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How to Set Goals Like a Mormon Missionary

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Latter-day Saint missionaries around the world are taught important goal-setting principles. Missionaries set daily, weekly, and monthly goals. They create personal goals and companionship goals. Goals are set as districts, zones, and missions. Indeed, goals help drive the work of God forward.

Whether you served a mission or would simply like to learn how to set goals like a Mormon missionaries, these easy-to-implement ideas will start you on the right path.

The Spiritual Aspect of Setting Goals

A woman clasps her hands, closes her eyes, and prays.

Goals, when properly made, reflect more than just what we want to eventually achieve. Consider this quote from Preach My Gospel:

Goals reflect the desires of our hearts and our vision of what we can accomplish. Through goals and plans, our hopes are transformed into action. Goal setting and planning are acts of faith.

No matter the focus of your goals, make it a spiritual experience through pondering and prayer. Include God in your planning; allow your faith in the grace of Jesus Christ to give you hope in what you can accomplish. Ask God what he thinks of the goals you set.

What Makes a Goal Successful?

A successful goal is one that leads you closer to a fulfilling life centered on gospel principles. Use the following points from Preach My Gospel to see if your goals are designed to bring you success.

  • Goals give you “clear direction.” When you look at your goals, can you see a clear path from where you are to where you want to be? Do you see how your current goal will move you forward.
  • Goals “will help you fill your days” with good activities. Your goals should include action items you consistently work on.
  • We don’t want to set impossible goals that will discourage us. However, goals should stretch us in healthy ways. “Challenging goals will help you work effectively and lead you to stretch and grow.”

Heavenly Father doesn’t us to fail. As we strive to follow the Spirit, we will be inspired on which goals to set and how to see them through.

Achieving Goals

Goals are powerful tools. However, we can take things too far and become obsessive. If we hold too tightly to exact numbers or results, we lose the opportunity to adapt as the spirit directs. Here a few things to keep in mind as you strive to achieve your goals:

  • Respect the agency of others. Missionaries learn to focus on what they can control when setting goals. Don’t infringe upon the choices of those around you in pursuit of your goals.
  • Don’t set goals to receive recognition. Christ-centered goals are not meant to bring us glory or fame, but “are a means of helping you bring about much good among Heavenly Father’s children.”
  • Focus on the spiritual outcomes. It always feels good to achieve our goals and it is easy to become discouraged and discontent when we don’t. Remembering the purpose behind goals will help us measure our success in a health way. “The ultimate measure of success is not in achieving goals alone but in the service you render and the progress of others.”

You can get a free goal worksheet here designed with LDS members in mind. You’ll get a sheet to create a goal and a printable quote from Church leaders to inspire you. 

Commitment & Accountability

Preach My Gospel invites missionary companionships to ask: “Are we committed to this goal?”

This is a great question to ask yourself and anyone you are setting goals with. Determine how you can remain committed and how you can be accountable to one another. Here are some thoughts on accountability from Preach My Gospel:

The principle of accountability is fundamental in God’s eternal plan. We will all stand before the Lord at the last judgment and give an accounting for what we have done with the opportunities He has given us. The principle of accountability will bless you if you…approach your goal setting and planning with the idea that you will account for your efforts.

Ask a Missionary!

Two elder missionaries in Bulgaria sitting next to an elderly man in his home as they read scriptures together.

The missionaries serving in your area would love to help you learn more about goal setting. Invite them to your home and have them teach you a lesson about goals. Invite them for help in setting some spiritual goals. Missionaries work everyday with people around the world to help them progress in God’s plan for them. Utilize the missionaries near you.

A Final Thought

This quote from Elder M. Russell Ballard from Preach My Gospel is well-known to missionaries and encapsulates goal setting:

I am so thoroughly convinced that if we don’t set goals in our life and learn how to master the techniques 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. When one learns to master the principles of setting a goal, he will then be able to make a great difference in the results he attains in this life.


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Aleah Ingram
Aleah Ingram
Aleah is a graduate of Southern Virginia University, where she studied English, Creative Writing, and Dance. She now works full time as a marketing and product manager, writer, and editor. Aleah served a mission in California and loves baking, Lang Leav poetry, Gaynor Minden pointe shoes, and Bollywood movies.

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