Not everyone considers themselves to be spiritual. Thus, spiritual goals aren’t for everyone. However, we believe that setting spiritual goals has a way of enriching your life, making you happier, and making you a better person. Spirituality has been a cornerstone of human life for thousands of years, after all.
Spiritual goals are inherently different from many other human goals, however. For one, spirituality comes in many forms and religions, and the goals you set can vary widely based on what beliefs you base them on. Secondly, spiritual goals are all up to you! There’s little in the way of external tracking of your progress for spiritual goals. They mostly involve the soul and the person who sets them.
Whether you’re spiritual or not, we hope to enrich your understanding of spiritual goals, feelings, and learning through this guide. We hope to teach you some of the most effective and popular spiritual goals that people set, what benefits they have, and how they can fit into your life.
Before you set any spiritual goals this year, take some time to do some personal soul-searching. Introspection and meditation will help you identify the areas of your faith where you might be lacking. It will be easier to find and set proper goals if you can pick out your problem areas first.
When our lives get busy and chaotic, we can sometimes lose track of ourselves and our spiritual connections. In addition to helping us learn our inadequacies better, introspection helps us to reconnect with our more spiritual self and our beliefs.
Introspection provides even further benefits when we practice it consistently. Check out our list of some of these benefits below.
- Helps you come to terms with your existence and your place on Earth
- Relieves of you of doubts and insecurities
- Drives you toward mental harmony and serenity
- Clarifies your chaotic thoughts
- Helps you to react calmly to new situations and problems
- Clears your mind to allow rational, calm thought
Sometimes, we feel reluctant to partake in introspection because we know we’ll see things within us that we don’t want to see. However, this is an inevitable part of the spiritual process. Most religions and faiths teach us that we are innately flawed beings that require forgiveness and continual growth to become our best selves.
Knowing that something you don’t want to face is inside you may make the process seem daunting. The results, though, are worth it. Regular introspection allows you to face the demons you keep inside and calm your chaotic energies. After all, it’s awfully hard to help others if you do not help yourself first.
Fix Bad Habits
As we strive to become ideal members of our various faiths and religions, the breaking of bad habits becomes a near-universal obstacle. Since we all possess bad habits in some form or another, setting a goal to break one or more of them is a great starting point for getting your faith life back on track.
If you think this suggestion doesn’t apply to you, you haven’t looked into yourself enough! In our eternal struggle to reach perfection, we all develop and maintain bad habits, no matter what we do. These habits can vary in severity, of course, but there is always something that you could do better or do differently in your life.
Identify these bad habits as best as you can. We recommend making a habits list, full of both bad habits you want to break and good habits that you want to form. Pick one at a time from each side, especially if they’re related, and try to replace your bad habit with a good one.
For example, if you have trouble with snacking on unhealthy foods during the day, replacing these unhealthy snacks with healthy choices like carrots, celery, or fruit is an excellent solution. In this way, you’re working towards both eating healthier in general and snacking on less unhealthy foods.
Changing the way you snack may not seem like a particularly spiritual goal for some, but maintaining the health of your body and soul is important. No matter how you believe you were created, your body was given to you as a gift, and it must be returned someday. In the meantime, it’s your duty to keep it in the best shape possible, both because it was given to you and because a healthy body allows you to do more spiritual work.
Think Outside the Box
Like we went over in the last few paragraphs, some goals might not seem spiritual to you when you first identify them. However, when you’re setting your spiritual goals, it’s essential to try thinking outside the box a bit. Spending less time on social media, for example, might not seem like an overly spiritual goal, but it frees up more time for you to spend on faith-related things.
Following this example, we’ve made a short list of less-conventional goals you can set to help you to fortify the faith-based aspects of your life. Consider the following:
- Get more exercise. Exercise keeps your body healthy, and hopefully, you can use as much time as you can to exercise outdoors, too. Spending time in nature is a popular way for many to get in touch with their spirituality.
- Spend less money. If you can cut out just a few dollars per week or per month from your budget, you can put that money towards donations or furthering your other spiritual goals.
- Travel more. If you have the resources available to make creative (and affordable) travel plans, make some to see places you’ve never been before. Often, the grandeur of beautiful scenes, mountain views, or magnificent landscapes can make people feel like they’re closer to whoever made them.
- Adopt an animal. Animals are precious creations that exist on this planet just like us, and there are many out there that are in need of rescuing. If you have the money, space, time, and openness in your heart to give one of them a home, think about doing so.
Many faiths and beliefs call us to treat those around us in the way that we’d like to be treated. Though we can’t do everything for everyone, sometimes a small gesture of caring or consideration can make a surprisingly significant difference in someone else’s life.
Although being considerate to the less fortunate is a noble goal in and of itself, you shouldn’t limit yourself to just that. Everyone around us is worthy and deserving of consideration and kindness. Something as simple as sending a stranger a smile or complimenting someone on their hairstyle or clothing is an excellent way to spread good cheer.
Being “considerate” is a bit of a vague term that refers to several different things, such as the following:
However, while consideration is something that should be given out freely, this doesn’t mean you should devote your life to satisfying others. There is a line to walk between helping others and helping yourself, and this line varies by the person. Some of us are called to devote our lives to the pursuit of belief and spirituality, while others of us work in different ways.
