By Utah National Parks Council
Jun 11, 2017

Let Them Lead: Setting Your Goals

Goal setting involves more than just wishing or dreaming. As President Thomas S. Monson has taught:

“Wishing will not make it so. The Lord expects our thinking. He expects our action. He expects our labors. He expects our testimonies. He expects our devotion” (“To the Rescue,” Ensign, May 2001, 49).

Prepare yourself spiritually

Meaningful goals and careful planning can help us achieve the work the Lord has for us to do. Setting our own goals for our lives is an important part of becoming self-reliant. When we plan prayerfully and work diligently to achieve our goals, the Lord magnifies our efforts and helps us reach our potential.

How will understanding the importance of setting meaningful goals help the youth?

What goals have you set for yourself throughout your life? What did you do to achieve your goals? How has achieving goals helped you become more self-reliant?

What goals have the youth set that you are aware of? How can you encourage them to set worthy goals?

Why must we be careful not only what we communicate, but also how we do so?



Prayerfully study these scriptures and other resources. What will help the youth learn the importance of setting goals to become self-reliant?

Teaching in the Savior’s way

View: Inviting to Act: Setting Goals to see how the teachers helps those she is teaching to set goals.

The Savior loved those He taught. He knew their interests, hopes, and desires and what was happening in their lives. What can you do to understand the dreams and goals of the youth you teach? How will this influence the way you teach them?


Make connections

During the first few minutes of each session, help the youth make connections between what they are learning in this leadership course and in various other settings (such as personal study, seminary, other church classes, or experiences with their friends). How can you help them see the relevance of the gospel in daily living? The ideas below might help:

  • Invite the youth to share experiences they have had recently that reinforced a gospel truth they have been learning about.
  • Share with the youth some of the goals you have set for yourself throughout your life. Include both long-term and short-term goals. Explain how you decided to set those goals, what you did to achieve them, and how your efforts blessed your life. Encourage the youth to share similar experiences of their own.

Learn Together

Each of the activities below can help the youth become more self-reliant by learning how to set personal goals. Following the guidance of the Spirit, select one or more that will work best for your class or quorum:

  1. Explain what a goal is and describe and use the SMART Goals tool.
  • Assign half of the classes or quorums to read Elder Quentin L. Cook’s story about his conversation with a teenage young man (from his talk “Choose Wisely”), and assign the other half to read Elder L. Tom Perry’s story about his son practicing high jumping (from his talk “Raising the Bar”).  Pair two classes or quorums, each with a different reading assignment. Ask the youth to summarize their assigned stories for the other group, and explain what they learned from the stories about setting goals. Invite them to share any similar stories from their own lives. How will they apply what they learn from these stories to be more effective in setting and achieving their goals?
  • Ask the participants to explain what a goal is, then tell them we need to make our goals SMART. Break into groups. Have someone in each class or quorum read Improving Your Small or Home-Based Business (step 1 only) LDS Employment Resource Services.  Then ask the all the youth to recall the SMART acronym as you write it on a flip charts up front.  Ask why a goal should be SMART, and take the answers offered.
  • Show the video A Work in Progress,” and give the youth a few minutes to write down what they learn from the video about setting and achieving goals. Invite them to share their thoughts with the ward. Why did Tyler choose to pursue his goal to serve a mission, even though it meant interrupting his goal to play basketball? As part of this discussion, you may want to read 1 Kings 18:21 and Matthew 6:24. Ask the youth to think of something they are passionate about. Have they ever had to choose between that thing and another worthy goal? What do they learn from Tyler’s example?
  • Utilize other activities to teach SMART goals as you are inspired.

2. Write personal and patrol goals that pass the SMART Goals test

  • Ask the youth some of the goals they have and why it is important to have goals. Invite them to read “How to Set Goals” in Preach My Gospel (page 146), looking for reasons goals are important, and ask them to share what they find. With the bishop’s permission, invite a recently returned missionary to explain the importance of setting goals in missionary work. How can learning how to set goals now help the youth become better missionaries? Consider inviting other ward members to discuss with the youth the importance of setting goals in other phases of life.
  • Ask the youth to read Doctrine and Covenants 58:27–29, and invite them to make a list of goals they would like to set that will help them “be anxiously engaged in a good cause” and “bring to pass much righteousness.” Encourage them to share their lists with another class member, and explain what they are doing or can do now to accomplish those goals. Invite them to read the additional scriptures suggested in this outline and share any insights they gain from these scriptures about setting goals.
  • Other activities to help youth write SMART goals as you are inspired

3. Help determine the goals that will allow their patrol members to fulfill the vision of success they have developed for their patrol. 

  • Have each class or quorum briefly discuss how they can make goals based on their shared vision and add it to their plan. Remind the youth that one of the best ways to remember and achieve their vision and its goals is to share it. Have them consider how they can share their vision and goals this week in their campsite, around camp and back home.
  • Other activities to help the youth work toward fulfilling their vision as you are inspired

Invite to Act

Give the youth time to list the goals they have for themselves. Refer them to the guidelines for setting goals on page 146 of Preach My Gospel.  Invite them to take ten minutes now to consider ways they will apply these guidelines to help them accomplish a goal. Invite a few of them to share what they have written.

Lead a short reflection by asking what God’s goals are.  Then ask the youth to share what they learned today. Do they understand how to set personal goals? Do they have any additional questions? Would it be worthwhile to spend more time on this topic?

Discuss with the youth what their next skill application challenge will be. Ask them to consider how what they’ve learned about team development applies to the challenge. Encourage them to apply their new skills and ideas about team development to the activity.

This series was adapted from National Youth Leader Training to help leaders teach LDS youth leadership skills so that those leaders can confidently “Let Them Lead.”


Authors: Maria Milligan and Darryl Alder | LDS NYLT writing team; at Utah National Parks Council Maria is Chief of Staff and Darryl is Strategic Initiatives Director. Together they help LDS Stakes meet their camping and training needs a customized basis.

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