The Key to Real Change
August 2023

“The Key to Real Change,” For the Strength of Youth, Aug. 2023.

The Key to Real Change

True and lasting change is possible, but we can’t do it alone.

young man rowing

In high school I tried rowing. It sounded easy enough—sit in a boat and move the oar blades to go fast on the water. I had no idea what I was in for.

For a while, I couldn’t keep the boat balanced, and my use of the oars caused me to stop instead of sail smoothly on the water.

Over time, I changed how I balanced the boat and handled the oars. I slowly made other changes and improved—often without realizing. Then rowing became fun! I loved the soothing motion of rowing as I glided quickly and quietly across the water.

Making positive changes—even the smallest ones—not only helps with sports like rowing but also with becoming who we are meant to be.

But change is not always easy.

We’re Here to Change

Have you ever had one of these thoughts while trying to make changes in your life:

“Oh no, I made the same mistake again! How could I be so weak?”

“I’m worthless.”

“I’ve sinned too much to be forgiven.”

Thoughts like these can make change feel impossible. But we’re here in this life to change and improve. True and lasting change is possible, but we can’t do it alone.

President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, has said, “Do you see something in your life that is less than what you want it to be? … If you know of things in your life that you do not like, ask your Heavenly Father for help and you will find the inner strength to change.”1

The strength to change comes through Jesus Christ and His Atonement.

Jesus Christ with woman

Illustration of Christ by Judith A. Mehr

Christlike Attributes: A Guide for Change

The Savior has shown us the best way to live. He asks us to follow Him and become as He is (see 3 Nephi 27:27). We can do this by studying His life and attributes.

The scriptures describe Christlike attributes, including faith, hope, charity and love, virtue, knowledge, patience, humility, diligence, and obedience.2 Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has taught that as we diligently and prayerfully seek to develop Christlike attributes, “the Savior will bless us beyond our own capacity to become what He wants us to be.”3

Embrace the Chance to Change

I had to make changes if I wanted to get better at rowing. Only then could I experience the joy rowing offers.

For us to experience what life—even eternal life—has to offer, the Savior does not ask us to give up our personality just for the sake of change. He asks that we change what needs changing to draw closer to Him.

This is what repentance is all about. President Russell M. Nelson has taught: “When we choose to repent, we choose to change! We allow the Savior to transform us into the best version of ourselves. … When we choose to repent, we choose to become more like Jesus Christ!”4

The Savior gave His life so He can help you embrace the wonderful chance you have to change and become all that He wants and knows you can become.