Each year I like to set a variety of goals for myself, including setting spiritual goals. Just like I don’t want to neglect my body or my brain, but set goals to challenge them in new ways, I also want to challenge and grow my faith!
Why you should set spiritual goals
I set spiritual goals to challenge myself to grow in my faith. 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!
If your spiritual goal setting is coming from a place of legalism or religious duty, just stop and back away slowly. I’ve definitely had seasons where I struggled more with a legalistic perspective and needed to have NO spiritual goals and also had seasons where my lack of spiritual discipline was causing me to coast in my faith.
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.
How to set vibrant faith goals
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 how together here.
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?
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 spiritually, 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.
Dream about the future
Close your eyes and pray that God will 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 giving radically?
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).
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.
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.
Break down your goals 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.
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?
Getting 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. 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.
20 Examples of Spiritual Goals
2. Read through the gospels every month. (A great way to track it here)
4. Join a small group at church
5. Attend church regularly
6. Begin tithing to your local church
7. Give monthly to a charity you’re passionate about
8. Listen to more worship music
9. Join an in person or online Bible study
10. Read a spiritually uplifting book every month (great list of books here!)
11. Begin a meditation practice
12. Serve in a local non-profit or charity
13. Memorize Bible verse(s) that address a particular sin or struggle you have.
14. Write out a Bible verse everyday. (The Claiming the Promises of God Bible study is perfect for this!)
15. Discover your spiritual gift
16. Find an area of service that you’re passionate about.
17. Begin to prayer with purpose and create a prayer journal
18. Listen to sermon podcasts in the car while driving
19. Begin a daily gratitude habit
20. Begin (or continue) therapy to aid in your spiritual growth.
21. Begin a fasting practice.
22. Participate in a spiritual retreat
23. Write out all the “one another” passages in the Bible
25. Ask someone you interact with regularly about their faith or spirituality.
Begin the new year with fresh spiritual goals that will challenge and grow your faith in new ways.
If you liked this article you may also want to check out:
What is one spiritual goal you have for yourself this year?
My biggest spiritual goal 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.
Don’t forget to grab your copy of the New Years Goals bundle to help you set spiritual goals this year and actually accomplish them!!