Small Steps to Accomplishing Big Goals

1 January 2021

Whenever we head into another new year, we are surrounded by talk of resolutions and goals. The yearly focus on self-improvement can feel repetitive or even discouraging if we’ve failed to reach past goals. But if we approach them the right way, goals can lift our vision and help us reach new heights, no matter what time of year it is.

President M. Russell Ballard has taught: “I have observed that those who accomplish the most in this world are those with a vision for their lives, with goals to keep them focused on their vision and tactical plans for how to achieve them. Knowing where you are going and how you expect to get there can bring meaning, purpose, and accomplishment to life” (“Return and Receive,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2017, 62).

Our overarching goal is to become like Jesus Christ and qualify for eternal life. If you’re thinking about what goals to set this year, try to include some that will help you make progress in this area. As you set goals to become more self-reliant, you will eventually be able to devote extra time, energy, and resources to helping others, which will in turn help you become more like the Savior. Below are a few principles for working toward goals in a way that will create real progress.

Make a Plan

Some of the most important goals we can set are long-term, like finding a new job, becoming financially secure, or building up food storage. These goals can’t be accomplished in a day, but you can take action now and do something each day to work toward them.

Work backward to determine what you need to accomplish monthly or daily. Once you have a plan, you’ll be better able to prioritize your time. Like Sister Benkosi in the video below, you’ll be able to record what you need to accomplish each day and prioritize what is most important.

Setting goals and making plans to accomplish those goals will help you to feel less overwhelmed. As you pray for help with these efforts, you will feel peace knowing you’re focusing on what is most important.

Be Accountable

One key to reaching goals is to be accountable. You can be accountable to yourself by writing down your goals and putting them somewhere visible where you’ll review them often. You can also enlist the help of a friend or family member by sharing your goal with them and asking them to follow up with you on your progress.

And of course, you can be accountable to God through prayer. You can report to God each day what you have accomplished and how you have served His children.

Rely on the Savior

Even when we set strong goals, make detailed plans, and hold ourselves accountable, we may stumble on our way to accomplishing goals. But we can rely on Jesus Christ to help us keep trying. In the October 2020 general conference, Sister Becky Craven taught an important principle about change:

“Enduring to the end means changing to the end. I now understand that I am not starting over with each failed attempt, but that with each try, I am continuing my process of change. … Through Jesus Christ, we are given the strength to make lasting changes. As we humbly turn to Him, He will increase our capacity to change” (“Keep the Change,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2020, 59).