In testifying of the importance of goal setting and organization to busy and perhaps overwhelmed college students, Elder Marcos A. Aidukaitis offered a divine example.
In a devotional broadcast to BYU-Pathway Worldwide students on March 2, the General Authority Seventy noted, “The Lord Himself stated His goal very clearly: ‘For behold, this is my work and my glory — to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man’” (Moses 1:39).
In order to accomplish His goal, He created a plan — the plan of salvation, also known as the plan of redemption or the plan of happiness.
In order for the Lord to execute His plan, it was necessary to create the Earth and all on it, Elder Aidukaitis said.
“Can you picture in your mind the Gods ‘[organizing] the lights in the expanse of the heaven, and [causing] them to divide the day from the night; and [organizing] them to be for signs and for seasons, and for days and for years’ (Abraham 4:14)?”he asked.
Heavenly Father and the Savior would have had to plan in such a way that stars and planets would be at the perfect distance from Earth, including the sun. If placed too close to the Earth, the Earth would burn, but if placed too far from the Earth, it would freeze. Such considerations show “that God is detailed in His planning and building processes,” he said.
Elder Aidukaitis then shared the words of President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who said, “I am so thoroughly convinced that if we don’t set goals in our life and learn how to master the technique 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 you learn to master the principle of setting a goal, you will then be able to make a great difference in the results you attain in this life.”
Added Elder Aidukaitis: “Life is already difficult enough as it is. Without goals and plans, life can be ever harder.”
He then invited individuals to look ahead 20 or 40 years. “Picture the kind of person you would like to be. Hopefully, you will want to be more like the Savior. Picture your family in your mind and what kind of comforts you would want to give them. How much would you like to be able to contribute to the poor, to good causes, and to the kingdom of God?”
Working for those thing will not be easy, the Church leader noted, “but it is easier with a plan. Do you really want to get there?”
He cited “Preach My Gospel,” which teaches: “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.”
Elder Aidukaitis invited students to seek revelation in planning their futures. “Determine what you need to do to get to the inspired destination you set for yourself.”
He shared the example of BYU-Pathway student Guilherme Cidade from Florianopolis, Brazil, who was studying full time, working to support his family, completing an internship and fulfilling a Church calling. Guilherme learned to manage his time through careful daily planning, and by scheduling time for his daily to-do list, he was able to achieve his goals.
“Be diligent in following your plan even when it is difficult or when you are tired,” Elder Aidukaitis advised. “Continue in patience facing ‘… delay[s], trouble, opposition, or suffering without becoming angry, frustrated, or anxious … [having] the ability to do God’s will and accept His timing. When you are patient, you hold up under pressure and are able to face adversity calmly and hopefully’” (“Preach My Gospel,” p. 120).
Challenging goals can take individuals to higher achievements, Elder Aidukaitis said. “When we want to accomplish something extraordinary, we have to rely on the Lord for His help all the way. For He knows the desires of our hearts, He understands the plans we have made, He sees our efforts, and He is aware of our difficulties. Constantly relying on the Lord and staying close to Him is an expression of our faith in Him.”
Elder Aidukaitis expressed his confidence that if plans are inspired by the Lord, “He will bless us beyond our dreams. He will take us farther than we could take ourselves on our own.”