In today’s world of #momgoals, #bossladygoals, #hairgoals  #familygoals, it’s easy to feel #stressed or #notenough.  I once fell into the trap of feeling like I needed to be doing what others were doing in order to feel successful. My goals were all over the place and I was not achieving much.  I felt as if I was running on the treadmill… trying so hard, but not really getting anywhere. One day, I decided to step off the proverbial “treadmill” and find a better way. I turned to the scriptures and gained some valuable insights into how we can set goals that will help us become who our Father in Heaven intends us to be.

PART ONE:  When and How To Choose Worthy Goals

Have you ever made a goal and then life gets in the way?  It can feel discouraging.  However, setting goals is far more than just putting pen to paper.  We have to first consider the timing.  We can learn this simple truth as we read through the story of Nephi and his people trying to journey to the promised land. In 1 Nephi 17:1-5, we read about Nephi and his family “sojourning” in the wilderness.  They left Jerusalem 7 years earlier, with the intent to find safety in the promised land.  But the Lord wasn’t in a hurry.  There were things they needed to learn.  During this time, they lived in a land called Bountiful, which sounds like a pretty nice place to be.  It wasn’t the promised land, or the end goal, but it was a place the Lord had prepared for them. While they were in this land, the Lord did, “ nourish them, and strengthen them, and provide[d] means whereby they can accomplish the thing which he commanded them.”(v3).  The same principle applies to us.  We have times in our lives when the Lord wants us to “sojourn”.  We might be in a place in our lives that the Lord just wants us to be prepared and strengthened for those things he has in store for us.  Whether you are in the thick of raising small children, or battling illness, or financial challenges, family problems or anything else that requires all of your mental, physical and emotional juice; just know, that it is OK. It’s part of the plan to sojourn.

However, sojourning didn’t last forever.  In verse 6 we read how Nephi and his family “rejoiced when we came to the seashore.” I believe that we will at one point, or many points, in our lives, feel like we are on the seashore; when we can see what it is that Heavenly Father has in mind for us, but we aren’t quite there. We may not even know how we are going to accomplish it. I loved what Nephi did once he got to this place. He went to the “mountain” (v 7) to pray to the Lord for further instruction.   We can seek out similar personal revelation for our own lives as we take time to pray, ponder and attend the temple.

While in the mountains, Nephi was commanded to “ build a ship”.  The purpose of the ship was to carry Nephi and his people to the Promised Land.  The ship wasn’t Nephi’s destination, but it was the ship that got him there.  Goals are much like that.  Setting goals help us reach our divine potential. What will be your “ build a boat” goal? What goals will carry you to the place the God wants you to be?

Now, we need to bring in another Book of Mormon prophet to help us keep our perspective.  While it would be amazing to feed all of the world’s starving people, or start a million dollar business or cure cancer; that might not be God’s plan for you.   In Alma 29: 1-3:  we read about how Alma wishes to be an angel to preach the gospel to ALL people.  What a great goal, right?  However, as we read further, Alma realizes that he “ought to be content with the things the Lord has allotted me.” From him, we learn the first step in determining what goals we should set for ourselves.  We should start by considering our circumstances as well as making a list of all of the gifts, talents, and strengths with which you have been “allotted”.  Pray over this list, ponder about it and ask people who love you for their insight.  Once you have this list, you can look for themes and patterns and ways you can use your gifts for good. This will help you choose goals that are in line with your talents and abilities and will give you a greater chance for success.

Part Two: How To Accomplish the Worthy Goals we Set

Having a big goal staring us in the face may just be as overwhelming as trying to come up with a goal.  President Monson has said, “It’s not enough to want to make the effort and say we’ll make the effort… It’s in the doing and not the thinking that we accomplish our goals.” So, the next question to answer is how do we accomplish the worthy goals we set? Let’s take a look again at Nephi to see how he accomplished his goal of building a boat.  In 1 Nephi 17:9 we read that the first thing Nephi did was to ask the Lord for help. Nephi doesn’t just generally ask for help. He is SPECIFIC.  He asks where to find the ore to molten to make the tools he needs to make the boat.  Nephi also broke up his big goal into smaller, easier to accomplish steps.  Just one small step after another will get you to where you want to be.  It is so much easier than trying to make one gigantic leap… and causes less hyperventilating!

True to real life, Nephi faced challenges in trying to accomplish his goal.  His brothers complained and mocked him for what he was trying to do. They even went so far as to say, “we knew that ye were lacking in judgment; wherefore, thou canst not accomplish so great a work” (1 Nephi 17:19). We all have those negative voices in our lives.  It could be others discouraging us, but more often, it is our own thoughts. Have you ever questioned your own abilities and given up after listening to your fears?  To you then, I share Nephi’s response to his brothers, “And now, if the Lord has such great power, and has wrought so many miracles among the children on men, how is it that he cannot instruct me to build a ship?” ( 1 Nephi 17:51).  Reread that verse again and insert whatever your goal is.  Isn’t it powerful? Do not let negative voices from without and especially from within, keep you from reaching your potential.

Elder Uchtdorf has said, “May I invite you to rise to the great potential within you. But don’t reach beyond your capacity. Don’t set goals beyond your capacity to achieve. Don’t feel guilty or dwell on thoughts of failure. Don’t compare yourself with others. Do the best you can, and the Lord will provide the rest. Have faith and confidence in Him, and you will see miracles happen in your life and the lives of your loved ones.” Each of us was born with a purpose.  We were born to become.  As we do our part to prayerfully consider how we can use the gifts we have been given and set worthy goals, I know God will use all of us for good.


Lisa Andersen is a “retired” teacher turned stay at home mom turned positive discipline educator and instgrammer behind @thrivingmotherhood. She loves the gospel and finds joy in applying the principles to her daily life and even more joy in sharing it and teaching it to others. She literally jumped for joy when she was asked to teach Relief Society. She loves her family, spending time with friends, eating most things except mushrooms and especially chocolate (and as a result she also enjoys exercise). She is grateful for the chance to live and love and grow ever day!

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