As we enter a new year, many of us are setting goals and resolutions to grow and improve in various aspects of our lives. It’s a time for reflection, evaluation, and planning for the future. For Catholics, integrating our spiritual gifts, also known as charisms, into our goal setting can bring a deeper sense of purpose and alignment with God’s will. In this blog post, we’ll explore practical ways to maximize our spiritual gifts and align them with our goals for the new year.

Understanding Your Charisms

Charisms are spiritual gifts given to us by the Holy Spirit to build up the Church and serve others. These gifts are diverse and are bestowed upon each individual according to God’s will. Understanding and discerning our charisms is essential for living out our vocation and contributing to the mission of the Church. As we embark on the journey of setting goals for the new year, it’s important to first identify and acknowledge our unique spiritual gifts.

Integrating Charisms with SMART Goals

SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based. While this framework is valuable for many goal-setting endeavors, integrating charisms with SMART goals requires careful consideration. Charisms, by their nature, may not always align perfectly with the measurable and time-based criteria of SMART goals. While charisms are specific, achievable, and relevant, their impact and manifestation may not always be easily measurable in traditional terms.

Exploring the SAR Goal Model

To integrate our charisms into our goal setting, we can consider the SAR goal model, focusing on Specific, Achievable, and Relevant aspects while being mindful of the less emphasis on the measurable and time-based elements. This approach allows us to set goals that are specific to utilizing our spiritual gifts, achievable in the context of our vocation and mission, and relevant to the needs of the Church and our personal growth.

Embracing a Responsive Approach

The nature of charisms invites us to embrace a responsive approach to their use. While SMART goals are ideal for tasks within our control, charisms are bestowed upon us by God and are meant to be exercised in harmony with His will. Thus, instead of rigidly setting specific time-bound objectives for our charisms, we can create opportunities for their expression and manifestation in our daily lives, remaining open and responsive to the prompting of the Holy Spirit.

Incorporating Charisms into Daily Life

As we embark on the new year, let’s seek to incorporate our charisms into our daily lives and interactions. This might involve setting intentions to actively seek opportunities to utilize our gifts, placing them in the service of others, and growing in our spiritual journey. By doing so, we align our goals with the greater mission of building the Church and fulfilling God’s plan for our lives.

Integrating our spiritual gifts with our goals for the new year offers a unique opportunity to live out our vocation as Catholics. By understanding, discerning, and embracing our charisms, and aligning them with intentional, responsive, and purposeful goal setting, we can grow in faith, serve the Church, and journey towards a more fulfilling and purpose-driven life in 2024.

Jill Simons:

Hello, and welcome to Charisms for Catholics. My name is Jill Simons, and I’m the executive director at Many Parts Ministries where we equip the Body of Christ by helping people learn about and discern their charisms, which is really another word for spiritual gifts. When you discern your charisms, you’re are able to see how the Holy Spirit is already active in your life and where he is inviting you to further build the Church. Let’s dive in. Hello, and welcome to today’s episode. I’m so excited to be with you today asking a little bit maybe cheeky question that we got in email, which is how do charisms and SMART goals interact. So wanted to answer this in January heading into the new year when people are making a bunch of goals and, figuring out what it is that they want this year to look like. So I’ve got some thoughts and I’m gonna be sharing them with you today.

Jill Simons:

So when we’re looking at charisms and SMART goals, we wanna first of all make sure we’re all on the same page about what is the SMART goals. SMART goals are SMART is an acronym, basically, for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time based. So we wanna make sure that we have a way to know if we’ve accomplished a SMART goal, which is the specific part. We wanna make sure that they’re measurable, that we can really measure if we have achieved that goal or not. We wanna make sure that they are achievable. It’s actually, like, humanly possible to do the thing that you have a goal to achieve, believe that it is relevant to what it is that you are trying to pursue or create in your life and that it is time based where you have a deadline. It has to be accomplished by this date. So this is a really common tool used in, just kind of general life for some people also really common in business and maybe even within parish and ministries to set something up as a goal to achieve in the future.

