Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Behind Thee

Well it is that time of the year again when everyone is obsessed with setting new goals and improving themselves. As you may recall from a previous post, I am not generally a huge fan of the concept of the cyclical pattern of setting new goals once a year that you break two weeks later, give up on completely, and wait until the next year to try again.

Of course, that is how I had always seen it before my mission but with the help of someone last year my view was able to shift and I was able to set goals for myself that actually mattered, that meant something to me, and which have become so ingrained within me that I haven't had to look at them in over eight months. Because I set goals that were so meaningful to me, I didn't have to look at a little piece of paper or a note card to remember what they were. They meant so much that after thinking of them numerous times a day, day in and day out, they became a part of me.

At the beginning of each new year, we all have the opportunity to start again. It is a fresh start, a new beginning of sorts. We are like a new flower awaiting to blossom. And the great thing is that we have the ability to choose how our life will blossom over the coming year. We can do this by the goals that we set. They will set the pace and the focus for our entire year if we set them well!

And now it is yet again another new year.

It is another opportunity to evaluate ourselves and our lives and make new goals with new life directions to focus on. As I have been preparing for this opportunity over the past few days I have put a lot of thought into what I wanted to do and most importantly, who I wanted to become over this next year. Many things came to mind and many goals were considered but for one reason or another, they just didn't feel quite right.

This past Sunday, we had the great privilege of hearing from our stake president as he shared some of his thoughts about this time of the year. I expected him to talk about Christmas and how to keep the spirit of Christmas in our lives all year long. That seems to be a pretty common topic the week after Christmas. But he didn't! He talked about setting goals and resolutions for the coming year.

As he talked, he encouraged us to set our goals in a new way that really stuck out to me. He invited us all to imagine ourselves fifty years from now with a spouse, children, maybe even grandchildren. Then one day we suddenly and unexpectedly die. What would we want our son, our daughter, our wife, or our husband to say about us at our funeral? As they describe us, what would they say? Who would we be in their eyes?

He invited each of us to think about this and to write down, from a few different perspectives, what different people would say about us and who they would say we were and then set goals for the coming year on how we can incrementally reach that point. I had always set my goals based on where I wanted to be and who I wanted to be in a year from that point so this was a new idea to me but it sounded good to me so I decided to give it a try.

As a missionary, I don't really have much time during the day to sit down and write down my thoughts so I haven't been able to yet write down what I would want and hope my family members to say about me at my funeral, but I have had plenty of time to think about it and to think about some goals that I can set to help me reach that point. I have been able to set goals that feel right; that I know will be of great importance to me.

These, again, will be the kind of goals that become a part of me. These will be the kind that I only have to think about on a regular basis for a week or two and then they will become so ingrained upon my mind that working towards them will become natural and second-nature.

After all, isn't that the way they should be? We should set goals that push us to the Savior. We should make goals that will invite us to come to the Savior and to grow in Him. As we do that, we are much more able to remember them and to have the drive and desire to achieve them for longer than five days. These are the kind of goals that we should all be trying to set for ourselves!

2012 is past. It is time to move on. It is time for each of us to look toward 2013 with a new set of eyes. At this time of the year, it is important to remember the Savior's counsel to "Remember Lot's wife." This Mormon message (one of my favorites!) really helps to explain how we can remember Lot's wife during this time of setting goals and working to progress.

I know that through the gospel of Jesus Christ, we can all overcome our weaknesses. We can each set goals which, through His grace, will allow us to become better and more like He is. These goals can serve to set the foundation for our growth and provide a spur to continued improvement if we will only let them. May we each do our best to remember the Savior as we set our goals and set goals that will be of importance to us in a month, two months, and six months from now.

1 comment:

  1. I wrote something similar to this on my Facebook page. I love the idea of setting goals rather than making resolutions that almost seem trendy to break and then brag about.

    Excellent post, Elder. :)