Setting Goals — Family Home Evening
Using the Scriptures as Your Guide
by Marie Scott
One of the things we have come to earth to learn is how to be PROBLEM SOLVERS, and goal setting is a tool we can use to solve problems.
Jason didn’t get up in the morning the first time his mom called him, so he started the day late getting ready for school. He went to put on his clothes, but had no clean shirts in his drawer, so he went downstairs to the laundry room to see if he had, by chance, put anything in his basket to be washed by his mom. While he was down there he got sidetracked by the collection of small toys and coins he found sitting on top of the washer. Before he knew it, his mom was calling him again. He got his shirt on and hurried to find his missing shoe, but his mother scolded him to come and eat, so he went to eat breakfast. He didn’t eat much because he got carried away reading the side of the cereal box, then had to hurry and find his shoe. He was still late getting out the door because his mother made him go brush his teeth, and comb his hair while he was trying to collect his homework. He knew he’d be in trouble with the teacher again today because he’d been too interested in playing his tech-games to finish his homework, even though his dad had asked if he needed help last night. Jason dreaded the day . . . again.
What are Jason’s problems?
What goals could Jason set to help him solve his problems?
Here are three questions we’ll address to unlock the magic of goal setting:
1) Why should I set goals?
2) What goals should I set?
3) How do I set goals?
Why Should I Set Goals?
Setting goals gives our lives direction and motivation to make needed changes. Setting and reaching goals gives us a way to measure personal success. Setting goals gives us more control over our lives so we can manage our time better and accomplish more. Setting goals frees us from our vices and ineffectiveness.
If we fail to set goals or solve problems, then we drift through life, being pushed and pulled by outside forces, like Jason.
What Goals Should I Set?
Our first challenge in goal setting, or problem solving, is to define what our problems are. For instance, we might say that Jason’s problem is that he got up late. But that is only one of Jason’s problems, and if he’d been better organized, he could have overcome that problem. Jason also has problems organizing his belongings, prioritizing his activities, and getting sidetracked. He doesn’t manage his time well, he doesn’t understand cause and effect, and he isn’t self- motivated to get things done. Poor Jason is not alone in his problems, and his problems are not all his fault.
Have your family brainstorm ways parents, siblings, and teachers could help Jason both learn about his problems, and deal with his problems.
In choosing goals, ask yourself three questions:
1) What do you want to become or where do you want to go with your life?
2) What steps must you take to get there?
3) And what tools do you need to reach your goal?
Some other guidelines for setting goals include setting long-range, mid-range, and short-range goals, and in thinking about these four areas of your life:
1) Physical—eating, sleeping, and exercising
2) Social/Emotional—creating and maintaining family and other relationships
3) Mental—getting a good education and continually learning
4) Spiritual—learning and growing in the gospel and in your relationship with the Lord
How do I Set Goals?
You create a plan, just as our Father in Heaven creates plans. Your goals should be specific, realistic and not impossible. You should have a way to track your progress, and you should set a time limit for reaching your goal.
Planning is one of our best tools.
Using the scriptures as our guide:
· First of all, we know perfection is our ultimate goal. (3 Nephi 12:48)
· Then we know that we should be anxiously engaged in a good cause. (D&C 58:27)
· We should not be idle, nor should we run faster than we have strength. (D&C 42:42, D&C 10:4)
· We should put first things first, and not try to do too much at once. (D&C 19:22-23)
· And above all, we should remember that out of small things proceedeth that which is great. (D&C 64:33) And that it’s by small and simple things that great things are brought to pass. (Alma 37:6)
A good key to setting goals is to follow the above scriptures and break large tasks into small, doable pieces.
Think of this: Our Father in Heaven has created an entire universe, incomprehensible to us, by putting together tiny particles of matter to build everything He creates. How long must that have taken? And how patient is God? We know God’s long-range goal is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. He has broken that goal into mid-range and short-range goals of time and task that have eventually brought Him to the point of having worlds without end.
We have one more great tool in our goal setting process, and that is the tool of prayer. We can ask for guidance from the Holy ghost so our goals will be in accordance with the will of our Father, and in accordance with each of our special plans. Because “. . . by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.” (Moroni 10:5)
Prayer is another of our best tools.
In all of this goal setting, “. . . cheer up your hearts and remember that ye are free to act for yourselves.” (2 Nephi 10:23)
Let each family member choose his or her own goals. Make goal setting a positive experience, because choosing to progress is a happy choice for all of us.
As part of the Family Home Evening, pass out “planning calendars” and set some family goals to model the goal setting process.