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Published on May 22, 2020

Why You Need Spirituality Goals To Enhance Your Life

Why You Need Spirituality Goals To Enhance Your Life

As humans, we are not only made up of the physical that can be seen and touched, but there are also other immaterial aspects that exist beyond the physical lifespan of the human body. These may include soul, spirit, intellect, will, energy, emotions, conscience, and more.

It is possible to go all out chasing after your life’s dreams and yet neglect a very important part of you: spirituality. This should not be so. Here is a guide to help you discover what spirituality means and how to set spirituality goals to enhance your life.

What Is Spirituality?

Spirituality can be described as “the recognition of a feeling or sense or belief that there is something greater than [oneself], something more to being human than sensory experience, and that the greater whole of which we are part is cosmic or divine in nature”[1].

The issue of spirituality is something that cannot be ignored. Although it is natural to question the existence of something intangible like a soul or spirit, one way or another, people still “try to attend to their inner life — to their mental and emotional states — in the hopes of gaining a certain kind of self-knowledge”[2]. This is still spirituality, even if the belief in a soul, spirit, or higher power is absent.

Benefits of Spirituality

Having a “spiritual life” is important to your quest towards attaining fulfillment and living a balanced life. Here are some ways spirituality can benefit your life:

Gain a Deeper Knowledge of Yourself

We take so much time to learn about our world and how to survive but less time to learn about ourselves: who we are and what we want. Spirituality can help you reflect and connect to your source in order to gain deeper knowledge about the purpose of your existence.

Create a Broader Knowledge of the World

Humans have become sophisticated in knowledge, and this is evident in how the world is continually shaped by innovation. However, there is some knowledge about the universe that only deep spirituality can reveal. Being a spiritual person will give you a “third eye,” a sense of insight, with which you can see things differently.

Keep Your Body and Soul Healthy

Worry, anxiety, and depression can set in when the weight of life’s challenges becomes too heavy to bear. Spirituality can help you liberate greater energy from within yourself to overcome physical stress. Furthermore, research shows that spirituality can help improve later life health[3], so it’s a good idea to get started now.

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Increase Compassion

Spirituality can help you become more compassionate as you see the need to be sensitive to the needy and afflicted around you. When you look into yourself, you see a reflection of everyone around you. This will help you connect on a deeper level.

Find Alternative Ways of Solving Life’s Problems

Some situations in life might require divine intervention. When you are spiritually conscious, you will find alternative ways of approaching and solving life’s problems.

How to Set Spiritual Goals

Whether it’s based on a belief in a higher power or a simple desire to engage in introspection, spirituality is useful to everyone. Here’s how to begin setting spiritual goals.

1. Define What Spirituality Means to You

Spirituality means different things to different people. For some, it’s all about the practice of a particular religion, while to others it’s about the practice of charity, humanitarian services, and caring for the poor and sick in society. Some others regard spirituality as reaching higher levels of consciousness such as is found in the practice of yoga, meditation, and others like them[4].

Defining and clarifying what spirituality means to you is the first step towards setting spiritual goals.

2. Identify Your Areas of Deficiency

After you have clarified your spiritual beliefs and commitments, the next thing is to identify where you have been deficient. For example, if you believe in having daily devotion and prayer and find that you have not been observing that for some time, it shows that is an area of deficiency that needs to be worked on.

3. Itemize the Essential Practices

Write out all the spiritual practices that are important to you, which you know you should be practicing. This can include meditation, yoga, prayer, volunteering, and any other practice that helps you connect to your deepest self.

4. Turn Your Essential Practices Into Goals

Turning those essential practices you have identified to goals means that you are ready to take them on by creating a strategy to achieve them. What makes goals different from ordinary desires is that you are intentionally committed to setting and achieving them.

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5. Prioritize Your Goals and Start With One First

In order to be able to achieve your spiritual goals, you have to take them on, one by one. This means that you will start with the goal that is most important to you first.

20 Examples of Spirituality Goals

If you’re having trouble finding a good place to start, try using one of the following spirituality goals.

1. Become More Discerning

Discernment is the ability to spot the difference between right and wrong, truth and falsehood. Discernment is required when dealing with people who are cunning or people who are interested in misleading others. Being able to discern will require gaining some spiritual sense and understanding motives. This might be achieved by spending quality time in devotion and meditation.

