Friday, January 1, 2016

Goal Setting & Graduation Pictures!

I was asked to give a talk at church on goal setting. This is it!

I have been asked to talk about goal setting. First I want to start this by saying there are people who just don't enjoy goal setting and are content to meander.  That was never me.  For the goal setters, you will enjoy this talk.   Maybe there's a happy place in the middle.  My observation is that that's NOT true.  Goal setters marry goal setters.  Meanderers marry one another.  How could two different people stand to marry one another. So for the meanderers and meandering couples, please bear with me. When I first got the assignment I laughed. I feel like this is an art that I’ve spent my whole life doing. And something you do as a teacher.
            I grew up in a very active Mormon home. There were two what I call “basic goals” instilled in us. Basic goals are goals that our parents had for us and have taught us all our lives, these are personal and by no means the same. These lead to bigger and more specific goals. The two we had were:
1.     Go to the temple
2.     Go to college
As I got older I adopted these for myself, they were no longer my parent’s goals for me. They were my goals for me. After high school I went to BYU-Idaho, and after a twisted turn of events I came home after my first year. I eventually went to NOVA. During those twists and turns, I never lost the goal of going to college. But I knew I was no longer on the “normal path.” During my time at NOVA I met Troy. Troy was living in Minnesota, and after another twist and turn he moved out here and we got engaged. On May 21, 2011 we got Sealed in the DC temple. I was able to check my first goal off. I made it to the temple.
But what about that other goal? Days before we got married I got my associates degree from NOVA. And hadn’t decided where to transfer. People began to doubt I was going to finish. I knew I was going to, but I didn’t know when or where. Finally, I decided on Old Dominion University, they have an online distance learning program and my exact degree. It was perfect for me. So I got accepted and started classes. I had just started my first semester when I learned I was pregnant. