“Setting Realistic Goals You Can Accomplish,” Liahona, June 2019
Setting Realistic Goals You Can Accomplish
Do you want to improve? become better at a specific skill? learn something entirely new? You’ll most likely have to set some goals to get there.
Sometimes we write down long lists of goals and try really hard to reach them, but then we forget about them or give up on them. Sound familiar? Why is it that when we want to change and become better, sometimes we just can’t stick with the goals we set? Well, it’s all determined by how realistic our goals are and how much work we’re willing to put in!
Here are a few tips on how to set realistic goals:
Set well-rounded goals. Focus on strengthening many aspects of your life, not just one. The Savior set a perfect example: “Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man” (Luke 2:52). That is, He grew mentally, physically, socially, and spiritually. You can set goals to do the same. Knowing that your goals are helping you become a better person can motivate you to keep working on them.
Write your goals down. Keep your goals somewhere you can see them every day! Whether they are on a bulletin board in your room, in your locker at school, or even on your phone, review them often. The more you’re reminded of the goals you’ve set, the more likely you are to keep working toward them.
Be specific. If you have “Learn something new” on your list of goals, it’s definitely a realistic goal, but it’s not specific. What sort of thing do you want to learn? A new instrument? A new recipe? Maybe a new hobby altogether? Be specific about what you want to accomplish!
Set short-term goals. You can set a major goal for yourself, but in order to achieve that goal, you need to hit little milestones on the way to achieving it. Basically, you need a plan. For example, say you want to run a marathon this year. In order to work up to being able to run 26 miles (42 km), you need to start small. Set a goal to run a few miles every week, and slowly increase your distance each week. When we make plans to achieve our goals, God will help us accomplish them (see Proverbs 16:9).
Make time for your goals. Because life gets so busy, it can be easy for your goals to get lost among school, jobs, friends, and family. But if you set aside a specific time to work on your goal each day, each week, or however often you would like, you are more likely to stick with it.
Don’t do too much. Don’t set so many goals that you can hardly remember everything that you’ve planned to do. If you start with only a couple of important goals instead of throwing yourself headfirst into 40 at a time, you will feel less overwhelmed and more confident in your efforts to reach them. We need to do things “in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength” (Mosiah 4:27). And when you achieve one goal, you’re more likely to achieve another! Small things lead to big things.