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4 Easy Steps to Creating Spiritual Resolutions You Can Keep

It is nearing the end of February, and if you’re like most people, then it is safe to assume that your New Year’s resolutions are…well…no more. Not only that, but it’s usually the spiritual resolutions that are the first to be dropped. So how does one go about setting spiritual resolutions that will ultimately lead to a deeper relationship with God? Here are four simple steps you can take to help you make spiritual resolutions that you can actually keep. Start today! Because whoever said that changes to your spiritual life can only take place on January 1?

4 Easy Steps to Creating Spiritual Resolutions You Can Keep1. Begin with the end in mind. That is, come up with a crystal clear vision of where your relationship with God ought to be, and then work towards getting there. This step, as defined in Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, is most crucial, since your vision will reveal to you where you currently are spiritually, where you need to be, and how to bridge the gap between the two.

‘The first task is to look at the succession of obstacles to be overcome and then to examine the necessary preliminaries to success.’ St John Cassian

So ask yourself, what is currently holding you back from experiencing the presence of God in your life? What do you need to do in order to strengthen your faith in God? What practical steps can you take daily to ensure a deeper connection with your Creator?

Take the time to pray, self-examine and reflect on these questions. Be honest with yourself when answering these questions and be sure to set out spiritual goals that are realistic and achievable.

2.  Be Intentional. A professional athlete is likely to train daily and dedicate hours upon hours perfecting his athletic skills, because he knows that practice makes perfect. The same applies in our spiritual endeavors. God grants spiritual growth and intimacy to those who seek it, and work for it. Many people, myself included, give up on their spiritual practices when they don’t immediately feel God’s presence in their lives, however this should never be the aim. Always remember that your relationship with God is essential for your salvation, not your satisfaction. God is active and present, no matter how you feel! [1]

This is why it is important to put our emotions aside when it comes to our spiritual lives and rather focus on being intentional. In step one you listed your spiritual goals and the practical actions you can take to achieve these goals. Now it is time to:

  • schedule these new spiritual exercises into your calendar, set reminders or prompts if you need to and be sure to give yourself ample time to complete every action.
  • track your spiritual progress by keeping a record of the day-to-day tasks you set out.
  • review your resolutions weekly and adjust them if need be to make them more achievable.

Be careful not to fall into the trap of being fixated on completing your spiritual exercises, so much so that you forget the actual reason behind each exercise, which is to connect with God.

If you find that your prayers, Bible readings and other devotional readings are becoming dry or mundane then perhaps it is time to review your spiritual exercises and take the necessary actions to ensure that you improve the quality of your spiritual exercises rather than focusing on the quantity.

3. Take small steps. When setting spiritual resolutions, many of us are tempted to over-commit, thinking that by doing so, we will reach our spiritual goals quicker. The truth is, setting such unrealistic resolutions is the most common reason why we often struggle to maintain our spiritual exercises and so as a result lose motivation and fall by the wayside.

The most effective way is to make resolution that stick is by committing to making small changes to your daily routine that you can easily keep. Once your spiritual program has become part of your daily routine, then you can review your resolutions and add to them if need be.

4. Pick yourself up when you fall. Expect setbacks, unfortunately our adversary in the spiritual life will try everything in his power to bring us down. This is his mission! [2] So expect to fall, but when you do, do not delay in getting back up again since God is with you every step of the way; He will never leave you or forsake you [3]. Finally, you’ll be glad to know that your spiritual struggles are not in vain, for it is these struggles that produce virtues and ultimately strengthen your relationship with God.

With the Gospel parable for a guide, one must carefully calculate and gather together everything required for the construction of this most sublime tower of the spirit.’ St John Cassian

May the Lord bless your spiritual endeavors and guide you on your path of spiritual growth.

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Thanks and God bless

Marco

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[1] ‘so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us.’-(Acts 17:27)

[2] ‘Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.’-(1 Peter 5:8)

[3] ‘No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you.’-(Joshua 1:5)

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