Each year I like to set a variety of personal and spiritual goals for myself to challenge me and keep me growing in my faith. If you’re feeling stumped for ideas for spiritual growth I have 40 amazing spiritual goal examples to kickstart your goal setting and my BEST tips to set smart goals that are perfect for YOU and actually attainable in your current season of life.
Why should you set spiritual goals?
I set spiritual goals to challenge myself to grow in my spiritual life. I don’t do it out of a sense of guilt or shame or “I have to do this” or “I should do this”, but rather as an “I get to do this” and out of a sense of joy and love!
I consider goal setting a spiritual practice that I engage in WITH God through prayer, listening and reflection.
If you set goals from a place of legalism or religious duty–it’s a good idea to stop goal setting all together. I’ve definitely had seasons where I struggled more with a legalistic perspective and needed to have NO spiritual goals.
This brought new perspectives and fresh grace to my faith walk. I’ve also had seasons where my lack of spiritual discipline was causing me to coast in my faith and I needed to set spiritual goals to help me grow my faith in my daily life.
Take some time to pray and ask God to search your heart and motivations for goal setting.
- Is it out of guilt or legalism or desire to win God’s favor?
- Is it from a sense of people-pleasing or because “everyone is doing it”?
- Is it from a sense of pride?
Any of the above is a good reason to put a halt to setting faith goals and simply rest in the love and relationship of your Father.
Knowing your why behind setting a spiritual goal is incredibly important so don’t skip this step!
What are spiritual goals?
Spiritual goals are any goals related to your growing your faith and spiritual practices. They cover a wide range of habits and intentions and actions.
How to set spiritual growth goals for 2023
Once you have paused and assessed your why in setting spiritual goals there are a few other useful steps to knowing how to set faith goals.
You can read more about my whole goal-setting process here, but let’s go over a little bit of the big picture how to create goals for our spiritual lives for the upcoming year.
1. Reflect on the past
Spend some time thinking about the past year.
- Did you grow spiritually like you hoped?
- What went really well?
- What felt really hard?
- What faith practice did you quit last year and why?
The reflective questions worksheet will help you mindfully evaluate the past year. Unless you acknowledge where you have been you, you aren’t going to move forward where you want to go.
Just as if you were beginning a fitness routine for the first time, you would take into account your past history of physical fitness and make goals accordingly. If you can’t walk a mile, maybe deciding to run a marathon in June isn’t a wise goal for you.
In the same way with spiritual goal setting, if you’ve never read the Bible regularly deciding that you want to read through the Bible in a year and spend an hour a day praying for the homeless is probably not the best starting goal for those practices.
Instead maybe scale back and commit to reading a devotional on a topic or book of the Bible for 10 minutes a day and attending a church in your community. That’s a great goal that is mindful of the past.
2. Dream about the future
Close your eyes and ask the Holy Spirit to give you a vision for your spiritual future. Do some “holy imagining” about how you want your faith to be in the future.
- Are you leading in your church?
- Teaching your children about God?
- Singing in the worship band and writing songs?
- Are you generous with your giving?
Don’t be afraid to dream BIG about your spiritual future. Remember, God’s dream for your life is bigger than you could ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).
3. Write down your goals
You can use the goal planning worksheet to in the New Year Bundle to put pen to paper and write down your spiritual goals. Think about creating “SMART goals”. These goals aren’t vague, instead they are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound.
Once you have your goals written down, don’t stick them in a drawer and forget about them. Add them to a note on your phone. Place your goal somewhere you’ll see it often.
4. Break down your new goal into bite-size portions
Here is the part where you make a plan for your spiritual goals. Think about breaking your goal down so it’s so small it would be silly not to do it. Consider these questions to help you break down your goal.
- What intentional actions are you going to take to meet your goals?
- What next step do you need to take to accomplish your goal TODAY?
- What is your daily Bible reading plan going to look like?
- Who do you need to email about getting in a small group?
- Where are you ordering your Bible study from?
- When will you meditate and where and for how long?
5. Create accountability to meet your goals
I find with spiritual goals it can be very helpful to invite people into your goal for accountability and cheerleading. This may be outside your comfort zone, but God created His people for community and fellowship.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 says…
“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”
This can be as simple as saying to a friend, “Hey, I want to read my Bible more often this year, could you ask me on Thursday what I’ve been learning about?”