Just because you haven’t done as many works of faith or spirituality as your neighbor doesn’t make you any less in the eyes of a greater power. As long as you are working towards your spiritual goals and striving to do a bit more every day, you’re succeeding!
Set an Example
Regardless of whether you consider yourself to be someone with deep spirituality or not, it’s important that you set a proper example for those who look up to you. This can mean family members, students, friends, children, peers, or even strangers.
Setting a good example is tricky because it’s something that you need to maintain all the time. If someone sees you when you’re not setting a good example, they may lose respect in you or the effect may be lost. However, when you’re able to consistently set a good example for others, close to you or not, the result is strong and long-lasting.
Another benefit of actively trying to be a good example arises when you’re genuinely devoted to the example you’re setting. Rather than just putting on a good face for those around you, you can actually transform into the person you’re emulating if you’re at it for long enough.
In being a good example for others, you’re furthering the mission and the influence of the faith that you subscribe to. This is especially important if your faith mandates you to spread the word, as many do. Setting an excellent spiritual example for others is a subtle, non-intrusive way to do this.
Every faith has different writings and texts associated with it. If you don’t subscribe to any particular religion, you might even pick and choose your own. However, when you find something that lines up with your faith and beliefs, it’s important that you study these texts regularly to further your spiritual progress.
Religious texts vary greatly. The Bible is a standout, of course, but there are others, such as the Torah and the Quran. You may not subscribe to any religious writings yourself, and if you don’t, we recommend finding another religious or spiritual document to study, or at the very least, a mentor with profound teachings to follow.
In the 21st century, many religious people are drifting away from strict interpretations of spiritual texts, preferring to let their hearts and souls guide them instead. Even as this happens, though, it’s crucial that we look to these ancient teachings for guidance. Even if their situational meanings have been lost with time, the messages beneath are still clear and relevant to us.
Setting a goal to read your chosen source of spiritual inspiration is a great place to start. Try reading a verse every night before bed, or spending an hour pondering the writings every week.
Prayer is the most basic and reliable method of deepening our spiritual connections. If you don’t worship a particular deity, your form of prayer might be deep, reflective thought or time spent outdoors, close to the Earth. All of these are acceptable forms of prayer. As long as it calms you and makes you feel closer to your beliefs, it’s correct.
Though many people prefer to pray in a church or other religious building in accordance with their religion, prayer doesn’t require any specific location to be valid. However, certain locations can change the feeling of connection that comes with prayer. A quiet place, for example, is usually much more conducive to this than a public area, but do whatever works for you!
Prayer provides more than just benefits to the user, however. Take a look at our list below.
- Frequent prayer provides an excellent example for others to follow
- Prayer is an excellent source of inner strength
- Prayer helps to calm turbulent emotions during tough times
- Prayer reduces ego and promotes humility
- Prayer brings members of a religion or faith together
Prayer and introspection can be very similar, and they almost act as different sides of the same coin for some spiritualists. If you don’t believe in a religion or deity, you probably tend more towards introspection. If you do follow a religion, you probably find yourself praying more often than not.
Forgiveness is a creed practiced and even mandated by religions across the globe. Even if you’re not the religious type, practicing forgiveness is a good idea. Evidence has shown that refusing to show forgiveness actually has negative health consequences.
Even if your religion or spirituality doesn’t urge you to forgive, it’s a good policy to hold in general. People who forgive others tend to be happier as well as healthier. Moreover, it provides a good example for the younger generation to follow.
Forgiving people can be difficult, but so can many of the things in this guide. A goal of forgiving those who do you wrong is a noble one that many people have trouble undertaking. If you can’t make forgiveness a natural part of your life, try forgiving a grudge you’ve been holding onto for a long time. You’ll be surprised by how much lighter you feel after you let it go.
Any forgiveness goal you set for yourself is a step in the right direction, no matter how big or small it might be. What’s more, depending on how someone has wronged you, forgiveness can take time. It’s often something that can’t be done overnight. However, as long as you are working towards forgiveness, your spirituality is heading in the right direction.
Go to Church
This entry is somewhat optional, as not all beliefs and religions have an equivalency that they can attend. However, if you don’t have anything like mass or church available, we recommend finding similar alternatives. Things like get-togethers, inspirational talks, community events, or even faith camps are great alternatives to going to church, although they may not occur on the same consistent schedule.
Any faith meeting like mass or church is a great way to keep your faith secure over time and stay happy. For those who don’t attend something similar regularly, faith can sometimes fall by the wayside when life gets chaotic or complicated. Committing to going on a regular basis keeps your beliefs and spirituality at the forefront of your mind, even when other things get complicated.
If you go to church or something similar already, think about contributing more to the cause instead. Volunteering at the church or organization or even donating your money or canned goods are great ways to do just a bit more. More often than not, religious organizations rely upon the goodwill of their patrons to meet financial goals and hold fundraisers, so your help will be very much appreciated.
