"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.
"It is good to have goals and plans for our careers, for our education, even for our golf game. It is also important to have goals for our marriages, our families, and our Church councils and callings; this is especially true for missionaries. But our greatest and most overriding goals should fit into Heavenly Father’s eternal plan. Jesus said, 'Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you' (3 Nephi 13:33)....
"During the coming weeks, find time to review your life’s goals and your plans, and make sure they align with our Heavenly Father’s great plan for our happiness. If you need to repent and change, then consider doing so now. Take the time to prayerfully think about what adjustments are needed to help you keep your 'eye single to the glory of God' (D&C 4:5)."
- Elder M. Russell Ballard, "Return and Receive," General Conference, April 2017
Click here to watch or read the full talk
Elder Ballard's message included some important principles for setting goals that lead to improvement:
- A long-term goal, once clear and well understood, is blessed by establishing short-term goals that lead to attaining it
- The most important long-term goal is "immortality and eternal life," and the short-term goals leading to it are defined in the plan of salvation
- We are blessed to the extent that we establish our goals and plans in harmony with God's goals and plans
So Elder Ballard's challenge is that "our greatest and most overriding goals should fit into Heavenly Father’s eternal plan." Once we set our plans in the context which He has established, we will be blessed.
It's always good to note specific challenges and instructions given during general conference. This is an example of such a request made of us all by Elder Ballard:
The serious personal evaluation suggested by Elder Ballard would truly be a blessing to any individual willing to seriously review his or her goals and plans, and make appropriate adjustments.