Monday, May 23, 2011

Spiritual Living - Record and Report

I know, "Record and Report" doesn't sound very spiritual, but I promise it is.  I've started reading "Preach My Gospel" which is a guide to missionary service that all missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints use for their training.  As my son is currently on his mission and working through this book, I decided to do so as well.  I jumped ahead to Section 8 "Use Time Wisely" because I felt like I need to work on this area in my life. 

In this section it goes through a missionary's paper work (specifically the "Area Book" which they leave behind when they are transferred so that the next missionary knows what has been going on in that area).  This is where I read "record and report."  At first I could see how important this is for the missionaries, especially to pass on information one to another, but didn't think that it had much application for me.  Then as I went on in the Section they start talking about goals.  Goals are always hard for me because I make them, then I forget about them, or just get lazy and stop doing them.  But when the missionaries make a goal, they record it and report it to their companion and their mission leaders.  It can't be ignored when so many others are involved in the process.

Elder M. Russel Ballard is quoted in "Preach My Gospel" on page 146 saying this:  "I am so thoroughly convinced that if we don't set goals in our life and learn how to master the techniques of living to reach our goals, we can reach a ripe old age and look back on our life only to see that we reached but a small part of our full potential.  When one learns to master the principles of setting a goal, he will then be able to make a great difference in the results he attains in this life."

One of my goals for years has been to lose weight.  Lately, my daughter also has been wanting to be more fit and lose some weight.  My problem is I always make my goal, start keeping track of my food and exercise, then forget, give up, get lazy, etc.  So I was praying about it a few days ago asking for guidance and direction on this area in both of our lives and the answer that came to me was "record and report."

I have a great program on my computer called "Fit Day" where I can log all my food and activities into it to keep track of my progress.  I have had this program for several years and I have noticed that as I am recording I lose weight.  Then as I stop recording my weight goes up again.  When I noticed this pattern I realized that there is a purpose to recording.  It keeps me focused and moving forward on my goal.

What about spiritual goals?  In "Preach My Gospel" again on page 146 it says the following:

"Carefully considered goals will give you clear direction and will hep you fill your days with activities that help people strengthen their faith in the Savior and progress toward baptism, confirmation, and full activity in the Church.  Challenging goals will help you work effectively and lead you to stretch and grow.  Follow the guidelines below as you set goals:  follow the Spirit; focus on the key indicators [these are the specifics to record for me it would be current weight or bore my testimony, etc.]; focus on people . . . ; be specific and realistic, but set goals that will make you stretch; set weekly and daily goals; set goals for personal . . . study . . . ; measure your progress each day, each week and after each six-week period.  When you fall short of a goal, evaluate your efforts and seek for ways to accomplish the goal.  If needed, adjust your expectations."

The recording and reporting doesn't stop, it is a continual process, a daily, weekly, monthly, yearly process.  If I want to accomplish something, I need to keep it fresh in my mind and to do that I need to consistently record and report.  For one of my spiritual goals, I have wanted to focus and write more on spiritual matters in my life.  My way of recording and reporting is the Spiritual Living aspect of this blog.  I believe as I make my goals and determine ways to record and report them I'll be more successful in my goals and life.
 

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