There are many types of goals that a person can set, but perhaps the most important in the long run are those that lead to spiritual growth.
Because growth of any kind rarely happens by itself. Just like anything else, it requires a plan and action.
This plan can come in the form of spiritual goals, several examples of which follow below.
Essentially, spiritual goals are designed to help us connect to our innermost beliefs and faith. This connection is a crucial part of leading a happy and content life.
The examples below are as valid for a person who follows a particular religious code as they are for someone who is spiritual but not religious.
Consider setting some of these spiritual goals – perhaps one or two at a time – and stick with them until they become a concrete part of your life and habits.
1. Be crystal clear on what your beliefs are.
What do you believe in?
That’s a huge question, and one that’s not always easy to answer, even for those who practice a particular faith.
But knowing what the core principles are on which you wish to base your life is an all important exercise in clarification.
After all, you can’t practice your beliefs if you don’t know what they are.
And even if you are part of an organized religion, there are bound to be teachings that feel more important than others.
Knowing your beliefs comes from looking inward and asking what you feel brings you closer to your ultimate place of being – whether that’s a divine God, the source, the universe, or something else.
What steps can you take – mentally and practically – to elevate your spirit?
Perhaps some of the other goals on this list might provide answers to this question.
2. Reflect on your actions.
Once you know what you believe in, it pays to keep track of how well you adhere to those beliefs in your everyday life.
Have you practiced what you preach? Have you done things that go against your beliefs? Have you felt conflicted at all?
These are the types of questions you will wish to ask during a period of self-reflection.
Think of it as a moment to pause on your journey and look both at where you have been and where you are going.
Are you living in a way that you wish to live, and if not, what could you change to put yourself on a more spiritually agreeable path?
Sometimes you may find that these moments of reflection challenge the beliefs you felt so sure about. That’s not a failure on your part, but just further clarification of what your true beliefs are.
3. Cultivate peace.
A life that is more spiritually attuned is one of greater inner and outer peace.
A worthwhile goal, therefore, is to find ways to bring more peace into the things you do, the relationships you have, and the thoughts that float around in your mind.
Peace is the opposite of conflict, so identifying sources of conflict and working to ease tensions is an effective tool for spiritual growth.
Much of this comes down to the way you treat others, the way you respond to others’ treatment of you, and the mindset you carry through life.
Always bear in mind the choice you have in every moment to decide how to behave. No matter what may be happening around you and what other people are doing, you can choose a path of peace.
You can choose to understand, to forgive, to look beyond revenge or retribution.
You can choose to tackle any troubling thoughts and emotions you may have.
You can choose to be the peacemaker wherever you go.
This does not mean accepting poor treatment. Far from it. Part of living a peaceful inner and outer life is knowing when to walk away from someone whose own pain is causing them to behave in ways that are detrimental to you.
Or, at the very least, setting boundaries on what you will and will not tolerate.
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4. Show compassion.
Speaking of another person’s pain, one way to connect more deeply with your own spirit is to seek ways to ease the suffering of others.
Many people have a natural instinct to want to help others, but doing so on a consistent basis and without expectations of getting something in return is altogether different.
Spiritual growth is not a reward for being of service to others – but it is often (though now always) a by-product.
Living a compassionate life helps you feel more grateful for the positive things you have and helps to weaken an often overactive ego.
When you feel and show compassion toward a person, you recognize yourself in them. You see that you and they are not so different.
And in so doing, you become more humble and less consumed by unhealthy desires to accumulate and hoard more of things.
Compassion is a big piece of the puzzle in the next goal on our list…
5. Recognize the inter-connectedness of everything.
Part of a spiritual life involves looking inwards, but an equally big part requires you to look out at the world around you.
Peace and compassion are, as we have seen, a vital part of this, but so is the realization that you do not live in isolation.
In fact, even if you are alone in many regards, you are utterly dependent on the people and things that surround you.
Everything connects to everything else through a complex web of threads, many of which go unseen and underappreciated.
The air we breathe, the food we eat, the things we enjoy – they are all products of a world in which you are connected to everything else.
Even the screen on which you are reading this is an extension of life, made by the ingenuity of humankind and the resources we rely upon.
You are connected to those things – those people, those materials – in a deeply intimate way. They touch your life and you touch theirs.
This is a profound realization in many ways, and one that can drive spiritual thought, action, and belief to a new level.
6. Practice tolerance.
Though we are all made of the same stuff and connected in deeply intimate ways, no two people are quite alike.
And some are very different to us in a lot of ways. How they choose to express themselves, their desires, their beliefs, the choices they make.
These differences can become sources of conflict if we let them, but tolerance can prevent that from happening.
Tolerance is accepting those differences and not making them into reasons to mistrust one another.
Tolerance is a key ingredient to peace, but just as above, it should not lead to acceptance of ill-treatment.
Tolerate our differences, yes, but do not tolerate those who would wish to harm you.
Given the opportunity, you should go beyond tolerance of our differences and celebrate them.
It is a great wonder of life that we can have billions of such utterly unique individuals, all with their own gifts to give to the world.
7. Value the people in your life.
Many of the previous points come back to one important factor: community.
But whilst you may think of community as the wider group of people who live where you live, we’re talking about your personal community.
That is to say, those people who are an active (or sometimes rather passive) part of your life.
Your family, friends, partners, colleagues… these people probably have a bigger influence over your life than anything else.
Which is why a big part of your spiritual growth revolves around your interactions with these people and how you value their place in your life.
Realize that you must work on your relationships and that you cannot take them for granted.
Work on showing your appreciation for other people, your kindness toward them, and your understanding when they act from a place of pain or hurt.
8. Be silent.
As you walk your spiritual path, it pays to cease the unrelenting noise of the outer and inner worlds and just be in silence.
You may call this time prayer or meditation, or you may just call it quiet solitude.
Whatever form it takes for you, the phrase “silence is golden” really is appropriate.
It is a golden opportunity for you to rest and allow your ‘soul,’ for lack of a better word, to come to the surface of your being.
It is truly wondrous what a period of silence can do for mind, body, and, of course, spirit.