I’m so glad you have come across this post! Whether spiritual goals are a new concept to you or not, I am so happy that you are considering making spiritual growth goals for 2023! By setting the intention to be closer to your faith and taking action, you develop a closer relationship with the God of your own understanding and yourself on a much deeper level. Spiritual goals are one of the best ways to further your personal development and expand your heart.
This blog post is not centered on any one religious or spiritual beliefs. In my experience of traveling and learning about other cultures, what I have found is that the majority of people’s spiritual and faith-based beliefs center around being a good kind person that is respectful and loving towards themselves and others while keeping their faith and God or divine power of their own understanding close to their heart. Please feel free to replace God, Spirit, Divine with the word that feels most close to your heart as you read on.
What is a Spiritual Goal?
A spiritual goal is a way of creating an actionable intention for your spiritual growth to gain more clarity in your purpose in life, become closer to a higher power or God of your own understanding, or live life with more grace and love.
A spiritual goal can be any intention or desire of your choice that you can devote time and effort towards. Spiritual goals tend to be more about the spiritual journey of becoming than achieving. Such as becoming closer to God’s love, becoming more guided by your creator, or more grounded in your beliefs and faith. One added benefit on your spiritual journey is that setting goals that bring you closer to Spirit will also support you in getting to know yourself on a deeper level.
5 Steps to Setting SMART Spiritual Goals in 2023
As we delve into the steps for spiritual goal setting, I want to set the intention to set goals that help you grow as a spiritual being. Goals that help you become more of a reflection of the love from a divine power. To steer away from goals of “doing” and goals more focused on “being” and “becoming.”
SMART Goals are:
- Time (within a time frame)
1. Be Specific in Your Goals
Spend time in meditation, prayer, or reflection, asking a question such as “who or what do you want to be more of?” In reflecting on the past year, is there a part of your spiritual life that could be strengthened in 2023? Or maybe there is a trait you can strengthen that would bring you closer to God? Maybe focus on being loving or more kind? Perhaps you want to live with less worry and surrender to God more? Or focus on having more appreciation and gratitude for life or a stronger connection with God. These ideas are by no means an exhaustive list, just some inspiration to reflect on.
I encourage you to spend some quiet time alone, dig deep and create a goal with deeper meaning. It’s much easier and more surface-level for someone to set a goal such as reading a bible verse every day than it is to dig deeper into why you want to read a bible verse every day? What are you actually looking to gain from setting your goals?
I challenge you to get out of your comfort zone in setting your goals. Spirituality is about challenging yourself to be more connected to the deeper meaning in life, reflect on your whys, go beyond just surface-level action goals.
2. How will you measure Your Goal?
You can measure your goals in a variety of ways. Once you have set your goal, you want to think about how you will achieve it. Suppose you have a goal to trust God more. Think about what daily actions can support this goal. Maybe it’s something such as praying each morning and taking time to listen. At the end of the day, writing in a journal on daily events and moments, you were able to lean in and surrender. Taking time to reflect on challenging moments and growth opportunities.
If you are digging deep, your goals will not be as easily measured as checking a box that you prayed today. However, you can still create a simple system, such as reflecting on your actions at the end of the day. For example, if you use the above example of trusting God more and controlling less, this could be a reflection in a prayer journal or just a self-check-in at the end of the day.
While you want a system to measure, it’s more about accountability as spiritual goals are more about progress, self-reflection, and personal growth than “doing” something. Spirituality is about growth, journey, and awareness, so I encourage you to keep that in mind when measuring your progress.
3. Goals that are Achievable
You want to set yourself up for success with your goals and actions, so be realistic when creating them. Can you actually achieve them? Maybe you have goals and activities that you work on weekly rather than daily. Perhaps it’s a focus of your Sunday morning rather than a daily devotion. Be honest with where you are in your spiritual journey and create spiritual practices that you can realistically integrate into your life with success.
Ease into your new goals. What you don’t want to do is what so many people do in January regarding fitness and weight loss goals. They set unrealistic goals that are not conducive to their current lifestyle, then they flood the gym for the first couple weeks of January, and by February, they’ve quit their goals and are back in their old ways.
You want to be a year-round regular with your spiritual goals, so take into account a transition period. Depending on your goal, spend 5 mins on it a day. Maybe it’s a goal and action that can be integrated throughout your day, such as shifting from a judgmental thought of another to seeing a positive quality in them. You can set the alarm on your phone at noon each day to check in with yourself or set a reminder.
