Get Up and Goal

We won’t achieve our desires, either in development of talents or in life itself, by accident. While life will ultimately take us to our final destination, it is planning that helps determine whether that destination is the one we wanted. The right kinds of goals might make the difference.

But how do we set goals? First, we can use what business experts refer to as all level planning. This means that everyone involved in working toward the goals is involved in setting them. Setting family goals, for example, should be done not only by all of the adults, but by everyone old enough to talk.

The way to begin is on a realistic level. We want to tie our far-reaching goals to everyday life with a line of lesser goals and use these to build a ladder to success.

A very useful evaluation list was given at a recent business seminar. It applies just as neatly to a family as to a corporation:

1. Where are we now?

2. Where are we going as we are?

3. Where do we want to go?

4. What may get us there?

5. When can we expect to arrive?

6. Who is responsible for the work?

7. What resources will it take?

8. Can we do it?

To be of any value, these questions, especially the first two, require bluntly honest answers.

We need to face ourselves and our families as we really are, not as we would like to imagine that we are or even as others think we are.

In answering these questions, we may find that at first the replies to questions four and seven might not be obvious. A useful tool in answering these questions is a task list. Imagine, for example, that we have decided as a family to refinish the basement together. To construct a task list, we simply write down everything that needs to be done, every detail no matter how small, add how long we think each will take and how much we think each will cost. The list itself answers question four. Adding up the times gives the answer to question five. Delegating the tasks takes care of question six. And adding up the costs fills in question seven.

This technique applies equally well to personal, less temporal goals such as developing talents or preparing for a temple marriage.

Working on goals can sometimes be discouraging, so you may find it a good idea to share even personal goals with the whole family. Doing so puts that good old-fashioned booster, morale, to work. Family home evening is a great time for cheering each other on.

If we sort our activities, make decisions, establish priorities, and set measurable goals, using delegation and morale to help us along, then we have paved a broad, clear path to our grand eternal goals. All that remains is to follow it. Victoria W. Romney, Princeton Junction, New Jersey

[illustrations] Illustrated by Phyllis Luch

Navigating Financial Torrents: A Self-Quiz

Surviving today’s economic times can be difficult. But it can be done. The key is to save and spend more efficiently. To discover how efficient you are, try answering the following questions.

  1. 1.

    Most people “pay” themselves (through savings) last. Do you?

    • A.

      No

    • B.

      Sometimes

    • C.

      Yes

  2. 2.

    Have you projected a realistic program of budgeting and saving with your husband or wife?

    • A.

      Yes

    • B.

      We are working on one

    • C.

      No

  3. 3.

    Have you ever sought wise counsel on budgeting, saving, or increasing family income?

    • A.

      Yes

    • B.

      I’ve read a book or article about it

    • C.

      No

  4. 4.

    In today’s shaky economy, should you consider buying a house?

    • A.

      Yes

    • B.

      I’m not sure

    • C.

      No

  5. 5.

    Have you stored a year’s supply of food?

    • A.

      Yes

    • B.

      A few months

    • C.

      No

  6. 6.

    Do you spend less than 10 percent of your annual income via credit cards?

    • A.

      Definitely yes

    • B.

      I’m a little over 10%

    • C.

      Over 15%

  7. 7.

    Have you heard of zero-based budgeting now implemented in many business and government agencies?

    • A.

      Yes

    • B.

      I think so

    • C.

      No

  8. 8.

    Circle each money-saving rule that you consistently follow:

    • Compare prices

    • Read current consumer articles

    • Buy quality used items when possible

    • Budget gift-giving

    • Shop with a list

    • Review receipts for errors

    • Consume less gasoline

    • Weatherize home

To evaluate your score, award yourself two points for each “A” answer, one point for each “B” answer, and none for each “C” answer. To score question ten, give yourself one point for each item that you circled. Then total all points.

Generally, scores above eighteen points distinguish you as a great family financial planner.

A total between six and eighteen suggests that you have found some pathways through these turbulent times but need to try more approaches. Read a few of the excellent priesthood and Relief Society lessons and past Ensign articles dealing with family preparedness.

A score below six points simply means that you have not yet discovered the many means that alert financial managers are using to reduce financial stress.

Whatever your score, take heart! Talk with wise people, get some sound advice, and remember—the sky is the limit! And as Presiding Bishop Victor L. Brown has said: “The LDS family that develops … family preparedness will experience serenity in the midst of upheaval, security in the midst of uncertainty, and sustenance in the midst of want.” (Ensign, Nov. 1975, p. 115.) Eric Stephan, Provo, Utah, and Jan Adam Stephan, Orem, Utah

Save the Tomatoes!

Every fall as the temperatures near freezing at our New Mexico home, we are faced with a large crop of green tomatoes. Not wanting to be wasteful, we gather them in and ripen them in stacked, uncontaminated antifreeze boxes. These boxes are quite strong and can be stacked six-high, safely and neatly. (Auto parts stores in most parts of the United States are quite willing to give you these empty boxes.) With a little work, they become convenient tomato ripeners.

Leaving the top and bottom of the box intact, cut a large hole on each side, leaving 2 1/2 to 3 inches at each corner for support. (A single-edge razor knife makes the cutting easier.) With its four “windows” cut out, one unit is now complete.

Place a single layer of green tomatoes on the inside bottom of the box. (Remember to place the stem-end down; they will ripen better this way.) Repeat the procedure with the other boxes until you have all your tomatoes cared for; the boxes can then be stacked on top of each other. We place a pad of newspapers under the box in contact with the floor, although we have had no spoilage using this method.

One big advantage of this method is that it isn’t difficult to check the ripening progress frequently and use them as they ripen. Linda Zollinger, San Miguel, New Mexico