You could also join an in-person or online community that is learning and growing together (one of my favorite ways to be accountable!).
You can be accountable on social media by posting about your goal and your progress or your “in progress”. You may be surprised who is watching and learning as you grow your faith and meet your spiritual goals.
If you want more help growing your faith, shifting your mindset, and setting goals for the new year, you’ve got to check out Your Vibrance Reset Toolbox. I break down BIG GOALS into daily habits so you can begin to see impactful spiritual growth in just 15 minutes a day.
40 Examples of Spiritual Goals
- Read through the Bible in a year. — I recommend The Bible Recap or this Chronological Bible. If it takes you more than a year that is more than okay. Don’t get hung up on doing it perfectly, just keep moving forward.
2. Read through the gospels every month. — Want to just SOAK UP JESUS? Reading repeatedly through the gospels is a great idea! Each time through look for something different (names of Jesus, actions of Jesus, word Kingdom, etc.) and mark or journal it. You can check out this plan to help you get started!
3. Spending time with God everyday. — Developing a time with God or devotions habit is one of the best ways to grow your faith. You can grab my free devotion resource bundle here and read more time with God examples from real women here!
4. Join a small group at church — Get into a small group to truly grow in community and apply the truth of the gospel to your life. Jesus modeled small group ministry with His disciples–lots of life change and personal growth happen in small group.
5. Attend church regularly — Start going to church! There are so many benefits emotionally and socially too–but being in a vibrant community of kind Christians will grow you spiritually. Of course, sometimes finding a church like that is harder than it sounds. You are welcome to join my church (where I speak at quarterly) online or in person!
6. Begin tithing to your local church — Tithing is generally considered giving 10% of your income to your local church. Tithing can start smaller than 10% and work up and you can also give to any charity, not just church if you are currently without a church home. Tithing and generosity are acts of TRUST in God. It’s not so much about what your money does, as it is the act of surrendering every piece of your life to God’s control.
7. Give monthly to a charity — Giving to a nonprofit charity is a great habit of generosity and caring to establish. My family has given beyond our tithe regularly to Compassion International for over 12 years!
8. Listen to more worship music.– This is an easy and enjoyable spiritual goal! Worship music shifts my focus and helps me relax. Some of my favorites are Hillsong Worship and Maverick City.
9. Join an in person or online Bible study — Bible studies are a great way to grow your faith! There are Bible studies of almost every kind–whether you want a study a book of the Bible, like Romans, or if you want a topical study like The Fruit of the Spirit.
10. Read a spiritually uplifting book — Every month choose a book to read that will grow your faith. I have assembled an awesome list of books here to get you started!
11. Begin a meditation practice. — I like to use The Pause App or use breath prayers while breathing deeply in a quiet space.
12. Serve in a local non-profit or charity — Regularly serving is a gift to those you serve and a gift to yourself. Serve as a family or with friends!
13. Memorize Bible verses — Choose a longer passage to focus on for the year like Psalm 1 or the armor of God, Ephesians 6:10-18. Or you can pick verses that speak to something you are dealing with like if you need to operate with more kindness, Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
You can use a concordance to look up verses by subject.
14. Write out a Bible verse everyday. — Writing out Scripture is a simple way to slow down and meditate on it. Both of my Bible studies– Claiming the Promises of God and Claiming Fresh Hope— are based on this method of Bible study. Each study also includes guided journal questions, a worship playlist that pairs with each day, and four Bible teaching lessons to help you understand extra context and depth of the SCriptures you are writing out.
15. Discover your spiritual gifting — The Bible talks about spiritual gifts in the New Testament, but many Christians are unsure of their gifting and how to use it in their church and family. This Spiritual Gifts Inventory can give you a great starting point for exploring your spiritual gift(s) this year.
16. Serve joyfully in your community — Going right along with discovering your spiritual gift, now you get to explore how best to use it to serve others! Your gift of teaching may involve teaching Bible study to imprisoned women, teaching via Facebook live, teaching Kindergarteners, teaching students or teaching in one-on-one relationships. Your gift of serving may mean making meals for new moms or running wire for new projectors at church. The best way to figure it out–try things!
