As a single adult it can be easy to be unsure about what the future holds. We may not know what tomorrow will bring, but we need to take control of the things we do have a say in. The best way I have found to stay focused and on track is to set goals. Goals can take us slowly from where we are to where we want to be. M. Russell Ballard said, “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” (Elder M. Russell Ballard, Go for It!, New Era, March 2004). Don’t we want to reach our full potential?
In Preach My Gospel: A Guide To Missionary Service we learn “Goals reflect the desires of our hearts and our vision of what we can accomplish. Through goals and plans, our hopes are transformed into action. Goal setting and planning are acts of faith” As a single adult I have many hopes, and I feel strongly that if I accomplish my goals that life won’t only be a state of day dreaming, but it will be meaningful, and joy filled in reality. Over the past couple of weeks I have been revamping my commitment to my goals, and through the process, I have learned a great deal.
First, I learned that there is value in having a buddy to keep your goals with you, especially when it comes to following up. President Thomas S. Monson has said, “When performance is measured, performance improves. When performance is measured and reported, the rate of improvement accelerates.” A very dear friend of mine and I have been setting and accomplishing our goals together. While we don’t always have the same goals, we find that being accountable to someone makes all of the difference. We see what is working well and talk about what might work better. Every day we check up with each other on our progress. It’s not a judgmental follow up, but more of an encouraging support system. We remind each other of our goals so that we don’t forget. The consistency in reporting has helped our goals to accelerate in positive ways.
Second, as Preach My Gospel says, “be specific and realistic, but set goals that will make you stretch.” It is sort of invigorating to be able to confidently say that you accomplished your goal for the day. We have found it helpful to set a specific time that we will achieve our goals each day, as well as a specific length of time that will focus on them. It makes it easier as we stay consistent. Every day at 7 am I know that I will be practicing my goal.
There is no question of when I will get around to, or how much effort I will put in. If goals are too easy, then we won’t reach as much of our potential as we can, but if they are too hard we will become frustrated and stop trying. Balance is the key. After a couple of days it is easy to see if your goal is going to be too hard too easy. (The buddy system can be good here as well because they know how much you can accomplish and become.)
Third, accomplishing goals brings with it great joy and added purpose to life! As a single adult I don’t think there is anything that I seek more than purpose in the things I am doing. For me, setting these goals has brought a tremendous amount of purpose. Lifelong dreams are being accomplished. As I achieve small and simple bits and pieces with my goals the bigger hopes and dreams seem more possible and attainable. There is satisfaction in changing and in becoming something! If you don’t believe me, try it. I challenge myself and all of us to make one specific achievable goal today and then accomplish it. Find a buddy, and then make measurable and specific goals that will lead you to a joy filled life. As you apply these things, I promise more joy in your life. I state that promise with confidence, because I tried it myself and it has worked.
Ashley Dewey is extremely talented at being single. Hobbies include awkward conversations with members of the opposite sex, repelling third dates, talking to boys about their girl problems and to girls about their boy problems. In her spare time she also has a very fulfilling school life, work life, and social life. Besides being a professional single, Ashley is also a BYU graduate with a degree in linguistics (Aka word nerd). She enjoys studying other languages, particularly American Sign Language, and finds most all of them fascinating. She is currently pursuing a masters degree in Teaching English as a Second Language. Ashley works most of the time and has often been accused of being a workaholic. Currently she works full time as a merchandiser and supervisor in a retail store, and part time doing social media work. On her day off she works (really it doesn't feel like work) in the Provo LDS temple. The only kind of work she finds difficulty focusing on is house work. Her favorite activities in her free time are reading, writing, creating social experiments, and spending time with great friends and family. Specific activities with those family and friends include: going to concerts, plays, dance recitals, BYU basketball and football games, and watching sports on television.