Have a dream, and make it come true. Life is more exciting when you have something you’re working toward. Remember these things when you’re setting goals:
Keep your goals realistic. Your esteem will suffer if your goals are so high they’re impossible to attain. Set some little goals. The more you reach, the better you’ll feel about yourself.
Share your goals with a friend, and encourage that person to set some too. That way you can motivate and applaud each other.
Be committed to your goals. Do what you have to to achieve them, and don’t become discouraged if they’re challenging to reach.
Don’t compete with those around you. Compete with yourself. Don’t make your goals depend on the good or bad performance of others. Decide to attain a certain level of personal excellence, no matter what others achieve.
Share your goals with Heavenly Father. Talk to him in prayer. Let him help you reach your goal, or help you understand why you didn’t. He’ll help you feel good about the positive things you achieve.
Not Just the Same Old Thing
Boredom, monotony, routine—they can make our lives seem dull and make us seem tiresome to others. That doesn’t do much for the old self-esteem. So why not break out of the old habit and experience something new? Expand!
Try something different. Go somewhere in your town you’ve never been before. Take a class. Listen to a different radio station. Read a different type of book. Do something with a new friend.
Try something productive: Plant something. Learn to cook something. Build something. Write a letter to someone.
Try learning something new. Pick a topic that interests you, and start collecting information on it. Read books and magazines on the subject. Talk to people who are involved in it.
Try volunteering. You would not believe how many needs there are in your community. Go down to city hall and ask what they need help with. Or go to your bishop and ask what special needs are in the ward.
Try being creative. Pick an art—any art, and have a go at it. There are usually community classes that can help you or new classes in school. And you can always check out books from the library to get you started.
Try a new relationship. Make friends with someone much older or much younger than you—or with someone close to your own age who has different interests.
Try changing your environment. Move your bedroom furniture around. Offer to help your mom paint the living room. Even rearranging your locker or cleaning out your drawers can make you feel good.
Get a Life
Do your little flaws bother you? Can hair that didn’t go quite right wreck your whole day? News flash! The small things that you dislike about yourself probably go unnoticed by those around you. Forget about them by seeing if you can—
Shift the focus to others. Don’t dwell on yourself, but look for the good points in those around you. Point those good points out. The more you give, the more you’ll have.
Concentrate on listening to others, and not just so you can prepare a response. You’ve been given two ears and one mouth, so try using your ears twice as much as your mouth.
Remember that the people you come in contact with are probably just as insecure as you are. Everyone is painfully aware of their weaknesses, so don’t, for a second, think that yours are necessarily worse than anyone else’s.
Melissa White has loved dance ever since she was two, when she saw her first ballet on television. But she had no idea what that love would lead to. While dancing in a local dance group’s production of West Side Story, Melissa made friends with newly baptized Monica Hall, who introduced Melissa to the gospel. Melissa began attending the Biloxi Second Ward, Gulfport Mississippi Stake, reading the Book of Mormon, and taking missionary discussions. It wasn’t long before she was baptized.
Since then many good things have happened to Melissa. She was selected to compete in the prestigious International Ballet Competition, held in Jackson, Mississippi, and her mother has gained enough interest from Melissa’s example to take the missionary discussions. Melissa’s life hasn’t been easy—her parents are divorced, and she’s lived with both, but she’s grateful for the guidance and encouragement the gospel has brought her.
A beauty contest for guys? Well sure, why not? It’s the custom at Springfield High School in Oregon, and last year the only three LDS contestants won first, second, and third places.
Eric Markworth of the Springfield Second Ward was crowned Mr. SHS. First runner-up was Kevin Jones, also of the Springfield Second Ward. Second runner-up was Johnny Gambee of Springfield First Ward. His sister Beth was the emcee for the event. The contestants were judged in formal wear, sportswear, and talent.
All four of the LDS students involved were early-morning seminary students, and all but Johnny, who is a junior, graduated from four years of seminary. That means the winner might have to crown himself next year. The previous winner and first runner-up will be on missions.
“How do you spell that?”
Jennifer Gasson, of the Cheyenne Fourth Ward, Cheyenne Wyoming Stake, knows. She’s been placing in both county and state spelling competitions for the last three years. She also places high in the written part of the competitions.
Jennifer is currently the first counselor in her Beehive class presidency. She’s an excellent pianist, good in school, and a great friend.
The youth of the Poway California Stake weren’t exactly thrilled when they heard their youth conference would consist mainly of painting and planting, but by the time the testimony meeting at the end rolled around, it was obvious that it turned out to be one of the best conferences ever.
About 220 young people descended on Julian, a small town within their stake, to plant 100 seven-foot liquidambar trees and paint the exterior of the United Methodist Church, where the LDS branch leases space for its services. They knew that by planting the trees, they were helping clean the southern California air. A tree can consume as much as 50 pounds of smog per year.
Inspirational speakers, a spiritual slide and music presentation, and a dance were part of the conference as well. And it all cost one-tenth of the previous year’s conference.
It’s always impressive to graduate from high school as the class valedictorian and earn an Eagle Scout Award, but when you do it by the age of 13, it’s nothing short of amazing. That’s exactly what Clark Taylor, of the El Paso 11th Ward, El Paso Texas Stake, did.
Clark also plays the violin and piano, providing the music for his ward’s Sunday School opening exercises. In addition, he serves as president of his deacons quorum. He plans on serving a mission when he is 19, and has saved a good deal of the money for it already. In the meantime, Clark is attending Snow College in Ephraim, Utah, as its youngest student.
An entire Scout troop, ten members strong, recently received their Eagle Scout awards all on the same night. Family and friends from the Redding Fifth Ward, Redding California Stake, of which nine of the ten are members, looked on proudly.
The community was impressed, since the Scouts’ Eagle projects had helped to improve the area. They did everything from building and installing park benches to constructing signs and making a video for the American Cancer Society.
The Scouts made achieving Eagle status a real team effort. Those on the team were Nathan Allen, Matthew Hansen, Jared Harmon, Damion Hunter, Brad Huskey, Tony Irizarry, Luke Nihart, Rand Oertle, Tyler Oertle, and Geigh Rogerson. Their leaders were Bill Sutherland and James Allen.
Loren Marks really knows how to slam and cram. As a senior, he broke his school’s all-time basketball scoring record, was team captain, and was voted MVP multiple times. He was also vice president of his school’s chapter of the National Honor Society and has won an Elks’ scholarship and an essay contest that awarded him a trip to Washington, D.C.
Loren is a priest in the Brookings Ward, Coos Bay Oregon Stake. During high school, he also held down a full-time job at a local supermarket.
Matthew Lund of the Providence Second Ward, Providence Utah Stake, recently became the first Utahn ever to win a junior national weight-lifting title when he took first place at the championships held in Tucson, Arizona.
Matt, 18, was active during high school in debate, newspaper staff, jazz band, swimming, and the National Honor Society. He was also a student-body officer, president of the Letterman’s Club, and a four-year seminary graduate. He has won awards for guitar playing and likes boxing, rappeling, camping, running, and reading. Matt also served as first assistant in his priests quorum and is excited about serving a mission.
Sisters Jennifer and Haley Schilling of the Pontiac Ward, Grand Blanc Michigan Stake, each were honored with the Youth Recognition Award from the local Optimist Club. The award is annually given to outstanding students at each school.
Haley, an eighth grader, was selected because of her 4.0 grade point average and participation in many clubs and community activities. She loves music and writing and serves as president of her Beehive class.
Jennifer, as a senior at Rochester Adams High School, was a cosalutatorian of her class, and also studied voice, piano, and drama. She was Laurel class president and seminary president as well.