A New Opportunity

Elder Gonzalez

It is a great blessing to be able to start this year knowing that we are surrounded by extraordinary people like our brothers and sisters of the Caribbean Area. Wherever we go we find people of exceptional faith. It is our desire that the Lord continue to bless such outstanding people.

We should think of the new year as a new opportunity to increase our faith in our Heavenly Father and in His Son, Jesus Christ. We can use the eye of faith to see the fruits we are looking for this year. One of the ways we have to exercise faith is to set goals. Can we imagine the results of setting significant goals in our lives for 2018? Can we imagine the lessons we will learn in the process over the next 12 months? Can we imagine the joy we can feel as we reach these goals? Can we feel the joy we will receive by taking steps leading to greater goals?

Here are a couple of concepts that can help us in setting goals for 2018.

The first is to take into account that the goals we set must be goals that help us in the process of becoming. By imagining the future we can think of 'doing' in order to 'become.' For this reason, we are inviting all members of the Caribbean area to set goals based on personal needs and the priorities we have received from the prophets. For example, we can personally have goals regarding:

·       reading the Book of Mormon,

·       sharing the gospel with other,

·       improving in some aspect of our personality, or

·       achieving something with our education or the way we make a living.

We can also set goals related to prophetic priorities that revolve around:

·       sanctifying the Sabbath both in our home and in the Church, having it clear in our minds and hearts that attending sacrament meeting every Sunday is key to our efforts to make and keep the covenants we have with our Heavenly Father and his Son,

·       being worthy to have a temple recommend by keeping all the commandments including the law of chastity, the word of wisdom, and the payment of tithes and offerings, and

·       doing temple work for our ancestors.

The second concept is to set just a few goals and follow a simple plan to achieve them. Too many goals can be overwhelming and frustrating. We know that God delights in small and simple things. Once our goals are established, the plan must be very simple. A practical suggestion is to be able to answer in a few words questions such as:

·       Why? Understanding why we do things always gives us more power and strength to do them.

·       What? The answer to this question can give us principles that can be used to follow the plan.

·       How? It is always important to determine specific steps that should be taken to achieve the goal.

·       When? We should set dates to measure our efforts. And,

·       Who? The answer to this question should include a form of monitoring or verifying our progress.

I know that setting goals is a true principle that blesses us in our process of becoming who we really are. We can all grow in some aspect. We will all grow at different speeds, but we will grow as we strive to follow the example of the Savior. I testify that we can grow as the Savior grew by setting goals (Luke 2:52).