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What we did: Making positive changes in your personal life

Tools to succeed

We can solve many of the problems we face in life by refining and changing ourselves. Some years ago, I caught myself once again yelling at several of our small children. My frustrations had turned on those I loved most, and a newly formed habit was taking over.

I really didn't want to be a mother who was always screaming at her kids, and this particular day my actions felt especially incompatible with the spirit I was trying to bring into our home. At that moment, my conscience was deeply pricked, and I made a private promise through prayer that I would stop my ugly habit. In the weeks and months that followed, I felt the Holy Ghost repeatedly bring to my remembrance my promise. Incrementally, but surely, my yelling stopped. Today, I feel that patience has become one of my strengths, freeing me to work on other weaknesses.

We are all given weaknesses (and probably allow additional ones to develop), but Heavenly Father intended us to overcome them. Whether it's control over our physical inadequacies (Word of Wisdom problems such as alcohol and tobacco, weight and exercise; morality, speech, etc.) or the refining of our spiritual gifts, through prayer and the whisperings of the Holy Ghost we are given tools to succeed. — Sandra Savage Phillips, La Habra Heights, Calif.

Set goals

The first time I really wanted to make a change in my life, I chose something easy to ensure my success. I wanted to read the scriptures daily. I made my goal to read only one verse each night during the week. Some days I read on and on. Other days, I read only one verse, my goal. Some days I missed reading entirely, Each time, I picked up from where I was and focused again on my goal.

In varying degrees over the years, I am accomplishing other goals like "get organized," with a beginning of "don't put it down, put it away;" write a book; and "be of good cheer." Each success, from that first verse of scripture, made me recognize that I can create a lot of positive changes in my personal life.

When we recognize our personal power (moral agency) to make a difference, we can feel a small, wonderful part of what Heavenly Father has to give us. We are His children and, together, we can do whatever needs doing — one day at a time. — Karen Richards, Taylorsville, Utah

'It's up to me'

When sometimes I think my personal life is "out of order," I realize that I am my own worst enemy. It's then that I have to take personal inventory. I'm a firm believer that "if it's to be, it's up to me." If I keep doing the same old things I've been doing, I will continue to get the same results. I am the only one who can change me, and so I look at what I perceive to be failures and ask myself why I am dissatisfied in that area.

For me, there is always a chain of things that boils down to the fact that I am not eating well, not exercising enough and not getting enough sleep. When I set some new goals in these areas or reinstate some old goals, and put some real effort into improvement, I find that other areas of my life improve also. I find that I am more enthusiastic and energetic. My mind is much clearer, my self-esteem rises, I'm more able to relate, more patient and more open to the Spirit. My personal prayer and scripture study improve, my attitude improves. In fact, every thing in my life improves. — Agnes Cox, Lincoln, Neb.

Remember who you are

There are many things you can do to make positive changes in your personal life. Here are some suggestions:

  • Draw nearer to the Savior through the scriptures and through prayer. If you do this you will become closer to Him and, in return, you will be greatly blessed. Think of the Savior in all that you do. Ask the question, "What would Jesus do in this situation?"
  • Set goals to overcome one's weakness, to serve others, to accomplish your dreams. Read uplifting books, such as books on gospel topics.
  • Learn from mistakes and progress. Look for the good in life in all that you do. Think positive rather than negative. If you are happy, others will want to be near you. Learn to laugh at yourself and not be too serious but enjoy life. Listen to uplifting music, for music plays an important part in life.
  • Attend all your Church meetings. Think of the Savior when partaking of the sacrament.
  • Always remember who you are. You are a child of Heavenly Father, who loves you and wants you to be happy. Show Heavenly Father that you love Him by keeping His commandments and being a good example.

— Shannon Smith, Farmington, Utah

Powerful change

I have had many positive and uplifting experiences in the last six years. What has helped me the most is being able to realize and accept that every temporal thing we do or think has spiritual blessings or consequences. My close friends and ward family have been a big part in helping me come to this wonderful and powerful change in my life. Here are a few tips:

  • Praise yourself and others when you notice progress.
  • Have daily prayer and scripture study.
  • Set practical, feasible short-term goals.

All of these ideas have truly helped me to turn my life around and make me proud to say, "I am a child of God." — Daniel C. Sutton, Tucson, Ariz.