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Change your life: New Year, new goals

We all have the best intentions to commit to our resolutions — until Jan. 3, when the gym empties, the cookies go on sale and reality sets in again.

According to an April 1987 conference talk given by President M. Russell Ballard, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve, keeping all of life’s demands in balance can be a real problem. So, it is important to regularly take time to review daily demands, establish priorities, pray for divine guidance and set short-term goals.

“Just do the very best you can each day,” President Ballard said. “Do the basic things and, before you realize it, your life will be full of purpose and meaning, making balance easier to maintain.”

Finding purpose and meaning to life can be a constant commitment, but each new year brings the opportunity to renew our commitment and continue the search. Students at BYU-Idaho can follow Elder Ballard’s counsel by setting New Year’s resolutions and recognize the benefits of balance.

“Start simple,” said Dalete Araujo, a sophomore studying communication. “Simple accomplishments will help you feel more confident. Then, once you accomplish them, you can add new things.”

Joseph Whiting, a senior studying communication, said he finds meaning and purpose in his life when making new year’s resolutions focused on “healing deep underlying tendencies.”

Preach My Gospel” teaches that considering goals carefully and reviewing them often gives people clear direction and success. It also teaches that challenging goals help people work effectively and lead them to stretch and grow.

The goal-setting tool “SMART” stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. It helps people set and succeed in challenging goals by encouraging them to define objectives and establish specific completion dates.

Specific: Set clear goals and outline steps that will allow each goal to be accomplished.

Measurable: Track progress frequently to stay focused and motivated.

Achievable: Each goal should stretch one’s abilities, but still remain realistic.

Relevant: Is the goal worthwhile? Does it align with other goals previously set?

Time-bound: Set a start and an end date.

“I set a New Year’s resolution to never end the day without having resolved any bad vibes or feelings I might’ve had between anyone,” said Abel Garmon, a junior majoring in interdisciplinary studies. “I wasn’t perfect at it, but I kept trying.”

Staying close to family and friends can also keep individuals accountable to their goals by increasing their motivation, persistence and overall happiness.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints conducted a study in which participants reported times when they felt very happy and motivated. The participants then identified instances when they felt sad and discouraged. Most of them reported that their personal relationships influenced their happiness and motivation the most.

“I tell others my goals so they can help keep me accountable,” said Anna Daniels-Brown, a freshman majoring in general studies. “Doing this helps me stick to them and succeed.”

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, said it is OK to fall short of the finish line. He promised that as individuals continue their journey, they will become greater than when they started.

“While goal-setting is a great stepping stone, there’s no need to give up when we don’t achieve every goal,” said Kennady Bekmezian, a sophomore majoring in general studies. “Our best is more than enough because our greatest competition is our past self.”

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