The (Often Overlooked) Value of Setting Spiritual Goals

Tom Faddegon
February 20, 2024
man hiking up mountain

Embarking on a spiritual journey often begins with a sense of wonder and excitement as we seek to explore the depths of our inner selves and connect with something greater.

In the early stages, it's easy to get swept up in the mystique of spirituality. New practitioners often envision themselves meditating for weeks, months, or even years to attain a profound moment of enlightenment that reveals the secrets of the universe. However, this romanticized view is quite abstract, and can sometimes lead us to overlook the importance of setting clear, actionable goals for our spiritual growth.

It might seem peculiar to sit down and draft a to-do list featuring items like "uncover my place in the cosmos" or "build a better world for all," but embarking on a spiritual journey without a plan is akin to setting off on a long voyage without a destination in mind, let alone a map to help you get there.

By establishing spiritual goals, we can equip ourselves with the tools to measure our progress, concentrate on specific areas of growth, and prioritize what truly matters in our lives. These goals act as a powerful roadmap for self-discovery, equipping new seekers with the much-needed structure on a transformative journey that is unique for every individual.

Setting Your Long-Term Spiritual Goals

“A spiritual teaching of any kind, including this one, won’t give you the full answers you may be longing for. It will help you find the answers yourself. It will guide you on your quest. It will not do your quest for you.” - The Spiritual Teachings of Higher Self Yoga

Because the journey of self-exploration and uncovering personal truths is a distinct experience for every individual, it is crucial for us to take responsibility for establishing our own goals to guide us on our unique path.

Crafting spiritual goals requires thoughtful consideration and intention. Although these objectives can be revised and refined over time, establishing well-conceived goals from the outset can save considerable effort and prevent detours on our spiritual journey. By setting clear and meaningful goals, we can create a strong foundation for a fulfilling and purpose-driven spiritual path.

Before you start putting together your list, keep these 3 things in mind.

1. Your Goals Should Be Unique to You: The spiritual goals you set will largely depend on who you are and what you hope to accomplish. The list of goals that you create will be very different than anyone else’s, so don’t ask yourself to conform to a pre-made list.

2. Narrow Your List Down: The journey toward spiritual growth is vast, and attempting to tackle everything at once can be overwhelming. By concentrating on specific areas, individuals can make meaningful strides toward their goals without feeling overwhelmed. For instance, if someone wishes to be more loving, they can focus on practicing forgiveness, empathy, or acts of kindness. Narrowing your focus prevents spiritual burnout and increases the chances of success in your spiritual journey.

3. Align Personal Goals with Spiritual Ones Where You Can: Our spiritual and personal lives are two sides of the same coin. Neither is truly separate and what happens in one will influence the other. By the same token, spiritual goals often overlap with personal goals, creating a harmonious balance that can lead to a more fulfilled and purposeful life. Examples of such goals include cultivating self-awareness, practicing gratitude, or becoming more empathetic. These goals provide a foundation for personal growth and lead to a sense of self that is unified, integrated, and capable of operating at higher capacities.  


Goal Creating Exercise

When you’re ready to start putting together your list of goals, start by connecting with your Higher Self. Next, go through the exercise below and ask yourself if any of them resonate with you. You can use the following prompts as inspiration, but be sure to add new ones that resonate specifically with you.

  • Look through the list of possible goals below and ask yourself if any of them resonate with you. If they do, write them down. 
  • Since this is only a sample list, there will likely be other goals you have that aren’t listed. Write those down as well. 
  • Put each goal in your heart and ask: How important is this goal to me at this time? Rate them from one to ten, ten being the most important.
  • When you are finished, prioritize the list, putting the most important ones on top.


Possible Goals:

  • Learning more about the universe and evolution
  • Open your heart and become more loving
  • Foster self-awareness
  • Discover purpose and meaning
  • Explore different spiritual traditions
  • Connect to the Higher Self
  • Be more of service in the world
  • Investigate the unknown
  • Treat others with kindness and empathy
  • Work toward world peace
  • Find your path in life
  • Become the most fulfilled version of yourself
  • Find your vocation
  • Become part of a community
  • Cultivate patience and resilience
  • Practice environmental stewardship

Take a moment to appreciate the list you’ve created. Be proud... this is a big step towards accomplishing your spiritual goals! 

Working Towards Your Long-Term Progress with Daily Goals

Usually, people start working toward a personal goal and later change it to a more spiritual one. You may find in time that this will happen to you.” Higher Self Yoga Book 1

Look at the top priorities on your list, and start by choosing one to work towards. Once you’ve built your habits and routines, you can tackle more than one at a time, but it’s better to focus on just one to start out to avoid becoming overwhelmed.

A big pitfall at this point is trying to accomplish all of your goals at once. Remember that this is meant to be a list of things for you to accomplish over years, not mere days. 

Start each day by setting one or two attainable benchmarks that will guide you to your overall goal. Ensure that these objectives are manageable and not overly complicated. One marker might be as simple as organizing your home or initiating a project. If you're working on a project, set a realistic target for its continuation. At the day's end, assess whether you've made progress. If you have, celebrate your work and allow yourself to feel good about maintaining your commitment.

If you lose track of your goal, reflect on the reasons without self-criticism. It's possible you set a goal too ambitious to complete. The following day, repeat the process and adjust the scope of your objective. If you successfully completed the goal, consider increasing the challenge for the next day, but only if you're confident in your ability to manage the workload.


How to Keep Yourself from Getting Overwhelmed

“Everything is balance. Discipline that is balanced has no demands in it. It just is. The need to accomplish spiritual goals comes from the heart and, therefore, is open to all things, all change, and its focus is always being in the striving heart.” - Higher Self Yoga: Book 1

As you embark on the journey to achieve your spiritual goals, it's quite common to have grand expectations and set ambitious targets within a specific timeframe. This enthusiasm and motivation stem from genuine excitement, but it can also lead to frustration, self-criticism, and ultimately, giving up.

There will be instances when everyday tasks interfere with your spiritual objectives, but striking a balance involves keeping your priorities in check and not succumbing to external distractions. Life events might disrupt your goal of meditating every morning, but it's essential to remain adaptable. Consider whether you can meditate later in the day or even for just five minutes before bedtime.

In most situations, you'll discover that flexibility is possible when needed. However, if you still struggle to achieve your goals and are hard on yourself as a result, take a moment to reflect on the reasons behind this. When working on a project that contributes to your spiritual growth, ask yourself if you're pursuing it because it genuinely matters to your heart and you enjoy it, or if it's driven by a need to please or impress someone else, thereby imposing undue expectations upon yourself.