2. Become More Intuitive

Intuition is the ability to understand something instinctively, without the need for conscious reasoning. Intuition is a good guide when you need to make fast decisions or solve a difficult problem. Maintaining a relationship with the divine through devotion can help you become more intuitive.

3. Learn How to Overcome Fear and Anxiety

Everyone confronts fear and anxiety, and one of the ways spirituality helps is to find hope and comfort in the midst of uncertainties. Your goal can be to find how to maintain balance in the midst of chaos.

4. Observe Daily Devotion or Meditation

Spirituality demands commitment, and one of such commitments is participating in a daily devotion or meditation. Start with 5 or 10 minutes and work your way up from there.

5. Organize Family Devotion

Leading your family to be committed spiritually is a worthy goal. This can be daily or weekly time of family devotion whereby family members jointly observe religious practices or meditate together.

6. Create a Prayer Routine

Prayer is communication between humans and God. Having a special time of prayer, daily or weekly, to unload your burdens in prayer or pray for other people is a worthy goal. If you don’t believe in God, prayers can simply be offered to the universe or the energy around you.

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7. Listen to Your Inner Voice

Unlock your inner guidance by creating time to listen to your inner voice. Plan alone time, whereby you’ll shut out every noise and distraction and go into a space where you can be alone and listen to your thoughts and intuition.

8. Feed the Hungry

One of the marks of true spirituality is caring for the poor. While you may not own so much yourself, you can still share what you have with the poor. You can set a goal to provide food items for the needy on a monthly basis or send your support through a charitable organization.

9. Show More Kindness

Being kind in this regard has to do with showing kindness to all people that come your way. It is about showing that you care, being approachable, and helping others whenever the opportunity arises.

10. Join a Place of Worship

If you are interested in improving your spirituality, then connecting with others who have similar beliefs as yours will be a step in the right direction.

11. Let Go of Control

You will get exhausted quickly if you always want to fix everything. There are some things that are beyond you that you just simply need to let go of. Set a goal to not always want to be in control. It will help you to unburden yourself. Not being in control means learning to surrender to something or someone greater than you and trusting that things will happen as they need to.

12. Apply Spirituality to Solving Problems

One of the identified benefits of spirituality is having an alternative way of attempting to solve life’s problems. However, spiritual capital will only remain a potential when it is untapped. Therefore, a goal to check for spiritual solutions in some circumstances is a good one.

13. Observe Fasting

Fasting has been known to help maintain focus when observing spiritual commitments, as well as improve health in some cases[5]. Besides the spiritual benefits, fasting is also a good way to detoxify your body. You can plan to fast once or twice every week or join a general religious fast. Keep in mind that you should consult a doctor before engaging in this practice just to make sure your body is ready for it.

14. Sponsor the Education of Needy Children

Giving is one of the expressions of spirituality. If you have the means, you can set a goal of sponsoring the education of one or more needy children or send regular contributions to a charity already involved with this.

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15. Adopt a Child

You can express spirituality by taking responsibility for raising a child under your roof. This is a great expression of love, and you will be proud to give someone a chance in life.

16. Learn More About God

Knowing more about God is one of the hallmarks of spirituality. You can set a goal to read and study books and publications that have expositions about God and how you can get to know God better.

17. Study the Universe

Getting to know more about how the universe works can open you up to some new understanding about life. Devote some time weekly to read a book or watch a documentary about the universe.

18. Learn About Other World Religions

Learning about other religions wouldn’t be a bad idea. It can broaden your perspectives about religious beliefs and also help you to be more tolerant of people with different religious views. You can plan to study about two or more of the world’s religions with the objective of knowing the similarities and differences between them.

19. Plan a Visit to Religious Sites

Most of the world’s religions have holy places or places of historical significance attached to them. Planning a pilgrimage or tour to such sites can help you connect deeper with the stories that form the bulk of the practices of such religions.

20. Seek Spiritual Answers to Life’s Questions

There are several questions that often come up in the human mind. These include: Where do people go when they die? Will the world come to an end? Is there judgment after death? Is Heaven real? Is Hell real? You can set a goal to unravel the truths to such questions or at least form your own opinion about them.

