A new year is a perfect opportunity to rededicate ourselves as disciples of Jesus Christ. However, we can easily be overwhelmed with resolutions and goals that don’t stick. It can also be hard to set inspired goals that will truly bring us closer to the Savior.
Since we’re studying the Book of Mormon this year in our Come, Follow Me curriculum, we decided to offer up some ideas on how you can use the scriptures to set your New Year’s goals. We specifically looked at Alma 7:23. It reads:
And now I would that ye should be, and be and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long-suffering; being temperate in all things; being diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times; asking for whatsoever things ye stand in need, both spiritual and temporal; always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things ye do receive.
We broke down all of these beautiful attributes of the Savior and came up with some practical goal ideas. Do any of them resonate with you?
Preach My Gospel describes humility as a “willingness to submit to the will of the Lord. It is willingness to give Him the honor for what is accomplished. It is being teachable.”
Here are some goals to help you be more humble:
- At a regular interval, do an introspective examination with the Lord about your strengths and weaknesses.
- Pray to the Lord for guidance on what you can improve on and what is most needful for you to change in your life.
- Ask for more feedback and input in your Church callings and service.
- Practice active listening in your conversations with others, especially those you minister to.
Submissive and Gentle
When we hear the words submissive and gentle, we may correlate them with a lack of boundaries, not voicing our opinions, or allowing people to take advantage of us.
In the gospel context, being submissive and gentle is much different. It denotes a willingness to be changed and offering up grace to those striving to the same. It is often correlated with Christ’s admonition to become as little children.
Here are some goals to help you become more submissive and gentle:
- Start and end the day with a prayer that the will of the Lord will be done and that you can be an instrument in His hands.
- Visualize a situation, dream, or hardship you want to give to God. Place it on His altar, surrendering it to Him. Reflect on how this makes you feel and what you can do to increase trust in Him.
- Ask your ministering friends once a month how you can help them accomplish their spiritual goals. Be supportive as you strive to help others change.
Easy to Be Entreated
When someone entreats us, they are earnestly asking us to do something. When we are easily entreated, it means we willingly listen to the Lord and follow His counsel. We seek Him and are interested in what He has to say.
Try some of these goals to be more easily entreated:
- Each night in a journal, write down any spiritual promptings you have received that day. Ponder on if and how you acted on them, and what you’d like to do better the next day in following the promptings of the Lord.
- Create a 10-minute period each day where you will disconnect from the world and spend time pondering with God.
- Set a timer and wait for 5 minutes on your knees after finishing your prayers. Push through any uncomfortable silence and pay attention what thoughts come to your mind.
Full of Patience and Long-Suffering
Patience is “the capacity to trust God as you face delay, opposition, or suffering. Through your faith, you trust God’s timing for His promised blessings to be fulfilled.” Patience may be considered one of the hardest, but most necessary and useful virtue to try and develop.
Here are some goals to help you with patience:
- Write a list of times when God has led you through a trial or surprised you with what He has provided. Refer to this list when you feel fearful or overwhelmed.
- We live in a society that is all about instant gratification. Invite small habits or hobbies into your life that represent waiting, such as growing plants, wood carving, or baking.
- Write down the things you are grateful for each day. Ponder how God touched your life, no matter how small it might seem.
Temperate in All Things
Temperance means seeking moderation and balance. In our modern world, it is easy to go to extremes in many aspects of our life. We can consume too much or too little, whether it is food, technology, or other worldly desires. We can be extreme in our opinions, which can invite hardheartedness, pride, and contention. We can be extreme in our judgment. Temperance is also about self-control.
These goals are to help you be more temperate:
- Do you consume technology to an extreme? Make goals to unplug. Limit the hours on streaming sites. Don’t have your phone in your hand when you’re talking to someone. Figure out how technology may be negatively impacting your life and set a goal to fix it.
- We live in tumultuous times. Strive to be respectful of others and avoid contention, even as opinions and beliefs vary. Make a goal to reach out a hand of friendship to someone in your life who may be different than you.
Diligent in Keeping the Commandments of God
When we are diligent in keeping the commandments, we are steady, consistent, and energetic in our covenant walk with the Lord. We know we won’t be perfect in keeping the commandments, but we do our best and use our agency to make powerfully good decisions.
Here are a few ways you can be more diligent in keeping the commandments of God:
- Pick an area of practical discipleship you’d like to improve on, such as reading your scriptures, vising the temple, or ministering. Focus on being consistent in that area for set period of time, whether it is a week or month.
- Make a list of things that truly make you feel connected to God and that aren’t a chore for you to do. Focus on these things and ponder on how they are different from others.
- Repent daily by asking for forgiveness in prayer and reviewing your day with the Lord.
Asking for Whatsoever Things Ye Need
We can often feel hesitant in reaching out to the Lord. We should remember that He loves us and wants to know everything that is on our hearts, including our deepest desires and most pressing concerns. The Lord wants to be a place of safe-keeping for us. Asking for what we need is so important.
Here are some goals to help make this easier:
- Set reminders in your phones to have “be still moments” with God. Take these moments throughout the day to talk with God about how your day is going and how you’re feeling.
- Keep a prayer journal! Each night, write down what you need and what you’re grateful for. Use it as a reference during your prayer. Record your thoughts and feelings as you pray and ponder.
- If family prayer is daunting, try eliminating the clutter and distraction. Pick a time when everyone is there, a space that is clean and quiet, and have everyone put their electronics in one place until the prayer is over. If family members are far or traveling, use video conferencing or the telephone to include them.
Always Returning Thanks Unto God
We can show our love for the Lord by remembering His hand in our lives and expressing gratitude for what He gives us. The word “always” may feel overwhelming. How can we cultivate such an attitude of gratitude?
These goal ideas may help:
- We show our gratitude best when we share our blessings with others. Make a goal to serve those in need. You could make a contact goal for those you minister to, join a service organization, or strive to do one random act of kindness a day.
- Don’t limit your gratitude to the big things. Build a habit of telling God thank you for all the little things that occur throughout your day.
- Express gratitude to one person who has blessed your life each month. Write them a letter, treat them to something, or give them a call.
As we strive to build a holy character through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can gain more peace and understanding as we walk the covenant path.