He starts by telling us the difference between a goal and a plan.
- Some have difficulty differentiating between a goal and a plan until they learn that a goal is a destination or an end, while a plan is the route by which you get there.
He shares that the perfect example of goals and a plan has been given to us by our Heavenly Father.
Elder Ballard breaks down the goal process by explaining we need short term and long term goals to achieve our ultimate plan.
- Wise goal setting includes the understanding that short-term goals are only effective if they lead to clearly understood longer-term goals. I believe that one important key to happiness is to learn how to set our own goals and establish our own plans within the framework of our Heavenly Father’s eternal plan. If we focus on this eternal path, we will inevitably qualify to return to His presence.
He speaks about making the goals simple and focused. He shares that his thoughts are best focused on the proper goals when he breaks them down to a couple words. The words he uses are return and receive.
- Experts on goal setting tell us that the simpler and more straightforward a goal is, the more power it will have. When we can reduce a goal to one clear image or one or two powerful and symbolic words, that goal can then become part of us and guide virtually everything we think and do. I believe that there are two words that, in this context, symbolize God’s goals for us and our most important goals for ourselves. The words are return and receive.
- To return to His presence and to receive the eternal blessings that come from making and keeping covenants are the most important goals we can set.
- We return and receive by having “unshaken faith in [the Lord Jesus Christ], relying wholly upon” His merits, pressing “forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men [and women] … , feasting upon the word of Christ, and endur[ing] to the end.”
Results of centering our lives and goals on the Savior allow us to receive the full effects of the atonement in our lives.
- As we increase our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ’s power to give rest unto our souls by forgiving sins, redeeming imperfect relationships, healing the spiritual wounds that stifle growth, and strengthening and enabling us to develop the attributes of Christ, we will more deeply appreciate the magnitude of the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ.
To achieve the full effects of the atonement into our lives, our focus needs to be on the Savior and His plan for us.
- We must keep the doctrine and gospel of Jesus Christ at the center of our goals and plans. Without Him, no eternal goal is possible, and our plans to achieve our eternal goals will surely fail.
Elder Ballard concludes with his testimony.
- I testify there is no greater goal in mortality than to live eternally with our Heavenly Parents and our beloved Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. But it is more than just our goal—it is also Their goal. They have a perfect love for us, more powerful than we can even begin to comprehend. They are totally, completely, eternally aligned with us. We are Their work. Our glory is Their glory. More than anything else, They want us to come home—to return and receive eternal happiness in Their presence
I spend time each year setting goals for the upcoming year. As we begin to close 2017 and focus on 2018, I am going to spend some time looking at my goals and seeing how they align with the things that Elder Ballard has pointed out. I am going to set up short term and long term goals and make sure that they are aligned with bringing the full effect of the atonement into my life. My goals will be more aligned with the Saviors desires for me to help others and be an instrument in His hands.