Final Thoughts

Being spiritually conscious can improve your sense of peace and personal acceptance. Being spiritual is about being able to leverage on the privileges of the divine to live an upright life, be sensitive and respond to the needs around you, solve some of life’s problems, and prepare to face life’s most difficult challenges.

More Tips on Developing Spirituality

Featured photo credit: John Mark Arnold via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Last Updated on August 12, 2020

When Should You Trust Your Gut and How?

When Should You Trust Your Gut and How?

Learning how to trust your gut, otherwise known as your intuition, can keep you safe. Your gut can guide you and help you build your confidence and resilience. My own gut instinct has saved me on more than one occasion. It has also guided me into making sound career choices and other exciting, big decisions. I’m also aware of the times when I’ve gone against my instincts and really regretted it later, wondering why I didn’t tune in to that valuable internal voice that we all have within us.

In this article, we’re going to explore why and how you should listen to your gut, as well as some concrete tips on how to make sure you’re making the most out of your gut instincts.

How to Listen to Your Gut

The key when making any big decision is to always take a minute to listen well to yourself and your inner compass. If you hear your actual voice saying yes while inside you’re silently screaming no, my advice is to ask for some time to think, or simply take a breath and pause before the yes or no escapes your mouth.

Use that moment to breathe, check in with yourself, and give the answer that feels congruent with who you are and what you want, not the one that always involves following the herd. Trusting your gut means having the courage to not simply go with the majority. It can be about holding your own. Here’s how to hone that skill for yourself and reap the rewards.

1. Tune Into Your Body

Your body gives you clues when you’re faced with a big decision. There are many visible and obvious symptoms that we feel in uncomfortable situations. Our body’s reaction is often something that we might try to hide, for example, blushing, being lost for words, or shaking. There are things we might do to try and hide that physical reaction, whether it’s wearing makeup, having a glass of wine or coffee to perk us up a bit, or learning to control our nerves.

However, paying attention to your body when you experience these feelings of anxiety can teach you so much and help you to make sound choices. Some people will experience an actual “gut” feeling of stomach ache or indigestion in an uncomfortable situation.

Ask yourself what’s really going on here, and explore what is happening behind your body’s response to the situation. What can your reaction or instinct teach you? Understanding that can be a clue and can help you either learn something about yourself, the situation, or other people. The answers are often within us.

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Sometimes we’ll get this “something’s not right here” feeling and cannot quite put our finger on it or explain it. That can still be incredibly useful and really guide us away from danger, even if we don’t know the reason.

In his book, Blink, Malcolm Gladwell also argues this, making the point that sometimes our subconscious is better at processing the answer we need, and that we don’t necessarily need to take time to collect hours and hours of information to come to a reliable conclusion[1].

2. Ensure Your Head Is Clear Before Making a Decision

Energy, sleep, and good nutrition are so vital to nourishing our minds, as well as our bodies. There are times when your instinct could lead you astray, and one of these is when you are hungry, “hangry” (angry because you’re hungry!), tired, or anxious. If this is the case–and it may sound obvious–do consider sleeping or eating on it before making an important choice.

There is, in fact, a connection between our gut and our brain[2], which is where terms like “butterflies in the stomach” and “gut-wrenching” originate from. Stress and emotions can cause physical feelings, and ignoring them might do more harm than good.

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Say What You Think and Feel

Listening to your gut and really paying attention to it might involve standing up and being counted, calling something out, or taking a stand. As someone who works for myself, I’ve become used to following the less-travelled road, and that’s given me the chance to strike out on my own in other ways, too.

As they tell you in the planes, “put your own oxygen mask on first,” and part of that self-reliance is knowing what you really want and like and what is safe and good for you, including what resonates with your personal and business values. Making good decisions with this in mind means making choices that do not go against your own beliefs, even when it may mean taking a stand. This is part of trusting yourself and trusting your instincts.

This does not always mean taking the “safe” option, although keeping ourselves safe is an important part of the process. This is how we learn and grow, by following our own inner compass. When you do take risks, go outside of your comfort zone, or choose the less popular option, spending some time researching the facts can stand us in good stead, too.

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4. Do Your Research If Something Feels Off

As well as listening to our instincts, we can also back up the evidence for our chosen course of action before taking the leap. I had a gut feeling about the need for a learning and development network when I noticed my clients getting stuck with the same problems. I set up and now run such a network, but instead of simply going for it, without evidence, I followed up on my instinct with research.