Jill Simons:

And having goals is great. Having goals helps us move forward a lot of times in the ways that we need to. Without goals, a lot lot of people like myself would struggle to keep focus on where it is we’re going and what it is we’re trying to achieve. And so I have had people reach out and ask, you know, is this something that my organization or company or parish or leadership group can use to set better SMART goals. So that’s what we’re gonna break open. If you look at the nature of charisms, I think it’s good to, first of all, evaluate. Do do charisms fall into the SMART formula? Are they specific? Yes, they’re fairly specific what it is that is the work of an individual charism. But then on the next one, are they measurable? That’s a little bit more tricky.

Jill Simons:

It is challenging to measure pretty much all of the charisms in a concrete objective way. Achievable? Yes. It’s definitely achievable to use your charisms because it’s been some something that you’ve been given an aptitude to be able to do. So that’s checks that box. Relevant? Absolutely. It’s 100% relevant to what it is that God wants you to do to build the church and his vision in for moving the Church forward in the world. But is it time based? Yes and no. Obviously, our charisms exist in our lives within time.

Jill Simons:

But we’re not really in a position to say that we are requiring ourselves to use our charisms in some certain way by some certain time. Because ultimately, charisms are a tool that we wield and not something that we own or something that is inherent to us that we have mastery of. Charisms are a tool that flows through us, not from us. And so therefore, we get into kind of a sticky place trying to overlay charisms with the SMART formula specifically because we’ve got that breakdown both in measurability and in the time based nature of charisms. So what I recommend is the slightly less catchy SAR goal model where we’re looking to think of how we can specifically use our charisms. Use that’s great. We want to use them in a we want to have an achievable goal for how we can use them, and we want it to be relevant not only to the Church as a whole, but also to our season of life. What makes it much less of a goal is the fact that we’re dropping the measurability and the time based elements, which are very important for recognizing by January 31st of this month or of next year or something like that, have I achieved this? What we wanna look for instead of measurability and time based nature is how have I served the larger Church and how have I grown spiritually.

Jill Simons:

And evaluating those things on a scale from 1 to 10 is a way to concretize what it is that you’re doing. You can also set a little bit of an arbitrary date to go alongside this process, but more than anything, that date is going to be when you’re gonna evaluate that and not when you will have definitely completed what is you’re setting out to do. So I am less of a fan after taking all that into account, less of a fan of incorporating in charisms into concrete goals and more in more a fan of looking at how can we include charisms in our general rhythms of life. Said another way, how can we set less goals about how we will use charisms in how we’re gonna take control of the situation and how can we create more opportunities for us to be in places where we will need to show up with those charisms. For instance, this is the difference between saying by, you know, August 1st, I will have accomplished x, y, z thing to build the Church. And saying, by August 1st, I would like to put myself in more situations where I need to use x y z charism. It’s a subtle shift, but it’s a shift that keeps God in the driver’s seat. SMART goals are great when it’s something that we can control, and it is right for us to control.

Jill Simons:

These are things that are maybe performance based or things that, do relate easily to numerics, like amount of money or, amount of minutes locked or a number of steps taken in a day. These are not things that are out of our control, but these are things that it is right and good for us to steward through attention to the details that SMART goal leads into. But when it’s something that we are borrowing, when it’s something that we are acting on through grace because God has given it to us. It’s less appropriate for us to be the ones setting the agenda. We want to stay in a more responsive place, creating new openness to be able to use those things, but not necessarily trying to put ourselves in the driver’s seat of saying that it must happen this way by this time. So that’s my thoughts on the integration of charisms with SMART goals, specifically. I definitely think charisms are are an important thing to include into your life and work planning, but in a different way than things that are very measurable and time found. I hope that helps, and I hope that that helps you also think about how you might include your charisms in your planning as you move forward in 2024.

Jill Simons:

If you have more questions, please let me know. You can always reach me at hello@manypartsministries.com. God bless. Thanks so much for joining us on today’s episode of Charisms for Catholics. If you would like to learn more about your charisms or begin your own discernment journey, head to our website at manypartsministries.com where you can download our free PDF guide to all 24 charisms and also begin your own journey by taking our charism assessment.