Archive for the ‘goals’ Tag

A Measure of Success

Reading: “And upon the Handmaids in Those Days Will I Pour Out My Spirit,” Sister Julie Beck, Relief Society General President, April 2010 General Conference

Although this is only the second talk I have written about, I feel safe in saying that this is the most personally moving and meaningful talk I heard in all of conference. There was so much here that I felt was personally directed at me, and Sister Beck answered questions I didn’t even know I had yet.

In this talk Sister Beck asks sisters to measure their success appropriately. She says,

Good women always have a desire to know if they are succeeding. In a world where the measures of success are often distorted, it is important to seek appreciation and affirmation from proper sources. To paraphrase a list found in Preach My Gospel, we are doing well when we develop attributes of Christ and strive to obey His gospel with exactness. We are doing well when we seek to improve ourselves and do our best. We are doing well when we increase faith and personal righteousness, strengthen families and homes, and seek out and help others who are in need. We know we are successful if we live so that we qualify for, receive, and know how to follow the Spirit. When we have done our very best, we may still experience disappointments, but we will not be disappointed in ourselves. We can feel certain that the Lord is pleased when we feel the Spirit working through us.9 Peace, joy, and hope are available to those who measure success properly.

I often have a difficult time measuring my own success. There are so many things to do in a day, whether it is running errands, cleaning house, making dinner, entertaining a toddler, or interacting with a baby, it all seems important and I can never do it all. At the end of the day I often feel like I am drowning in a sea of things that can never get done, and it is hard to feel that I have accomplished all I should. It is a huge help and inspiration to hear from Sister Beck the true measures of success, and to be reminded that all those little things I do each day do have great meaning and importance. When I am focused on what is really important, then I can truly feel I am succeeding.

How do you usually measure your success? Are there any measurements that need adjusting?

Pacing Yourself

Reading: Mosiah 4:27, D&C 10:4

And I’m back!  A nasty flu is currently working its way through our house, and I’ve been a casualty for the past few days.  My husband has been a huge help in taking care of me and the baby while we’ve been sick, but now it’s my turn to do the supporting as my husband came down with the flu last night.

Being sick is not fun, but it has helped me realize how hard I’ve been on myself lately.  Sunday I was so miserable I stayed in bed all day, yet I still felt guilty for the things I didn’t do that day, such as cleaning the kitchen, making dinner, going to church, etc.  Eventually I realized it was silly to expect so much more of myself than I could possibly do and gave myself a break.

While I may expect myself to do much better than I am able, God only expects me to do my best.  In Mosiah 4:27 it says:

And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order.

I often try to run faster than I have strength.  One of my biggest flaws is that I always want to do things bigger and better and more perfect, but as I let my goals balloon out of control they become unaccomplishable.  Over time, I get burned out and feel quite bad about myself.  I end up doing much worse than if I had just kept my goals at a reasonable level in the first place. I have to constantly remind myself that while I should be doing my best, I can’t do it all perfect right away.

Today I am still not totally 100%.  Plus, I have sick husband and baby to take care of.  So, I’m going to stick to only 3 goals: fold and put away the laundry, clean the shower, and call to make an appointment I’ve been putting off.  Until those three things are done I’m not allowed to get any ideas about getting the whole house clean, or reading a whole book, or any great exercise efforts, or any other things my brain keeps trying to convince me I need to do today.

How do you pace yourself to make sure you’re not trying to do too much?  How do you know what your best is, and how do you know if you are doing it?

I Have Chosen the Good Part

Reading: 2 Nephi 2:30, Omni 1:2

As Lehi ends his blessing for Jacob he tells Jacob that he has made good choices in his life.  He says:

I have spoken these few words unto you all, my sons, in the last days of my probation; and I have chosen the good part, according to the words of the prophet.

This is a great contrast to Omni’s words found in Omni 1:2:

But behold, I of myself am a wicked man, and I have not kept the statutes and the commandments of the Lord as I ought to have done.

At this point in my life I feel that I have chosen the good part.  While I am far from perfect, I was married in the temple, we have a strong family, and we are starting on the path of raising children.  However, there is still so far to go!  There are the challenges I know I will face, such as raising children and growing older, and challenges I cannot anticipate that I still have to get through.  I hope that when all is said and done I can continue to say, with Lehi, that I have chosen the good part.

Today I am going to take some time to play outside with our daughter.  Yesterday she wanted so bad to play outside, but I had so much to do I didn’t have time.  As President Monson has often said, though, it is important to take time to play with and enjoy our children.  So, today I will make time.

Have you chosen the good part?  What choices have you made that affect where you are today? What choices will you make for tomorrow?

Sow A Habit

Reading: “Good Habits Develop Good Character,” Delbert L. Stapley, Ensign, Nov 1974

One often quoted poem (also quoted in Elder Stapleys talk) states:

Sow a thought, reap an action,

Sow an action, reap a habit,

Sow a habit, reap character,

Sow a character, reap a destiny.

Today, as I was reflecting on how I can keep up with my goals over time, I observed that a main goal is to establish them as ingrained habits.  Once they are habits, it is a lot easier to keep up doing the same thing every day because it takes less effort.

Elder Stapley had a lot to say about how good habits influence our “destiny.”  He said,

Our great challenge is to learn how to control ourselves. We must learn for ourselves and act for ourselves, being careful not to follow those who are not divinely led. We have a responsibility to thwart the work of the evil one—not to aid or perpetuate his cause by yielding to his enticements to sin.

Habits can be difficult to establish.  I remember at one time in my life I felt that I needed to do a lot better at saying prayers before meals.  I worked very hard at it.  After a while, I no longer needed to think about it because it was so ingrained as a habit.

Today I am going to put up a little chart from a site, Joe’s Goals, which helps you to keep track of goals.  This means you will be able to see how many of my goals I’ve done in the past few days.  In the past I’ve avoided doing this publicly because it seemed like bragging if I was doing well, and embarassing if I was doing poorly.  However, since I don’t believe there’s a ton of people who visit this site every day anyway, those worries aren’t so much of a problem on this blog.  🙂 It will be just enough of a motivator to help me keep my attention on whether I am working on my goals every single day. [EDIT: My goals can now be viewed on the right sidebar underneath recent posts. ]

How do you establish habits?  What good habits have you established in the past are now helping you?

Keeping Your Eye on the Ball

Reading: “Life’s Lessons Learned,” by Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, Ensign, May 2007

Now that Christmas is over, it is that time of year when we are lead to look back on the past year, and also look forward and plan what we would like the next year to be like.

In this talk Elder Wirthlin, who passed away at the beginning of this month, talks about some formative experiences in his life.  He observes that it was his continual commitment to the most important things that kept him on course in his life.  He says,

I urge you to examine your life. Determine where you are and what you need to do to be the kind of person you want to be. Create inspiring, noble, and righteous goals that fire your imagination and create excitement in your heart. And then keep your eye on them. Work consistently towards achieving them.

This year as I have been thinking about all the goals I would like to have, I realized that there are more than I can accomplish realistically.  I’d like to keep my house cleaner, become more educated, be more patient, be healthier, and do all the little things I think I should be doing.  If I were to try to do all of it at once, I would probably fail.

So, instead, I decided to focus on a few small things that I feel are most important.  These include being more patient and loving with my family, saying prayers every morning and night, reading my scriptures, writing in my journal, and following the promptings of the Spirit.  Then, I’ll just turn all of that other stuff over to the Lord and have faith that he will be better able to help me improve in those other areas than I could do on my own.

This is my version of “keeping my eye on the ball” for right now.  How do you keep your eyes on what is most important as you work to improve yourself?