Having confidence in your gut instinct through these kinds of tests can help to minimize your risks, as well as spur you on. It will encourage you to trust your gut again in the future and trust that you are an expert with foresight and experience. You are!

5. Challenge Your Assumptions

When you look at the assumptions your making, this could be the clue to mistakes you are making.

In order to check that our instincts are wise, we need to ask ourselves what blanks we might be filling in, either consciously or unconsciously. This is true not just when it comes to our own decision-making. It’s also true when we are listening to someone explain a problem or situation, and we’re about to jump in and give some advice. If we can learn to be aware of our own assumptions, we can become better listeners and better decision makers, too.

A useful tool to become more aware of your assumptions before making a final decision is simply to ask yourself, “What assumptions am I making about this situation or person?”

6. Educate Yourself on Unconscious Bias

Unconscious bias is something we all have, and it can trip us up big time!

There is a vital caveat to bear in mind when wondering about whether you can trust your gut and the feelings your body gives you, and that’s having an awareness of your unconscious bias. Understanding your own bias–which is hard to do because it literally does happen in our subconscious–can help you to make stronger, better, decisions instead of re-confirming your view of the world over and over again.

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Bias exists, and it’s part of the human condition. All of us have it, and it colors our decisions and can impact on our performance without us realizing.

Unconscious bias happens at a subconscious level in our brains. Our subconscious brain processes information so much faster than our conscious brain. Quick decisions we make in our subconscious are based on both our societal conditioning and how our families raised us.

Our brains process hundreds of thousands of pieces of information daily. We unconsciously categorize and format that information into patterns that feel familiar to us. Aspects such as gender, disability, class, sexuality, body shape and size, ethnicity, and what someone does for a job can all quickly influence decisions we make about people and the relationships we choose to form. Our unconscious bias can be very subtle and go unnoticed..

We naturally tend to gravitate towards people similar to ourselves, favoring people who we see as belonging to the same “group” as us. Being able to make a quick decision about whether someone is part of your group and distinguish friend from foe was what helped early humans to survive. Conversely, we don’t automatically favor people who we don’t immediately relate to or easily connect with.

The downside of that human instinct to seek out similar people is the potential for prejudice, which seems to be hard-wired into human cognition, no matter how open-minded we believe ourselves to be. And these stereotypes we create can be wrong. If we only spend our time with and employ people similar to ourselves, it can create prejudices, as well as stifle fresh thinking and innovation.

We may feel more natural or comfortable working with other people who share our own background and/or opinions than collaborating with people who don’t look, talk, or think like us. However, diversity is not just morally right; having a mix of different people and perspectives that can be genuinely heard is also a valuable way to counter groupthink. Diversity stretches us to think more critically and creatively.

7. Trust Yourself

It is possible to learn how to truly trust yourself[3]. Like any talent or skill, practicing trusting your gut is the best way to get really good at it. When people talk about having great intuition or being good decision-makers, it’s because they’ve worked at honing those skills, made mistakes, learned from them, and tried again.

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Looking back at decisions you’ve made, what you did, what the outcome was, and what you’ve learned can help you become a stronger decision maker and develop solid self-trust and resilience. Making a mistake does not mean you are not great at decision-making; it’s a chance to grow and learn, and the only mistake is to ignore the lesson in that experience.

If you are in the habit of asking others for their input, then the trick here is to choose your inner circle wisely. Having a sounding board of people who have your best interests at heart is a valuable asset, and, combined with your own excellent instincts, can make you a champion decision maker.

The Bottom Line

The above tips are all actionable and easy to start immediately. It’s simply about switching your thinking around, slowing down, and taking great care of this amazing machine that is your body and mind!

Learning how to trust your gut is one of the most fundamental ways to make decisions that will help you lead the life you want and need. Tune into what your body is telling you and start making good decisions today.

More Tips on How to Trust Your Gut

Featured photo credit: Acy Varlan via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Science of People: Learn to Trust Your Gut Instincts: The Science Behind Thin-slicing
[2] Harvard Health Publishing: The gut-brain connection
[3] Psych Central: 3 Ways to Develop Self-Trust

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