17. Grow your prayer life — Commit to becoming a person of prayer. Learn about methods of prayer. Set prayer reminders on your phone. Set aside time to pray with others. Create a prayer journal to see how God works through your prayers over the course of the year.
RELATED: 4 Steps to A Powerful Prayer Life
18. Listen to sermon podcasts in the car-– What a great way to grow your faith when you don’t have much time! I really like Bridgetown Audio podcast, The Bible Project Podcast, and Cross Point Church Audio.
19. Begin a daily gratitude habit — Writing down what small things you are thankful for can change your life by shifting your perspective to ALL the things God has already given you!
20. Begin therapy — Therapy is a great tool to aid in healing wounds in your past or coping with stress, creating a better relationship, and more. Therapy helps dive deeper than the surface and gives you skills for your life today with a trained professional.
21. Begin a fasting practice. — Fasting is abstaining from something (normally food) to encounter God in new and fresh ways. Some people choose to fast from non-food things like social media, tv, alcohol, etc.
22. Participate in a spiritual retreat — Whether you go on a Women’s retreat or church retreat or choose to engage in a silent retreat by yourself, taking time away from the norm will grow your faith in new ways.
23. Write out all the “one another” passages in the Bible. — This is a great way to meditate on and study the Bible. You may be surprised by what is AND isn’t included.
25. Get a spiritual mentor or coach. — This could be an informal relationship with a friend who is a bit further in their faith or a professional relationship where you want to invest in someone who is trained to ask great questions and guide you deeper in your faith journey.
26. Start doing weekly Family Devotions night. — This doesn’t have to be complicated! Pick a Kids Bible or other devotional to read together, maybe sing together and pray for each other.
RELATED: 7 FAITH BUILDING IDEAS FOR FAMILIES
27. Connect with God in a new way — Maybe you being a weekly prayer walk. Maybe you lean into liturgy and connecting with God through pre-written prayers and responses. Maybe you create art as an act of worship. Maybe you write a worship song.
28. Commit to praying everyday for a fruit of the Spirit — Pray each day for one particular fruit of the Spirit–love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness or self control– to grow in your life. I’m certain this is a prayer God will answer abundantly in your life!
29. Learn about the enneagram — While the enneagram wasn’t developed to aid your spiritual journey and it’s not Scriptural, understanding how your personality and unique wiring affects your faith and relationships is a great goal for 2022.
30. Forgive someone — Forgiveness is not forgetting or allowing that person back in your life. Forgiveness frees you and surrenders justice of the situation to God Almighty.
31. Read The Spiritual Discipline Handbook and prayerfully choose a new spiritual discipline to focus and grow in each month of the year.
32. Focus on living a content life by completing a no-spend month. This can also help you reach new financial goals!
33. Travel overseas on a mission trip or simply go to a local church while you are traveling internationally. Being in a church body outside your cultural context can grow your faith immensely.
34. Create a Bible journal where you can ask questions and write out prayers to God. Use it to encourage self reflection and creativity!
35. Commit to praying for your pastor every week and sending him or her a note of encouragement every month.
36. Start a Bible study examining the myths and questions of the Bible using How To NOT Read the Bible by Dan Kimball.
37. Find new worship playlists to listen to and sing along with. Check out this Worship one on Spotify and this one on Youtube!
38. Honor God with joyful movement in your body. — Decide on physical goals for your body like taking a walk everyday or incorporating gentle stretching 5 days a week. Honor God in the way you take care of your physical body.
39. Unplug from tech — Take time each week to fully disconnect from technology and be present with those around you. Set parameters around your daily social media use and consumption. You may find a lot of positive things come from being disconnected from tech!
40. Improve your marriage — While this is an emotional goal and relational goal, your marriage is also a big part of your spiritual health. Pray for your spouse everyday. You can use The Power of a Praying Wife/Husband book. Initiate a weekly check-in, monthly date nights and therapy if needed.
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…More Bible Study Resources here!
What is one spiritual goal you have for yourself this year?
My biggest spiritual goal next year is to read through the entire Bible this year! I have done this before, but it has been over 10 years and I’m excited to do it again using this resource! **UPDATE** I did it!! It took me a year and a half to complete the plan, but I loved it and I learned so much!