If you’re not sure if there’s something like this out there for you, do some research online. The chances are that there’s some kind of gathering nearby that aligns with your unique beliefs or accepts people who are unsure. If there really is nothing available near you, you can always look into creating your own gatherings, too.
Community service is a valued tenet not only in spiritual organizations, but in government ones, too. Giving back to your community is just a generally admirable thing to do. It doesn’t have to have a faith-based spin on it, but more often than not, it does anyway. This is because religious organizations are often the ones most called to take care of their communities and give to the less fortunate.
We mentioned giving back to your church in the last section, which is a great place to start, but you can go much further as well. Consider the ideas we’ve listed below for giving back to your community.
- Donate money, food, or time to a soup kitchen or homeless shelter
- Join community efforts to create shelters, community gardens, and other improvement plans
- Volunteer at animal shelters, park cleanups, and food or faith-based events
- Donate money, clothing, or toiletries to the poor and less fortunate
People sometimes feel reluctant to serve their faith or community because, most often, you will be asked to donate of your time and money to receive nothing physical in return. What you receive is not a worldly gift; your reward is the feeling of satisfaction you get from helping out, in addition to the sense that you’ve served your beliefs well.
Keep a Journal
If you’re the type to keep journals about your life and feelings, try a faith-based journal. We recommend giving it a try even if you’re not the journal-writing type, just because of the benefits and clarity it can provide, though it can be a hard habit to get into.
Keeping a faith-based journal lets you keep track of your revelations, your hardest times, your good times, and even your average days. When you’ve kept it for a while, the journal allows you to track the way your own beliefs fluctuate, and it can even help you identify why. Most of all, though, keeping track of how you get through your best and worst times gives you guidance on how to get through them in the future.
A faith journal is very flexible. Depending on how much time you need as an individual to benefit from it, you can set goals to write in it once per day, once per week, or as needed. As long as you stick to your goal of using it, the benefits will eventually become apparent.
A faith journal is also wonderful because it pairs beautifully with times spent in introspection or prayer. You can use the journal-writing time as your time to look inward, or you can write your reflections in the book after you’ve had your time to yourself.
The struggle to maintain honesty is something that every human on this Earth faces. Different faiths and beliefs demand different levels of honesty, of course. From a non-faith-based standpoint, dishonesty is frowned upon by our society, but it’s often employed for personal gain nonetheless. Many religions, however, teach their followers to strive for total, transparent honesty in all things.
Why should you be honest? The short answer is that it’s what our society expects. Spiritual people, especially tend to stay away from compulsive liars. Obviously, lying can also get you into trouble, if not with your friends then with the authorities.
Besides the common-sense ones, honesty has some other surprising benefits, too:
- Honesty promotes better health
- Lying requires more effort than being honest
- Honesty shows your strength of character
- Honesty leads you to good things where lying leads to bad
Most of us were taught not to lie by our parents as we were growing up. Though lying can still sometimes feel like the easiest way out of a situation, set your goals to resist the temptation whenever you can. Honesty might feel scarier, but those around you will appreciate your honesty. Your spirituality will, too!
Many faiths call their followers to express gratitude for creation, life, and the mercy provided by associated deities. Some even call for worship. Though both are deeply spiritual practices, gratitude is something you’ll want to bring into your everyday relations with others, while worship is not! Being grateful for your faith, for others around you, and for all that you have makes you a happier person overall.
Sometimes, in the chaos of the day-to-day, we forget what we’ve earned and what we’ve worked so hard for. We especially tend to forget about what we’ve been given, and we’re always searching for more as a result. Feeling gratitude, however, keeps our feet on the ground, so to speak, in remembering how far we’ve come and how many gifts we’ve received.
Your spirituality in and of itself is a gift that you should be thankful for. That aside, though, try making goals to be grateful for the little things every day. For example, try pointing out one new thing every day that you’re thankful for, whether it be something substantial, like a friend, a promotion, a running car, a safe home, or something very small, such as a garden or possession.
When the going gets tough, gratitude is what keeps us grounded. Even if something catastrophic happens in your life, you will always have your faith, the support of family or friends, and a way to recover and get back on your feet. Until we die (or even after, depending on what you believe), nothing is truly the end.
As human beings, we tend to judge others without even really realizing it. When we pass by someone on the sidewalk or the highway, we automatically make unconscious decisions about them based on their looks and their manner. This is largely out of our control, but whether we allow these judgments to affect our minds and how we interact with others is entirely up to us.
When you’re out and about and something judgmental crosses your mind, put a stop to it! Go back and think to yourself, “No, I can’t know what’s going on with that person. I don’t know them or their situation.” If you make a note of stopping your judgments when they happen, they will eventually come less and less. Make a goal of doing this whenever it happens, or at least a few times per day.
It can be hard not to judge others. By nature, our brains make snap decisions about our surroundings in order to decide whether we’re safe or in danger. The only way to stop it is to put genuine effort into doing so.
Many faiths also call their followers to accept their neighbors without judgment of them or their situations. Regardless of whether you follow a faith that beckons you to do so, we urge you to do the same. After all, treating your neighbor as you’d like to be treated is the first step to creating a happier, more peaceful world.