January is a natural time of beginnings and I get energized at the possibilities of the New Year. I clean, organize, and make goals. It’s crazy because by the end of the year, I feel like I’m failing and am back in survival mode again. But then I get excited because here comes January and a fresh start. Every January is a fresh year. All things are possible. Anne of Green Gables said it best – “Tomorrow is always fresh with no mistakes in it yet.” It’s the same with a new year.
I’m not alone with my optimism at the start of the new year. New Year’s Resolutions are incredibly popular. And while I’m not really into the “New Year, New You” mentality, I do recognize the beginning of the year as a natural time to stop, reflect, and make new habits. The most common resolutions include losing weight, saving money, eating healthy, developing a hobby, and spending more time with friends and family. What if instead of these usual resolutions, we worked on setting Spiritual Goals or Resolutions?
Setting Spiritual Goals
What if we resolve to respond in the new year as Mary responds, to contemplate as Mary contemplates, to give God our Yes as Mary does.
Have you ever developed New Year’s Spiritual Resolutions in addition to, or instead of, more traditional ones? Setting spiritual goals to welcome the new year (or at any time of the year) is a good way to reflect on your life journey, ponder where you want to be headed, and determine new habits to help you grow in faith.
A Sample of Spiritual Goals
- Read the Bible
- Start a Gratitude Journal
- Find a new Devotion
- Spend time in Adoration
- Practice the Works of Mercy
- Learn about the Saints
- Develop a more fruitful prayer life
That’s a list with all worthwhile objectives, but a bit overwhelming to tackle at once. So, what do you chose? Our spiritual goals should be specific to what we each need and how we each desire to grow in faith.
Each year I work through a multi-step process to set my spiritual goals beginning with reflecting on my past year. This year, I’ve created worksheets to help work through the process and I’ve made them available to you. Just enter your email at the bottom of the post for the workbook to be emailed to you immediately.
To get us started in determining our spiritual goals or resolutions, we should first reflect on our lives and journey so far. The last several years are probably a mess of highs and lows for all of us for different reasons.
We will need to dive a little deeper into these highs and lows from the past year to look for a common thread that will help us determine where we want to grow and progress in the new year. These questions don’t have to be answered in one sitting, but are designed to be prayed over, pondered, and held in your heart.
Identify a Theme
After answering the questions, we will take the questions and answers to God in prayer. I invite you to spend time in Adoration or somewhere quiet to pray about what you are seeking spiritually. Invite the Holy Spirit to guide us in reviewing our answers.
As we review our answers, be aware of a common thread or theme in what we are experiencing that might give us direction in what we may need or want spiritually. One popular way to develop a theme is to identify a word, Saint, or scripture verse that resonates with you.
One year the word JOY and the phrase, “Finding Joy in the Ordinary,” repeatedly got my attention. In setting spiritual goals that year, this phrase set me on a path to finding God and holiness in the day to day of my life.
Next in the goal-setting process, we will review a comprehensive list of possible Spiritual Goals to read through while pondering our theme. The idea is to pull out a few that will be starting points to identify one to three specific spiritual goals.
Goal Setting Tips
To help us decide our goals, we will take a look at goal setting tips. This is an important step It is not surprising to read that more than 50% of new year’s resolutions are broken within the first 4 months of the year and less than 10% succeed to the end of the year. So how do we create long lasting, effective goals that will help us for the year? We utilize common goal setting tips to help us in setting spiritual goals.
With the tips in mind, we’re going to review each of our potential goals using the Goal Planning worksheet.
Print and Pray
Once we’ve selected and refined our goals with the planning worksheet, we’re going to write them out. Displaying them will remind us to pray, inviting the Holy Spirit to aid us in growing in our faith through the resolutions we are striving for this year.
To work through the process of setting spiritual goals, I’ve created a download with worksheets for you to work through on your own time. They are free for you to download when you sign up to receive our email newsletter.
I hope the worksheet helps you define and set your spiritual goals for the year.