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It’s almost February, but let’s be honest, I haven’t even set goals yet. I always struggle with the New Year, because I never seem to be able to think of worth-while goals. Yet, there’s an ernest part of me that loves the idea of goal setting and the feeling of accomplishment it can bring. However, there’s another negative Nancy part of me that says I never accomplish my goals and it will just be disappointing.

We all probably share a few life-time goals, namely, returning to our Father in Heaven. Why is it that that goal is so easy to keep in our minds? I believe that it’s easy, in part, because we are constantly reminding ourselves of that goal. We go to Church every week and are reminded by the ordinances there of what we are trying to accomplish. We have mutual lessons on returning to Him. We have art in our homes that reminds us of the real purpose in life: returning to Him.

What if normal goal setting were like that? What if we constantly reminded ourselves of the goals we have set, rather than setting a goal in the New Year on a piece of paper that we can’t find until three years later?

Here are three simple ways we can rethink goal setting.

  1. The word of the year

One year, for Family Home Evening, my parents printed out six words: Prayer, Faith, Kindness, Service, Study, Hope. We talked about the importance of the words, and then each member of the family chose one word that they would focus on for that year. We taped the word to our mirrors so that we could remember every day what we wanted to focus on. For you, these words don’t have to focus on the gospel, although they certainly can. You could pick self confidence, cleanliness, or even be present (as in putting down your phone and focusing on those around you).

2. Category setting

One of the things I prefer to do is set a goal in three simple categories: The Gospel, Personal, and Family. I think one of the problems I run into each New Year is that there are so many things I want to improve. Setting unrealistic goals is only going to end in letting go of those goals by February. By choosing one thing in three different categories, I feel like I can more easily accomplish the goals. So for example, I could choose for my gospel goal to read at least one verse of the Book of Mormon a day. In my personal goal, I could choose to walk for 20 minutes a day. And for my Family goal, I could choose to make sure  that we have morning family prayer.

3. Weekly setting

Sometimes, I think the problem with New Year’s goals is that a year is a long time to remember something. You probably set goals everyday of what you want to accomplish, and that’s probably pretty easy to keep track of and to accomplish. What if we did that week by week? That way, not only are goals fresh in our mind, but if we don’t do as well as we would like one week, we can simply retry the next week.

I think the big key to goal setting and accomplishment is to keep them in a place where you will see them. However you set goals, write them down and put them on your bathroom mirror, because you know you’ll see that everyday. Even though it’s nearly February, don’t feel like you can’t set goals now. It’s always a good time to improve yourself.

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