Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year - My Talk In Church

Happy New Year!

New Year's Day was a little different this year because it was a Sunday and our church got moved to 9:00am (3 congregations share our building and we rotate times) so there was no sleeping in for us! On top of that, I was asked to speak in Sacrament meeting. I was pretty much a nervous wreck until I was done, so I guess it was good we got to get it over with sooner! My talk was on goals so I thought it would be an appropriate thing to share on here since this is a very goal oriented blog. Keep in mind it was a talk for church so it is very gospel centered. I'm hoping to do a Resolution post tomorrow!

(This is kind of long. I was supposed to talk for 12-15 minutes, and ended up talking for 18 minutes!)

It is the new year which is a time we all like to make New Years Resolutions, or goals. I am all for this. I love making goals. I live for goals! But, why do we do this?

First of all, what is a goal?

If you look up "goals" in the topical guide, it says, "See Objectives, Perfection"

So, maybe we should look at our goals less like something to do on New Years day, but as objectives to reach perfection.

After all, we are commanded in Matthew 5:48 "Be ye therefore prefect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect."

That sounds like quite a daunting task, doesn't it? Well, if you look at the translation for the Greek word for perfect, it actually means, "complete, finished, fully developed."

When I think about being finished or complete, I think about being like Jesus.

That sounds more like a goal we can actually work towards, doesn't it? And work we must. Even He has a work to do as we read about in Moses 1:39: "For behold, this is my work and my glory - to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man."

In James 4:17 it says, "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is a sin."

I think all of us here know what we need to do, and know what is good, so basically, if we're not doing that, it's a sin. Ah!

But, what specific goals should we be working on to get us closer to being finished this year?

First we must have faith in Jesus Christ in order to emulate him.

Richard G. Scott has said that "To gain unshakeable faith in Jesus Christ… flood your life with brilliant light."

I love that! That sounds like a good goal, doesn't it? To do this, we need to think about the things we allow into our lives. Does it brings light or darkness? Does it make us feel good and closer to the Savior, or does it bring us down and farther away from Him?

In 1994 Elder Joe J. Christensen of the Seventy gave a talk on goals at BYU and this is what he said: "Only one verse of scripture in the entire King James Version of the New Testament suggests what the Savior did to develop himself from age twelve until he began his formal ministry at age thirty: "Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man. (Luke 2:52) In other words, the Savior developed… intellectually (in wisdom and knowledge), physically (in stature), socially (in favor with man), and spiritually (in favor with God).

So, maybe we should focus on making a goal or two in each of these areas if we want to follow the Savior's example.

Intellectual Goals can include anything to do with school like getting good grades or making better study habits. Or if you're done with school, it could be reading more books or learning some kind of new skill or language. Anything like that is a worthy goal. I think I have a lot of room to work in this area! My kids are learning so much! They are learning Spanish and violin in school, and I'm so grateful they have a good school to go to because I definitely wouldn't be able to teach them these things! It kind of makes me feel bad and realize that there are so many things that I could still learn. We should always be learning. That's one of the reasons we're here on this earth, and all truths are good to know.

Physical Goals are things like going to bed and getting up earlier, eating heather foods, and getting into better shape. These goals are my favorite. I LOVE signing up for running races or triathlons, then working towards finishing a new distance or getting faster. I actually spend way too much time thinking about these goals and have a whole blog dedicated to it! Just last night I signed up for another race, and I'm so excited for next year!

I think physical goals are the first thing a lot of people think of when they start making New Years Resolutions. This can be good because it's an area where you can see a definite change in how you look and feel and in what you're able to do. But I think it can also be really discouraging if your goal is to loose x number of pounds, and you try to do it with some crazy diet. Then you fall off the diet and just get discouraged and give up. This is so easy to see when I go to the gym, it's crazy! There will hardly be anyone at the gym in December, then January comes and suddenly it's packet! Unfortunately, this only last for a few months, then it dies back down.

I think being healthier is a really really good goal. I can't stress that enough! But don't try to go on a diet or go to the gym if you hate going to the gym. Eat real food - fruits and vegetables, and find something active that you actually enjoy doing and just do that. Try to have fun with it!

I used to hate running, but I fell in love with triathlon, and soon I realized if I wanted to get better at triathlon, I needed to get better at running. I needed to actually be able to run. I worked on it, and slowly worked up to where I could run 3 miles without stopping. This was such an amazing feeling for me! I had never thought it would be possible to do this! Then I signed up for a longer distance triathlon where you have to run 6.2 miles and worked towards that. I remember the first time I ran 5 miles, I jumped in the air I was so excited! I soon realized, that after I could run for 5 miles or so, I actually started to like running! Weird, I know! So, then I signed up for an Ironman, and proceeded to work up to a marathon. I can't even express how amazing this still seems to me. I couldn't even run a mile in high school, and now I love running and working out. It's so crazy! I could go on and on with this topic, but I'll leave it at that.

Social Goals could be anything from finding someone to smile at or say a kind thing to every day, to making more friends or finding ways to serve people. I'm not the biggest social person so this is hard for me too, and I always have room to improve here.

