As you start thinking about New Year’s resolution ideas, you’re probably considering things of this world—becoming healthier, eating right, volunteering, and budgeting. But what about spiritual goals?
No matter how rich our faith life is, it’s always a good idea to take a step back and look at ways we can improve. In this coming year, take time to consider your spiritual wellness by setting some faith-based goals for yourself.
Creating a One-Year Spiritual Growth Plan
To get started, read through this list and make it your own by setting individual goals. By doing so, you can help improve your happiness when you achieve those goals while you strengthen your spiritual wellness at the same time.
And remember, nothing happens overnight. As you’re setting your spiritual goals for 2018, remember that you have the whole year to accomplish them.
Spiritual Goal Ideas for 2018
- Set a goal to read the entire Bible or your church’s catechism within a year’s time. It may seem like a daunting task but spread out over 12 months, reading the whole Bible is very doable.
And while you’re reading, you might want to take a look at this guide to troubling words in the Bible that discusses some hard passages and ways to interpret them.
- Set aside a time each day to pray. Prayer prompts, such as a special alarm on your cell phone, may help you remember.
- Attend church services more frequently and actively take part in the experience.
- Put your faith into action. Whether you work in a local soup kitchen once a month, make a donation to a faith-based organization every year, or put a few more dollars in the collection plate--showing your faith strengthens it.
- Live in harmony with your spiritual brothers and sisters. Lead by example. By living as an example of Christ’s love and charity regardless of religion, race, culture or attitude, you’re living your faith in a way that enriches not only your life but the lives of those around you.
Take some time this year to learn about a faith you aren’t very familiar with. Do some digging online, read a few articles, maybe even attend a service of a different faith from yours. We may not all be of one faith, but we’re all of the same global community.
- Pray the rosary. This may seem more of a religious requirement than a tool for spiritual growth, but praying the rosary can help you meditate and reflect. The repetitive nature of the prayer helps lead to a restful, contemplative state.
Need a refresher? Here’s a guide on how to pray the rosary.
- Pick a saint. Sometimes it’s hard to figure out how to live our faith life or spirituality outside of mass and prayer. Choose a saint that interests you and learn about their life for inspiration and guidance.
And if you’re planning a year-long spiritual growth plan, consider choosing one saint for every month of the year. This way you can cover several inspiring figures in a structured manner so you don’t forget after the New Year’s celebrations end.
- Reexamine trials and hardships. Rather than looking at personal challenges as hardships, adjust your thinking to view them as tests of your faith.
For example, if you’re struggling with a physical health issue, take some time each day to strengthen your relationship with God through prayer and reflection instead of asking “why me?”. During times of crisis, give thanks for all the blessings in your life outside of that crisis instead of focusing solely on the negative.
- Keep a spiritual journal. Use it to document your reflections on God, your favorite prayers, and anything else that comes to mind as you grow your faith.
One idea for a daily entry is to make a list of three blessings you noticed that day and three things that you could have done better. That way, you’re taking time to be thankful for all that’s good in your life while also challenging yourself to be better.
Ready to get started?
If you are inspired to begin working toward your spiritual goals, remember:
- Don’t expect to do everything at once. Start with one action, then add others as you feel the need.
- Don’t punish yourself if you forget or fail. God knows what’s in your heart. Keep on trying.
- Ask for support. Perhaps your spouse or parent or child or friend would like to join you. Sharing your goals with friends helps you to meet them.
- Assess your progress, not by how much you accomplished, but by how you feel. Do you feel closer to God? Do you feel you’re a more Godly person?
Working toward your spiritual goals has many benefits, including self-esteem, lessened anxiety, depression prevention, blood pressure control, and life affirmation. And, more than anything, the benefit of living in God’s grace.
A Community Blessed by God’s Grace
Too often, we get distracted by the daily demands of the physical world around us. It can be hard to make time for our spiritual life when we have a list of errands a mile long or don’t have any spiritual resources readily available.
At The Esquiline, we know how important spiritual wellness is. One of our main priorities as a community is to live the spirit and values of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. If you’re looking to deepen your faith, we’re here to help in whatever way we can through our holistic living principles of spiritual, physical, intellectual, and social wellness.