Of all the goals you might have set in 2020, a faith-based goal might seem the most intimidating. Maybe it feels so big—so important!—that you're worried about getting it wrong, or can't figure out where to start. Friend, you're in the right place!
Around here, we love big-picture goals like "grow a flourishing faith" - they're inspiring and motivating. Setting a big-picture goal also gives you the flexibility to work toward something that really matters to you in many different ways over the course of the year. It allows you to redirect your efforts when unexpected things happen, like, say, suddenly being quarantined at home for months on end. Your action steps might change, but they can still point in the same direction!
But, if you never break down your big-picture goal into actionable steps, it's unlikely it will go anywhere. That's why it's SO important to break your big-picture goals down, especially your spiritual and faith goals!
First, let's remember what we already know about making progress on goals. We break our big goals down, and then we break them down some more. Mini goals and action steps help keep us motivated. When we break our big goals down into smaller and smaller chunks, it’s almost impossible to NOT make progress. That momentum builds, friends! To demonstrate, here's how you might feel when you sit down to work on your goals:
You see: Grow a flourishing faith
You ask: Can I take action on that today?
You think: Eek, feels hard. Not sure where to start. Let's try again tomorrow.
You see: Read one chapter in my Bible
You ask: Can I take action on that today?
You think: Absolutely! Let's do it!
Breaking down your goals becomes even more important when we're talking about spiritual goals because so much of the progress is intangible. If you've broken your goal down into action steps and mini-goals and tracked your progress along the way, you'll easily be able to look back after a month or a year and see all the ways your faith has grown. Little-by-little progress adds up and is worthy of celebration!
Having a hard time coming up with action steps? Dream about what success for your goal looks like at the end of the year, and then fill in the space between that vision and where you are now. We also have tons of resources across the Cultivate site, as well as in the PowerSheets Facebook group, to spark ideas!
Here are a few of the most common big-picture faith goals, and easy ways to break them down:
Read the Bible in one year:
- Download a plan from the YouVersion app.
- Subscribe to The Bible Recap podcast. Host Tara-Leigh Cobble walks you through a chronological Bible reading plan with a 5-8 minute episode for each day of reading.
- Use the Dwell app to listen to your daily passages.
- Decide when you'll complete your daily reading. First thing in the morning? Right before bed? While the kids are napping? Listening while you commute?
- Prep your supplies in advance. If you complete your reading first thing in the morning, set out your Bible, journal, and pen the night before.
- Plan mini celebrations or treats along the way: after you complete each book or certain sections of the Bible.
Establish a Sabbath rhythm:
- Read what the Bible has to say about Sabbath.
- Listen to a podcast episode for ideas. Try Sabbath Changes Everything; Work Hard, Sabbath Hard; Fight Hurry, End Hustle; Practice Sabbath Delight; or 7th Day Rest.
- Read a book for ideas. Try The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry, The Rest of God, The Possibility of Prayer, An Unhurried Life, Sabbath as Resistance, or Soul Rest.
- Decide what day of the week you'll rest.
- Decide on boundaries, guidelines, and traditions for your Sabbath.
- Back out from your Sabbath to see what you'll need to prep in advance to be able to fully rest that day.
- Set the environment the night before. Put away distractions and pull out anything that signifies a slower pace.
Delight in the Lord:
- Plan a specific time in the morning or evening to meet with God.
- Pick your favorite activity and simply enjoy being in God's presence.
- Do an in-depth study of one book of the Bible.
- Turn on a worship song and praise God right where you are.
- Celebrate others. Send a thoughtful note to someone and bless them with words of encouragement and affirmation.
Become a woman of prayer:
- Write out specific prayers for your spouse, children, and family and friends.
- Pick a passage of Scripture to pray over your family.
- Keep a record of answered prayers to see how God works in their lives.
- Read Discerning the Voice of God or Fervent by Priscilla Shirer.
Teach my children about faith:
- Pick a verse to memorize together and make it fun! Try singing the words to the tune of your favorite nursery rhyme. Seeds Family Worship has some great songs to play in the house or on the go.
- Go on nature walks together and explore the beauty of God's creation.
- Write or print out the passage and put it somewhere you'll see it every day, like your bathroom mirror.
- Break the passage into smaller chunks and try memorizing a verse a day, or a week.
- Bring memorization "flash cards" with you in your work bag or purse so you can practice on the go.
- Listen to your selected passage in the Dwell app.
- Write out scripture in your own hand in a Write the Word journal (studies show you're more likely to remember something when you handwrite it!).
Disciple or mentor someone, or find someone to disciple or mentor you:
- Ask your local church for recommendations, and to see if they have a program in place.
- Pray for the Lord to illuminate opportunities.
- Pick a Bible study to do weekly with a local high school or college student.
Get connected to a local church:
- Visit local churches until you find the one that is right for you.
- Start serving. Find a ministry you're passionate about and jump in.
- Ask to host a Bible study or small group at your home.
- Regularly pray for your pastor and church leadership.
For more on breaking down your goals of any type, don't miss our Break It Down Guide. Download it here for free!
No matter what goal you're working on, remember to take it one day at a time and extend yourself grace. As always, this is about progress, not perfection!
We'd love to hear: are you working on a spiritual goal right now? How have you broken it down?
P.S. More goal action ideas for cultivating faith here!