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How can setting goals help me become self-reliant?

Meaningful goals and careful planning can help us achieve the work the Lord has for us to do. Setting our own goals for our lives is an important part of becoming self-reliant. It involves more than just wishing or dreaming. As President Thomas S. Monson has taught: “Wishing will not make it so. The Lord expects our thinking. He expects our action. He expects our labors. He expects our testimonies. He expects our devotion” (“To the Rescue,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2001, 49). When we plan prayerfully and work diligently to achieve our goals, the Lord magnifies our efforts and helps us reach our potential.

Prepare yourself spiritually

Prayerfully study these scriptures and other resources. What will help the youth learn the importance of setting goals to become self-reliant?

1 Kings 18:21; Matthew 6:24 (We cannot serve two masters)

Philippians 3:13–14 (We can reach for our goals and press forward toward them)

2 Nephi 32:9 (We should seek the Lord’s guidance in everything we do)

Alma 34:32–33 (This life is the time to prepare to meet God)

D&C 58:27–29 (We should be anxiously engaged in good causes)

Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “The Power of a Personal Testimony,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2006, 37–39

L. Tom Perry, “Raising the Bar,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2007, 46–49

How to Set Goals,” Preach My Gospel (2004), 146

Video: “A Work in Progress”

Make connections

During the first few minutes of every class, help the youth make connections between what they are learning in various settings (such as personal study, seminary, other Church classes, or experiences with their friends). How can you help them see the relevance of the gospel in daily living? The ideas below might help:

  • Invite the youth to share experiences they have had recently that reinforced a gospel truth they have been learning about.
  • Share with the youth some of the goals you have set for yourself throughout your life. Include both long-term and short-term goals. Explain how you decided to set those goals, what you did to achieve them, and how your efforts blessed your life. Encourage the youth to share similar experiences of their own.

Learn together

Each of the activities below can help the youth become more self-reliant by learning how to set personal goals. Following the guidance of the Spirit, select one or more that will work best for your class:

  • Assign half of the class to read President Dieter F. Uchtdorf’s story about learning English (from his talk “The Power of a Personal Testimony”), and assign the other half to read Elder L. Tom Perry’s story about his son practicing high jumping (from his talk “Raising the Bar”). Ask the youth to summarize their assigned stories for the rest of the class and explain what they learned from the stories about setting goals. Invite them to share any similar stories from their own lives. How will they apply what they learn from these stories to be more effective in setting and achieving their goals?
  • Ask the youth some of the goals they have and why it is important to have goals. Invite them to read “How to Set Goals” in Preach My Gospel (page 146), looking for reasons goals are important, and ask them to share what they find. With the bishop’s permission, invite the full-time missionaries or a recently returned missionary to explain the importance of setting goals in missionary work. How can learning how to set goals now help the youth become better missionaries? Consider inviting other ward members to discuss with the youth the importance of setting goals in other phases of life.
  • Invite the youth to list the goals they have for themselves. Review with the youth the guidelines for setting goals on page 146 of Preach My Gospel. Which of these guidelines would help the youth accomplish the goals they listed? Invite them to choose one of their goals and write down ways they will apply these guidelines to help them accomplish that goal. Invite a few of them to share what they have written.
  • Ask the youth to read Doctrine and Covenants 58:27–29, and invite them to make a list of goals they would like to set that will help them “be anxiously engaged in a good cause” and “bring to pass much righteousness.” Encourage them to share their lists with another class member and explain what they are doing or can do now to accomplish those goals. Invite them to read the additional scriptures suggested in this outline and share any insights they gain from these scriptures about setting goals.
  • Show the video “A Work in Progress,” and give the youth a few minutes to write down what they learn from the video about setting and achieving goals. Invite them to share their thoughts with the class. Why did Tyler choose to pursue his goal to serve a mission, even though it meant interrupting his goal to play basketball? (As part of this discussion, you may want to read 1 Kings 18:21 and Matthew 6:24.) Ask the youth to think of something they are passionate about. Have they ever had to choose between that thing and another worthy goal? What do they learn from Tyler’s example?

Ask the youth to share what they learned today. Do they understand how to set personal goals? Do they have any additional questions? Would it be worthwhile to spend more time on this topic?

Invite to act

Ask the youth what they feel inspired to do based on what they learned today. Encourage them to act on these feelings. Consider ways you can follow up.