What you don’t want to do is create all-or-nothing goals- we are humans, and we will falter. You also don’t want to set time expectations for yourself that are unrealistic or unachievable. For example, a goal of reading the bible or a spiritual book and reflecting in your journal each day may take more time than you can devote on a daily or regular basis, so maybe once a week is more realistic for the time being. You can always do more than your goal. The idea is to set yourself up with new spiritual habits that take you in the right direction for your own spiritual path in life.
4. Your Goals Should be Relevant
You want to create goals that are relevant to who you want to be and what you want your relationship with God to look and feel like. Your goals should support or be relevant to the overall big picture you are desiring in your spirituality.
Relevant is really about knowing the “why” behind your goal, the reason you are making it a goal, why it matters to you and will make a difference in your life.
Your goals should support your growth regarding the spiritual person you desire to be.
5. Anchored in a time frame
Your spiritual goals can be anchored in a time frame that is daily, weekly, monthly, or for the entire year. You may choose one goal per month, or you may choose a theme for the year. This will be unique to what your goal is, what actions you select, and what you feel you can realistically commit to in 2023.
Examples of Spiritual Goals
1. Goal to be more loving and compassionate towards others.
Action: Practice Listening to your Heart: I don’t mean I love chocolate chip cookies, so I should listen to my heart and eat more. I’m talking about challenging yourself to listen to your heart over the chatter in your head. By listening to your heart, you may find you have more empathy, compassion, and kindness towards others and yourself. It may take some practice if this is not something you are used to doing. I like to guide my clients in quieting their minds and putting their hands over their hearts. The heart always speaks in a loving, kind, nurturing manner. You may also find meditation or spiritual walk to be supportive in listening to your heart more.
2. Goal: Allow more Guidance from Spirit.
Action: Spend more time listening to God than asking of God: You can find so many actionable ways to listen more, whether that’s through reading the daily bible or spiritual texts, attending a church gathering or mass, and really listening and taking time to reflect, though spending time in nature, listening to quiet whispers or signs from above. Open yourself up to the creative ways in which the Divine is guiding and supporting you. You may find keeping a journal a great way to record how Spirit supports and speaks to you.
3. Goal: To Learn More About God’s Word
Action: Consider reading a testament of the bible this year or the entire bible over the next year or two. You could also read a daily devotional book with daily bible verses and reflection or join a spiritual online community or bible study. There are so many books, workbooks and, apps, and online programs devoted to the daily spiritual text of your choice. Maybe you even consider learning about another belief system, looking for similarities that another community shares with yours.
4. Goal: Cultivate More Inner Peace
Action: Sit in prayer or meditation and ask yourself for guidance on what steps you can take to cultivate more inner peace. You may need to reflect on what is causing stress or unsettledness within and work on healing those pieces. You may find that creating a more peaceful environment on the outside, such as going on a quiet, peaceful walk or turning on some soothing music, may support you in bringing that peace inward.
5. Goal Develop Daily Gratitude Practice
Action: Practice gratitude using a journal or another means for personal reflection. A gratitude practice is quite possibly one of the simplest yet transformative practices you can have. A gratitude practice supports you to find appreciation for the gifts and blessings bestowed in your life. A gratitude practice can shift your relationship with yourself, your creator, friends and family, really everyone. Seeing blessings in the world and others can completely shift your mindset and view of life.
6. Goal: To express care and kindness towards others, especially those who are very different from me.
Action: Practice tolerance daily. There is much division in our world right now. Practicing more tolerance is something our world can use more of, and as Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” There are several ways you can practice more tolerance daily. A few suggestions are to name a positive quality (even if it’s just in your head) when you find yourself judging or criticizing someone; this is something I try to do myself if I catch myself judging someone. The truth is it doesn’t feel good in my heart to be critical or negative towards others, and it doesn’t align with my true beliefs.
Another suggestion is to learn about someone or a community you struggle to tolerate with an open mind. Try to understand who they are on a deeper level, what their story is, how they came to be. It’s not about agreeing with others, but taking the time to truly understand others supports you in developing more tolerance and perhaps even more compassion, respect, and care for them.
7. Goal: Spend more time with God
Action: There are several actions you can take to meet this goal, designating a few minutes a day to prayer, writing in a prayer journal, reading the bible, reading from a daily devotional book, or listening to a daily podcast, attending church, spend some time in meditation or prayer and ask for guidance on what is the best way for you to spend more time with God.
Whether you find this blog post at the start of the new year or well into 2023, it’s never too late to set spiritual goals and deepen your spiritual practice. A good way to start is to dive in who, regardless of what time of year it is, today is a perfect time, so dive in!
Karla Kueber is a Certified Evidence Based EFT Practioner and Health Coach with a background in Energy Medicine and a double Masters Degree in Education. She works with people to, heal trauma, overcome their past and use it to fuel their future. You can learn more about her own healing journey here.