Spiritual Goals are probably the most important in becoming more like Jesus., and yet they're easily overlooked when we plan our our New Year's Resolutions.

I always seem to make the same spiritual goals every year: read the scriptures and have family prayer every night and family home evening every week. I think these are wonderful goals, but I think there's more we could be doing.

In October 2007 General Conference Thomas S. Monson counseled us to work on the following 3 goals:

Study diligently
Pray earnestly
Serve willingly

He also said, "Do not pray for tasks equal to your abilities, but pray for abilities equal to your tasks. Then the performance of your tasks will be no miracle, but you will be the miracle."

The 13th Article of Faith also gives us some ideas about goals we should be working towards: We believe in being bhonest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing egood to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.

I'm going to quote a little from the Young Women's Lesson manual:

Although each of us is individually unique, our main goal in life should be the same—to become worthy to achieve exaltation in the celestial kingdom and return to live with our Heavenly Father as a part of His eternal family. Because individual talents, abilities, and weaknesses differ, each of us needs to set different individual goals to help us achieve our main goal. For example, some of us may need to improve our ability to pay tithing, whereas this may already be easy for some. Some of us may need to learn to keep the Sabbath day holy, while this may pose no problem for others. We will not always have the same goals as others because our individual needs are not always the same.

President Kimball also counseled us to set goals that require us to “reach and strain. … Growth comes from setting your goals high and reaching for the stars” (“Privileges and Responsibilities of Sisters,” Ensign, Nov. 1978, 103). He also said: “We do believe in setting goals. We live by goals. … We must have goals to make progress” (regional representatives’ seminar, 3 Apr. 1975).

Pray to find out what goals you should make, then write them down. It's also helpful to give yourself a deadline for when you want to accomplish your goal. This is easy with races because the race is the deadline. So write it on the calendar. Also, tell people about it. If someone is there to hold you accountable, you're going to be a lot more likely to keep your goal.

Make a plan of action.

Like I said, this is easy with triathlon because I find a training plan and just follow that, but we can make a training plan, or schedule for any of our goals. Set aside a certain time of day or day of the week to work on your goal, and write it on your calendar. I put all my workouts into my schedule so that they don't get forgotten or pushed out by other things. That's how I make sure it gets done, and we can do this with any goal.

James 1:22 "But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves."

You wouldn't be able make the goal to do an Ironman and then just go do it without a plan or without any training. When I sign up for a race, I make sure that at least a majority of the workouts from my plan get done. That way, as long as I follow the plan, I know I'll be ready when race day comes.

President Spencer W. Kimball shared the following personal experience he had in setting a goal when he was 14 years old:
“When I heard a Church leader … tell us at conference that we should read the scriptures, and I recognized that I had never read the Bible, that very night at the conclusion of that very sermon I walked to my home a block away and climbed up in my little attic room in the top of the house and lighted a little coal-oil lamp that was on the little table, and I read the first chapters of Genesis. A year later I closed the Bible, having read every chapter in that big and glorious book. …
“I had a glowing satisfaction that I had made a goal and that I had achieved it” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1974, 126–27; or Ensign, May 1974, 88).

Keep going until you've accomplished your goal.

This is something my kids have problems with. I ask them to clean a room, and they quit when there's just a few things left on the floor. It's so frustrating to me. Do they not see those things!? It would really only take them another minute to actually finish out their job, but I guess they think they're finished enough before it's all the way done. We also have this problem when it comes to paying off the credit card. We are so diligent, until we get close to getting it paid off, then we get excited and stop worrying about putting money on it. Before we know it, it's back up high, and we never even had it all the way paid off! That's frustrating too.

One hard thing about a goal is that once you've accomplished it, you don't know where to go from there. After I finished my Ironman, I felt kind of lost because I had reached my goal, and had no more training plan to follow. It wasn't long before I picked another race to work towards so that I felt like I had some direction to go! Of course, with spirituality, we're never quite done, and we can always keep improving in any area. Once you reach a certain point, raise the bar and keep working.

If you don't reach your goal, or you get off track for a little while. Don't beat yourself up over it. It's like those people who start going to the gym so good in January, then stop going because they missed a few times or got discouraged. This makes me so sad. We just watched Kung Fu Panda 2, and it's all about not worrying about what happened in the past, or how you used to be. What matters is how you are now. I loved that message.

Jeffery R. Holland spoke about this same thing. He said "Leave the past in the past and look forward to the future. Looking to the future is faith."

In Philippians 3:13–14 it says: “This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
“I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus”

If there's something you want to do, please don't be afraid to make that goal and work towards it! You will be amazed at what you can accomplish.

In Mark 9:23 we read: "Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth."

Nephi had similar thoughts in 1 Nephi 3:7
"And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I awill go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no bcommandments unto the children of men, save he shall cprepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them."

I know that this is true. We can accomplish amazing things, especially with the Lord's help.


  1. Ack! I gave a talk yesterday on goals too and started out almost just like you did!

  2. Okay, just read the whole thing. Nice job. I wish I could've been there to hear you deliver it personally.