The world around us is full of opportunities. The hard part is choosing the right opportunities for us. How many times do you have to choose between two good things? Will trying them all make you truly happy or which opportunities will get you where you truly should be? On the other hand, we sometimes fear the opportunities and the possibility of failure, which will stop our progress. So how do we balance our thoughts and our desire, so that we can make better choices that can lead us to our true purpose?
Here are 10 steps to help achieve your potential:
1. Make a Goal Book
Make long-term goals and write them down
a. Write your own eulogy and ask yourself how have I contributed to the human race? What do I want said about me at this time?
b. Write down the daily steps needed to accomplish the goal.
c. Add this free download to in your goal book and use it as a checklist.
First, think about your life and set your priorities. Find some quiet time regularly to think deeply about where you are going and what you will need to do to get there…Write down the tasks you would like to accomplish each day. Keep foremost in mind the sacred covenants you have made with the Lord as you write down your daily schedules.
2. View Every Struggle as a New Lease on Life
Sometimes we make wrong choices, but we don’t have to let them define us. I love this quote from Oprah:
There are no mistakes . . . because you have a supreme destiny. . . . When . . . you are not centered [in love and] you really don't know who you are, that you come from something greater and bigger and that we really are all the same. When you don’t know that, you get . . . flustered [and] you get stressed . . . wanting something to be what it isn’t. [We all have our] supreme . . . destiny . . . Your job is to [fulfill that destiny].
Yet, it all may lead to our full purpose; only you and God can decide that. When we understand all things can lead to our purpose then stumbling blocks, such as a bad day, poor grade, or angry family member, can be another step forward.
It is really about upping your game, not necessarily changing all of that.
What advice would you give yourself 5 or even 10 years ago? How does that determine your future self? When all we have is the present, all we can do is set in motion the steps to accomplish our purpose. And then we realize the largest obstacle in our way is our disappointment in our progress. To that, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland counseled:
My brothers and sisters, except for Jesus, there have been no flawless performances on this earthly journey we are pursuing, so while in mortality let’s strive for steady improvement without obsessing over what behavioral scientists call 'toxic perfectionism’…every one of us aspires to a more Christlike life than we often succeed in living. If we admit that honestly and are trying to improve, we are not hypocrites; we are human.
Christ shows us how to deal with setbacks:
1. Jesus went unto the mount of Olives.
2. And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them.
3. And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,
4. They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.
5. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?
6. This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.
7. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
8. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
9. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
10. When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?
11. She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
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3. Be Your True Self—Don’t Believe in Perfection, Only in Progress
Define your principles and live them, no matter what. Write your principles in your goal book. This one sounds simple, yet when you have worked all day on little or no sleep, someone chewed you out unjustly, it’s 10 p.m. and you have a lot more work to do before tomorrow, it can be a hard thing to choose to live your principles still. Choosing to live your principles under stress is one of the hardest goals to accomplish, but the most rewarding. It is like a muscle that, once exercised, becomes stronger and with enough exercise you become unstoppable. President Russell M. Nelson said, “let us do the best we can and try to improve each day. When our imperfections appear, we can keep trying to correct them. We can be more forgiving of flaws in ourselves and among those we love. We can be comforted and forbearing.” While we may not be everything we want to be now, the Lord has encouraged us to “continue in patience until [we] are perfected” (D&C 67:13). It is one step at a time.
4. Don’t Wait
Don’t wait until the perfect time to do what you have dreamed about doing. Make your dreams part of your goals and start now. My grandmother saved for years to purchase just the right linens and dishes for special company but would not use them for every-day use. One summer a fire ripped through her town and she lost them all. We may never lose our dreams in a fire but we can easily lose our dreams through neglect or waiting until the time is right. While talking about faith, Elder Dieter F. Utchdorf shared a principle just as applicable here, “Let us not wait too long on our road to Damascus. Instead, let us courageously move forward in faith, hope, and charity, and we will be blessed with the light we are all seeking.”
5. Do What You Love, Improve Your Talents
Due to the required parts of life, i.e. bills, chores, laundry, we get too involved in the busy stuff in our lives and we forget the real reason why we live. The best way to separate them is to clarify our purpose. President Dallin H. Oaks gave us some guidance on how to do this. He said, “consider how we use our time in the choices we make…not everything…is worth the portion of our life we give to obtain it. Some things are better, and others are best.” If money and time were not an issue, what would you choose to do? Research the possibilities, discuss them with your Father in Heaven, and add your new goal to your goal book. Spend at least 15 minutes a day on learning about and moving toward your goals.
6. Be Compassionate, Empathetic, and Service-Oriented
Lifting another person also lifts you. Give everyone a blessing, whether it is out loud or in your heart. You would be amazed how your life internalizes the good feelings when you give a blessing to every person you pass during the day. Service is the best remedy for most of what ails this world; even if they don’t deserve it, you deserve the rewards from it. Serve others. After all, that’s what we covenanted to do when we were baptized. We should be “willing to bear one another’s burdens…mourn with those that mourn...and comfort those that stand in need of comfort” (Mosiah 18:8-9) as well, we are commanded to “Love [our] enemies, do good to them which hate you” (Luke 6:27) and “love one another, as [Christ loves us]” (John 13:34). Read more about living in an antisocial society.
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7. Let Go of the Past, Live in the Present
We can’t change the past and the future is always just out of reach. We can only influence the present. This may be why President Thomas S. Monson encouraged us to “Learn from the past. Prepare for the future. Live in the present.” What do you want the present to be? Read more about finding the path to health and peace.
8. Spend Time with Loved Ones
You become like the people that you engage with. What kind of life do you want and what kind of person do you want to be? Add that to your goal book.
9. Leave Everything Better Than You Found It.
“Every day do something that will inch you closer to a better tomorrow.” - Doug Firebaugh
the way you treat a person today will determine how you will treat them tomorrow. If you are rude and condescending today it will be easier to do the same tomorrow. If you choose to be compassionate today it will be easier to be compassionate tomorrow.
10. Practice Gratitude and Express It.
“And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?” (Alma 5:26). President Thomas S. Monson said, “Do we remember to give thanks for the blessings we receive? Sincerely giving thanks not only helps us recognize our blessings, but it also unlocks the doors of heaven and helps us feel God’s love.”
Let us not forget the joys and happiness around us and take the next right step. If you feel you could use some help to be your best self, please reach out.
Click here for a free download to help you choose the best road and find the balance you need in your goals and life.
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