Wednesday, January 5, 2011

What The Atonement Has To Do With Achieving Our Goals

I've been successful in many things in my brief 33 years on this earth.  In part that success was a result of hard work, family support, a little bit of natural talent, and lots of just plain old gutsiness.  Some might even call it bravado (insert sheepish grin).

But truly, every accomplishment that I have seen in my life...every good thing has come to me as a result of His intervention.  And as I look back, I can see the Lord's hand so clearly in each of my successes.  So, it is surprising to me that only now I am pondering the power that the Atonement has to help us reach our goals.

Christensen Family Goals Journal
I keep a journal of our family goals each year.  It's fun to look back at the end of the year (and sometimes mid-year) to see how we've done on our goals.  But in the last few years I've been troubled by the fact that there have been a few goals that I have not been accomplishing, although I set the same goals year after year.  (I'm guessing you've experienced this as well?)

As I have pondered this and the whole goal-setting tradition, I realized that I have been trying to reach these goals alone.  I have tried to beat my personal demons by using my own brain-power, my own will-power, and just plain old gutsiness.  While that may have worked in the past, and quite successfully in some instances, I am finding that it won't work forever and it won't work on every problem.

Me...falling short of a goal already...on January 4th.
 If I had to put my personal policy for reaching my goals into words it would be, "Fall down seven times, stand up eight."  But after a while, all that falling down and getting back up becomes pretty frustrating and totally exhausting!

This is when I realized how much easier it would be to let the power of Christ's Atonement carry us through our weaknesses when it comes to accomplishing our goals.  

Think about it.  How much more successful would we be if we allowed the Savior to help us shoulder the disappointment in ourselves when we fall down.  How much wiser would it be to let repentance strengthen our resolve to do better?  I think this approach would enable us to see the obstacles that we'd like to overcome with new eyes...and clearly see the path that will lead us to the most successful outcomes.

While I still write my goals down, and keep them in a visible place, I no longer think that there is a magic formula for reaching my goals, at least not a magic that I can perform alone.  

Instead, I am trying to lean on Him more, to ask what goals are worthy of my time, to seek guidance on what steps to take toward reaching those goals, and to find strength and comfort through the Atonement of Jesus Christ when I fall short.

This is what I have resolved to do more earnestly in 2011:
to let Him help me, help myself.


  1. Amazing and so true. This is a good reminder for all of us.

  2. important process, also in selecting goals that are worthy and should have priority!

  3. The great thing I have learned from falling is to get back up and try again. Setting goals is the first step in accomplishing them.

  4. Now, THAT'S a goal worth setting!

    I think I'll join you...


  5. Wow, you've described me and my goal setting to an absolute tee (or is it T?). Thank you for the fantastic reminder/kick in the pants that we MUST have His help.

  6. First, I think your pic is super cute and it should be your new prof pic...AND, you're holding Hormel a can. I think it's hysterical...why are you holding chili?

  7. How is holding chili failure? Look at it as the beginnings of a food storage plan, where you actually eat what you store. I would call that success!

  8. You hit the thought right on the nail. I am really happy I read your post today. It was just what I needed because I too have essentially the same goals every year and I some years I do better than others. Putting Christ and the atonement into the picture is perfect. Thanks, for sharing these thought.
    Blessings to you! LeAnn

  9. You are exactly right. I need to do that this year too. Sometimes, it is so hard to remember that He wants us to succeed. He wants us to achieve. Sometimes, it is hard to remember that He loves us just the way we are, but is always there to help us be better. Thank you for this today.

  10. Seeking His help and making the Atonement part of our lives requires harmony between our goals and the atonement. What I love about your message is that it causes me to think more deeply about my goals, keeping in mind that those that fall into the flimsy category needn't crowd out those that fall into the fundamental category.

    Live you J.


  11. I always love reading your blog. Such great insight. I love how much the Savior and our Heavenly Father know us and care for us and will help us. Such a wonderful blessing. Good luck on your goal!