4: Realizing My Goals


    Realizing My Goals

    Have an opening prayer.


    Let’s start by introducing ourselves to the group and sharing our experiences in working to keep our commitments this past week. As part of your introduction, please share the following:

    • Your name

    • Your mission

    • How long you’ve been back from your mission

    • An insight or question that came from keeping your commitments this past week

    Setting Goals of the Highest Priority


    When creating goals, consider your priorities. Many goals can help us improve, but with the Lord’s guidance we can select the best goals for our lives.

    President Dallin H. Oaks said: “We should [recognize] that just because something is good is not a sufficient reason for doing it. The number of good things we can do far exceeds the time available to accomplish them. Some things are better than good, and these are the things that should command priority attention in our lives” (“Good, Better, Best,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2007, 104).

    Goals are most effective when they excite, challenge, and motivate us. As you create or improve your goals, be specific in what you want to achieve, create some way of measuring your progress, and give yourself a timeline to achieve it.

    President M. Russell Ballard

    “I am so thoroughly convinced that if we don’t set goals in our life and learn how to master the technique of living to reach our goals, we can reach a ripe old age and look back on our life only to see that we reached but a small part of our full potential.”

    M. Russell Ballard, “Do Things That Make a Difference,” Ensign, June 1983, 69–70

    Activity: (3 minutes)

    Individually take a moment to review the goals you set using My Plan during your mission. If you did not start My Plan while on your mission, review the worksheet at the back of this manual.

    smiling woman

    Highest-Priority Goal: Dating and Marriage


    Eternal marriage is a critical part of God’s plan for His children. If you participated in My Plan during your mission, you’ll recall how one of the most important purposes of your mission was to prepare you to have an eternal family. Of all your goals, a marriage sealed in the temple should be of highest priority. As you turn to worthy personal pursuits, such as education and career goals, it may be easy to let other priorities get in the way. Marriage provides opportunities for personal and spiritual growth that are not available any other way. This is why prophets have counseled returned missionaries to actively pursue marriage.

    President Thomas S. Monson said: “I realize there are many reasons why you may be hesitating to take that step of getting married. … Perhaps you are afraid of making the wrong choice. To this I say you need to exercise faith” (“Priesthood Power,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2011, 67).

    President Ballard declared: “You single adults need to date and marry. Please stop delaying! … Many problems you encounter will be avoided if you are ‘anxiously engaged’ in righteous dating, courting, and marriage” (“The Greatest Generation of Young Adults,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2015, 69).

    Elder Richard G. Scott taught: “If you are single and haven’t identified a solid prospect for celestial marriage, live for it. Pray for it. Expect it in the timetable of the Lord. … His prophets have stated that you will have that blessing as you consistently live to qualify for it. We do not know whether it will be on this or the other side of the veil. But live for it. Pray for it” (“Receive the Temple Blessings, Ensign, May 1999, 27).

    Sister Elaine S. Dalton

    “A temple marriage for time and all eternity is worthy of your greatest efforts and highest priority. It was only after Nephi had completed the temple in the wilderness that he stated, ‘And … we lived after the manner of happiness.’ The ‘manner of happiness’ is found in the temple. It is covenant keeping.”

    Elaine S. Dalton, “Love Her Mother,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2011, 77


    How can you better exercise your faith in seeking a companion to marry? What does it mean to “expect marriage in the timetable of the Lord”?


    What impressions have you had from prayer, scripture study, or going to the temple about how you can prepare yourself for temple marriage?

    Realizing Your Goals


    Even when we make good goals, we don’t always achieve them. There are many reasons why this might happen, but you have probably learned, whether on your mission or through other experiences, some ways you can keep yourself on track. List your ideas in your study journal.

    Write Your Goals


    President Ballard offered the following advice about staying on track with your plans: “I would suggest that if you want to have success in the goal setting process, you learn to … put them in a very prominent place—on your mirror or on the refrigerator door. Keep your goals in front of you, in writing. Then, with the desire to reach your written goals, you will be more willing to pay the price that successful goal-oriented people must pay” (“Do Things That Make a Difference,” Ensign, June 1983, 70).

    Activity: (5 minutes)

    Divide into groups of three and discuss the following question: What do you think is the best way to “keep your goals in front of you,” as President Ballard counseled?

    Exercise Faith, Repentance, and Self-Discipline


    To successfully keep goals, you must exercise faith in God and in yourself, and you must exercise self-discipline in working to achieve your goals.

    President Ballard further taught: “We have to have faith. We have to have faith in God. We have to have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. And oh, how desperately we have to have faith in ourselves! … When you set a goal and when you commit yourself to the necessary self-discipline to reach that goal, you will eliminate most of the problems in your life. Spend your energies doing those things that will make a difference” (“Do Things That Make a Difference,” 71, 72).


    What does it mean to have faith in yourself? How can having faith in yourself change how you spend your time?


    How can the principle of repentance help us achieve our goals?

    Be Diligent and Patient


    President Dieter F. Uchtdorf gave the following counsel:

    “I learned that patience was far more than simply waiting for something to happen—patience required actively working toward worthwhile goals and not getting discouraged when results didn’t appear instantly or without effort.

    “There is an important concept here: patience is not passive resignation, nor is it failing to act because of our fears. Patience means active waiting and enduring. It means staying with something and doing all that we can—working, hoping, and exercising faith; bearing hardship with fortitude, even when the desires of our hearts are delayed. Patience is not simply enduring; it is enduring well!” (“Continue in Patience,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2010, 57).


    Do you have goals that you know will take a significant amount of time to accomplish? What are some things you can do to stay motivated?


    What has helped you most in becoming resilient and diligent in pursuing your goals?

    Make Specific Plans


    To increase the likelihood of achieving your goals, make specific plans with clearly defined steps.

    Read the example goals in the following chart. Notice how each goal has a specific plan, a timeline, and a person to report to.


    Specific Steps to Achieve Goal


    Who I Will Report To

    I will study scriptures for 30 minutes each day.

    1. Wake up at 6:00 a.m. every day.

    2. Read scriptures before breakfast.

    3. Track progress in a chart.

    I will evaluate my progress in one month.

    I will share my progress chart with a mentor.

    I will earn enough money to start school in six months.

    1. Identify 10 companies I’m interested in working for.

    2. Visit each company and ask about job opportunities.

    I will visit each company in the next three days.

    I will report to my mentor.

    President Heber J. Grant

    “That which we persist in doing becomes easier for us to do—not that the nature of the thing is changed, but that our power to do is increased.”

    Attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson, in Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Heber J. Grant (2002), 35


    • Take a moment to review the goals you set using My Plan during your mission. If you didn’t start My Plan while on your mission, review the worksheet at the back of this manual.

    • Create a goal for something you want to accomplish this month. Each day, study your goal and specific plans. Act on your impressions and work diligently to accomplish your goal.

    • Share what you learned today with another returned missionary, another young single adult, or a member of your family.

    Choose an action partner for this week and take two minutes to share with each other the commitments that you feel impressed to work on. Decide how you will follow up with each other during the week.

    Have a closing prayer.