving backwards also helps us identify how you got there.
3. Think Big but Start Small - It's easy for us to create lofty goals that are unrealistic to meet. That's why its important to think of small tangible things you can do that brings you closer to your overall goal. If your goal is to read more of the Bible than maybe it starts with reading a few verses every morning or using a daily app. Here are 10 apps you could use for a goal like this. The important part is breaking your goal into things you can manage and actually do.
4. Take Control - Set goals that rely on you not others. We have to be in control of the goals we set. When we allow others that privilege we give up our ability to direct our own lives. I believe God wants us to be free and open to choosing how to deepen that relationship with God and others.
5. SMART Goals - When you have an idea of what it is you would like to shoot now you need to write it down. Use a simple strategy to do this. I like to use the SMART technique. S - Specific M - Measurable A - Attainable R - Relevant T - Time Bound. This helps you narrow down exactly how you will meet your goal.
Keeping Spiritual Goals in the New Year
Now that you have identified a goal(s) for yourself it is important you keep it /them which is another task in itself. Here are some basic tips to help you.
1. Harness Unused Time - Sometimes the easiest and most effective way to deepen our faith is using time that is not being used. Maybe its in the shower, on the drive to work, or those few minutes you are waiting for your coffee to brew. Ask yourself do I have unused time I can devote to my spiritual goal.
2. Set Yourself up for Success - If music is your way to connect, leave instruments out in your living space not packed away in your closet where you are less likely to play them. With whatever practice or goal you have, set yourself up by creating the environment for you to succeed.
3. Get an Accountability Partner - It's important to share your goal with someone else you trust. When someone else knows about our goals than we are more likely to accomplish them. For some it may mean using social media while others it may be a personal conversation with another.
5. Post It! - When we see our goals we are more likely to accomplish them. So find a place to put up your goal. It might be next to your bathroom mirror, at your work space, or on your car's dashboard. Purposefully placing it in a spot where you recognize it and read it often will increase the likelihood that you will meet it.
Spirituality - Don't get Carried Away
Remember you are setting goals for your own personal growth. Spirituality is different for different people. I want to leave you with this hilarious youtube video from JP Sears which identifies various ways people try to be ultra spiritual. Make your own goals to deepen your connection but don't get carried away.
This was post was written by Craig Hidy.