Counsel from Mormon leaders about goal-setting

By Melissa DeMoux

For Mormon Times

Published: Sunday, Jan. 2 2011 6:30 a.m. MST

A new year is spilling over the horizon along with an opportunity to evaluate the past year and look forward to the promise of the coming year.

When setting goals, following the counsel of LDS leaders will keep the future bright. Following are pieces of guidance given by leaders to help individuals set and achieve worthwhile goals in the coming year.

  • "We can become the masters of our own destinies by practicing self-discipline and by setting worthy goals that will lead to higher ground so that we can become what our Heavenly Father wants us to become."

    Elder M. Russell Ballard, May 2003 New Era

  • You must avoid blindness of mind by setting goals. ... I have long contended that the person who sets goals and who strives to attain such is the master of his own fate."

    Elder Carlos E. Asay, May 1985 New Era

  • "When it came to setting goals, my father had three rules. First, we had to have worthwhile goals. Second, we could change our goals at any time. But third, whatever goal we chose, we had to work diligently toward it."

    Elder Gene R. Cook, April 2008 Liahona

  • "Set short-term goals that you can reach. Set goals that are well balanced, not too many nor too few, and not too high nor too low. Write down your attainable goals, and work on them according to their importance. Pray for divine guidance in your goal setting."

    Elder M. Russell Ballard, May 1987 Ensign

  • "I believe in goals, but I believe that the individual should set his own. Goal setting should cause us to stretch as we make our way."

    President Spencer W. Kimball quoted by Elder Marvin J. Ashton, November 1983 Ensign

  • "May I invite you to rise to the great potential within you. But don’t reach beyond your capacity. Don’t set goals beyond your capacity to achieve. Don’t feel guilty or dwell on thoughts of failure. Don’t compare yourself with others. Do the best you can, and the Lord will provide the rest. Have faith and confidence in Him, and you will see miracles happen in your life and the lives of your loved ones."

    President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, September 2009 Liahona

  • An August 1998 Liahona article entitled "Strengthen Your Sense of Self-Worth" gave suggestions about setting goals:

  • Keep your goals realistic, not so high that they’re impossible to attain.
  • Set some little goals. The more you achieve, the better you’ll feel about yourself.
  • Write down each of your goals. Remember, a goal not written is only a wish.
  • Share your goals with a friend, and encourage that person to set some, too. You can motivate and applaud each other.
  • Be committed to your goals. Do what you have to do to achieve them, and don’t become discouraged if they’re challenging.
  • Don’t compete with others. Compete with yourself. Don’t make your goals depend on another’s performance. Decide to attain a level of personal excellence no matter what others achieve.
  • Share your goals with Heavenly Father. Talk to him in prayer. Ask for help in reaching your goals or in understanding why you didn’t. He’ll help you feel good about the positive things you achieve.
  • Melissa DeMoux is a stay-at-home mother of six young children and lives in West Valley City.

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