5 ways to make your spiritual resolutions stick this year

New Years is an exciting opportunity to start fresh and set goals for yourself… but the reality is that old habits die hard.

We are almost done with the first month of 2015 and a lot of us--me included--have started to slide back into our regular hustle and bustle.

Why should you set goals?

A study was conducted using the 1979 Harvard MBA class, according to Forbes.com. Graduates were asked the following question: “Have you set clear, written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?” Only 3 percent had written down their goals, 13 percent had goals but had not written them down and 84 percent had no clear goals at all.

10 years later, the graduates were interviewed again and the researches were astonished with the findings.

The 13 percent who had goals were earning, on average, twice as much as their classmates who didn't have any goals. And the 3 percent who had written down their goals were earning 10 times as much as the rest of the 97 percent of the class.

This is an excellent example of how setting and writing goals can determine your success.

Why should you make spiritual resolutions?

How are you going to progress spiritually if you don’t make clear goals?

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin gave a great talk at the October 1998 General Conference titled “Cultivating Divine Attributes.”

“We often mark significant dates on our calendars, such as holidays and birthdays. Dates that come around every year help us measure progress in our lives. One annual event, New Year’s Day, is a time of reflection and resolution.
Our baptism date, which commemorates our spiritual rebirth, is an annual occasion worthy of special note. We pause to recognize the date of our temple sealing as a special anniversary because that ordinance binds us together forever with our most cherished loved ones. Worthiness interviews, especially annual temple recommend interviews, give us another opportunity to review our progress in fulfilling the glorious stewardship our Father in Heaven has given each of us. Certainly we must watch over and care for our own souls. On these occasions, we renew covenants, affirm commitments, and establish eternal goals.”

If our purpose here on earth is to progress, then we can measure that progression by attaining goals: baptism, temple endowment, temple sealing. But there are other commandments to follow as well, including reading the scriptures and praying daily. It can be hard to be consistent with these small goals when your life is hard or busy. You don’t have to struggle with your spiritual resolutions over and over again. Try these simple tips to help increase your spirituality this year.

1. Find your focus

What do you want to work on this year? Make 1-4 goals that you want to keep during 2015. Need some ideas? Read the Book of Mormon by the end of the year. Read the Book of Mormon 3 times by the end of the year. Pray sincerely twice a day. Be on time to church. Study the lesson for Sunday School/Relief Society/Priesthood before Sunday. Have FHE regularly.

2. Write it down

Putting your goals in writing helps you remember them daily and makes those goals seem real. It also helps you be successful in keeping your goals.

3. Make a 3-step plan

Now that you have your goals, how are you going to achieve them? If you want to read the Book of Mormon by the end of the year, how many pages do you need to read per day? How are you going to remember your personal prayers in the morning? What do you need to do to be on time to church? Write out the steps you need to take to make the goal successful.

4. Use a calendar to keep yourself accountable

Sticker charts might seem too elementary for you, but it’s a great way to stay on track. Print out a monthly calendar and mark each day you complete your goal so you can track your progress month by month.

5. Celebrate your success

Set milestones you want to celebrate. A whole month of reading the Book of Mormon every day? Reward yourself with a treat or new book or a fun outing. If things get hard or you get busy and your head has already hit the pillow for the evening, envision your reward to help motivate you to keep your goal for that day.

Photo: LDS.org, Copyright Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

Tracie Snowder is a journalist for KSL.com and mom of 2 girls. She received her broadcast journalism degree from BYU. She spent the first 18 years of her life in California, the next nine years in Utah and now calls College Station, Texas home while her husband attends A&M for grad school. She enjoys reading, writing, yoga, sports, music and loves the beach.

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