We had the Mormon missionaries over for dinner last night (I include the word “over” so that you don’t assume that they were on the menu) and Elder Norton gave a little presentation about not looking back but moving forward with faith to become what we want to become. Elder Shira expressed that the Gospel is simple. Coming to Christ and inviting others to do the same is all there is to it. We’re all on the same journey.
What do these callow youths know about it?
After 56 years of practice surely, I can make it much more complicated. Here’s a step by step way to choose what personal changes the new year will bring to you.
- Decide who or what you want to be. Choose the strengths and talents you most want to possess. I’m not talking casual admiration, I’m talking genuine desire. A patient parent? Sober? Healthier? A hard worker? Full of Faith? Diligence? Learning to recognize and respond to the promptings from the Holy Spirit? Chaste? Educated? A scriptorian? A disciple of Christ? Charitable? Generous?Cheerful? Confident? Out of debt? Thrifty? Healthier?
- Determine what behaviors will cause you to become the person you want to be.
- Identify the behaviors in your life that can or do interfere with that quality you want most. Remove temptation as much as possible.
- Set a specific time and place each day when you will BE your new and improved self. The specificity of the behavior, time and place will determine success. The more specific, the more success. The behavior must be a positive, measurable action. For example: If you want to be rid of your problem of backbiting, the goal isn’t to ‘avoid backbiting’ because it isn’t measurable and it isn’t specific. Instead, choose to identify the person that’s bugging you or that you’re jealous of, or that you’re tempted to hate. Your plan will be to pray for them to receive the help they need and to feel our Heavenly Father’s love. You might also ask for yourself to think kindly of them. It’s very hard to say or even think mean things about others when you’re starting your day praying for them. Another example: If you want better health, your goal may be to stop overeating or stop smoking. But those are negative ideas. Instead your goal is to reach for a chew a stick of cinnamon gum when you’re tempted to smoke or to eat apple slices when you have a yen for sweets. It also might involve getting a kitchen scale, ($5 online) and weighing portions before you partake.
- Pray for help in becoming your new and improved self. Promise the Lord that you will be diligent in keeping to the plan He has inspired you to create.
- Just do it. Everyday. (You might need to pray for reminders at first)
- Take Elder Norton’s advice. Don’t look back. Only look forward. Succeed each new day, each new week, each month and each year.
- Review your success with your loving Heavenly Father each evening before you go to sleep. Your heart will fill up with gratitude as you recognize His hands helping you to become the person you desire to be.
SEE? I told you I could write a dissertation on a simple concept. But then again, reducing it to its parts:
Identify positive behaviors that will lead to success.
Plan the time for success each day.
Return and report.