One of the reasons people fail to keep up with their spiritual intentions and goals is because they set too many at once.
Starting a new habit can be difficult, so trying to change multiple aspects of your life at the same time can get overwhelming and then discouraging. Focusing on one goal, one habit, one skill at a time will help you canalize your energy instead of spreading it in many directions at a time.
When you canalize your focus on one goal, you can build momentum more rapidly.
You perceive what you focus on
All of your senses (except the olfactory one) meet in a part of the brain called the Reticular activating system. This system does many things, including connecting the subconscious and conscious parts of the brain. It then filters incoming data and searches for what you are looking for (consciously and unconsciously).
This is why it is imperative to focus and look for what you want (not what you don’t want). By looking for and reminding yourself of what and why you are working towards, your RAS will bring to your attention the insights, information, and solutions you need.
Visualization is not only for Olympic athletes
Being able to see yourself achieving the result you want is really important in the realization of the goal. You have to feel you can do it in order to achieve it. Take some time to visualize yourself having reached that result on a regular basis. Also watching Masters at their craft is highly inspiring and can help you emulate similar qualities.
When you truly feel you can do it and feel the emotion that getting there will give you, you empower your whole self to make it happen. I like this quote by Amy Cuddy: ‘Fake it until you become it’.
A research was conducted to look at Olympic athletes’ performance and a group that received 25% physical training and 75% mental training performed better than the group who did only physical training.
This highlights how important the mental aspect of success is. Something so accessible to anyone should be part of anybody’s routine as much as brushing one’s teeth.
Personal expansion can bring a sense of happiness that material can’t. A millionaire can feel like a failure even with all the money in his bank account, but personal and spiritual growth will enrich your life. When you stretch ourselves outside of our comfort zone, you discover traits and qualities you had no ideas you possessed.
To create an endless flow of happiness you must have achievable goals, big enough to stretch you out of your comfort zone little by little on a continuous basis.
Instead of having multiple goals at once, why not have a calendar of spiritual growth goals, where you establish a goal or habit per month you want to accomplish and you’ll have a successful year.
The other reason why having smaller goals is important is that we are becoming increasingly impatient. We are living ina culture of wanting everything now. We get easily distracted and can quickly lose sight of why we are doing a certain thing. So our willpower may not strong enough to sustain too continuous wait and focus.
Sometimes having one 30-day challenge per month is better than one big yearly goal. They say it takes 21 days to create a new habit. You can start with a new small life-enhancing habit per month and build upon the momentum to introduce more challenging goals.
This might be a good approach if you’ve never set goals/intentions/resolutions or have had difficulty keeping them up. It’s best to reduce overwhelm in order to lessen discouragement and risk of failure.
Your goal should be small enough that is could be done in 30 days. Having a goal that would take longer than 30 days might feel too out of reach. If your intention is too big to be achieved in 30 days, how can you chunk it down in 30 days portion?
For a daily goal or habit, you can also reset your challenge to ‘day 1’ if you miss a day. That way the challenge is to accomplish your goal for 30 consecutive days. This really takes the practice to another level and anchor the new habit firmly. It also makes you check in with yourself at the end of the day which is a beneficial daily practice as well.
Creating your spiritual growth plan
I have found that having a plan to refer to helps me stay focused on what I am working toward. This is a one-page sheet that includes your goal, your plan of actions to reach that goal, your reason why you want to achieve this goal, as well as some tracking space. When things are set on paper and in a visible area, it is much easier to keep track of what you are doing (remember the reticular activating system).
Here is a simple document ‘My Spiritual Growth Goal Printable Plan‘ you can use as your spiritual growth plan.
visualization visualizing your goals