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Thought for the Day: S.M.A.R.T. Goals For Spiritual Improvement

A colleague at work asked me if I had made any New Year's resolutions.  I said (a bit haughtily, I am afraid) that I certainly had, as our Rosh HaShana is not like their New Year's celebration, but the beginning of ten day period of introspection about what we did well and not so well last year and setting goals for the coming year.  Then he said (having not noticed my haughtiness, Baruch HaShem), "Interesting.  So what are you goals?"  Whoops... fortunately for me I write these thoughts of the day, otherwise I would have been stuttering and stammering to think of something quickly.  So I told him I was working on anger and being more patient and we talked about that a bit.

Whew!  I made it through that nisayon.  However, it got me thinking that I really should have solid goals for my spiritual growth.  I should, after all, take my spiritual development at least as seriously as my professional development.  For my professional development I have to write up and get approval for goals I mean to attain each year.  The current fad is to set S.M.A.R.T goals; that is:
Just because it is a fad doesn't mean it is wrong, so I have tried to formulate S.M.A.R.T goals for my spiritual growth this year.  I am sharing a few of my goals (the ones I don't mind being public...).

Overarching Goal: Live every moment with the reality that HaShem is King
Subgoals as part of attaining overarching goal:
  • Be calmer, less angry.
    • S.M.A.R.T. goal: Never raise my voice (except in emergency), even in jest.
  • Be somei'ach b'chelki.
    • S.M.A.R.T. goal: Speak out "kol d'avad rachmana l'tav avad" whenever things don't go exactly as I thought I wanted them to go.
  • Stay more focused.
    • S.M.A.R.T. goal: Whenever my wife asks me to do something that cannot be done right away, paraphrase the task back to her (to show that I heard) and try to write it down.
    • S.M.A.R.T. goal:Choose one of middle 13 bakachos of shmone esrei each week to be the one that I put extra effort into saying with kavana.
There is more (oh... so much more...), but I think this is not a bad start.

G'mar Chasima Tova!


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