The following was written for LDS.org by Adam M. Moore. To read the full article, CLICK HERE.
I love all things Italian. I have always dreamed of wandering the streets of Rome, speaking to the people there as if I had been born in Italy myself. A few years ago, I saw a language-learning program for Italian on sale, and I immediately purchased it. I told everyone on social media my goal to learn Italian that year and make a trip to Italy to practice my new language skills.
I had two interesting experiences that taught me something important about how goals can get in the way of progress. First, publicly announcing my goal convinced my mind that I was making more progress than I really was. Although I hadn’t yet learned even one word of Italian, I got a lot of pats on the back but no accountability.1 Second, after spending an hour or two trying to learn Italian, I looked at the massive gap between where I was and where I wanted to be (full fluency in Italian) and felt overwhelmed and disheartened.
Between the false progress I thought I was making and my frustration with my lack of progress, I never got back into the learning program again. It’s now collecting dust somewhere in my basement. I still haven’t visited Italy, either.
Goals and Growth
Plenty of evidence demonstrates that properly implemented goal setting can help us get things done.2 But in this case, my goal to learn Italian wasn’t enough, because growth doesn’t happen just because I have a goal; it comes from making the effort to achieve it (see Mosiah 4:27).
How we measure progress can determine whether or not we are successful. Maybe you set goals for daily scripture study or increased one-on-one time with family members. These goals are easy to define, easy to measure, and you can see immediate progress with many of them.
But what about goals that involve becoming?
To read the full article, CLICK HERE.