Skip to main content

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!


Popular posts from this blog

Thought for the Day: Battling the Evil Inclination on all Fronts

Yom Kippur.  When I was growing up, there were three annual events that marked the Jewish calendar: eating matzos on Passover, lighting candles on Chanuka, and  fasting on Yom Kippur.  Major news organizations around the world report on the "surreal" and "eerie" quiet of the streets in even the most secular neighborhoods of Israel.  Yom Kippur.

As you know, I am observant of Jewish law.  Some have even called me "ultra orthodox" (not in a kind way).  Given that, I have a question.  How likely do you think that I would be tempted to eat on Yom Kippur, that most holy day of the year?  Let's make the scale zero to ten, where zero is "as likely as driving through McDonald's on Shabbos and ordering a Big Mac with extra cheese." and ten is "as likely as breathing regularly".  Take your time.  If you answered "zero"; thank you, but -- sadly and penitently -- no.  The answer is more like nine; I'd like to say lower, but i…

Thought for the Day: Coming Into This World for Torah, Avodah, and Acts of Loving Kindness

This TftD is so self-serving that I should be embarrassed.  But I am not... talking about grandchildren is always off budget.  I have, bli ayin hara, a beautiful new grandson; born at 6:11 PM CDT last Friday night.  The secular (aka -- by me, anyway -- slave) date is October 20, 2017 CE.  The Hebrew (aka Real) date is certainly Rosh Chodesh חשון/Cheshvan and certainly in the year 5778 since Creation.  The date, you ask... good question!

Sundown on Friday night was 6:01 PM CDT, which means he was born either at the end of the last day of תשרי or the beginning of the first day of Cheshvan; a period know as בין השמשות/twilight.  What's the big deal, you ask... I am so glad you asked.  We all deal quite handily with בין השמשות every week and every holiday; we're just stringent.  We start Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov before בין השמשות; that is, before sundown.  Likewise, we end Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov after בין השמשות; some 42, 50, 60, or 72 minutes after sundo…

Thought for the Day: Prayer II -- How?

Now that we know that the obligation to pray is nothing more (nor less!) than a divine decree, we are going to also need instructions from heaven on how to implement that decree.  I cannot stress enough how important it is to have instruction from heaven how to implement heavenly decrees.  One only needs to look at the shambles that one modern ism has made of the very important Torah principle of תיקון עולם/improving and fixing the world.  They have taken words out of context and used them to support their own nefarious schemes.  (To the point that Google Translate actually translates -- not transliterates -- תיקון עולם as Tikkun Olam.  Amelia Bedelia would be proud; we are not amused.

The Torah teaches us how to pray in two complementary fashions.  One is the way in which the concept is presented as an obligation, the other is by giving us examples of how to practically implement those instructions.

The obligation is introduced in the second paragraph of "sh'ma" -- וּלְ…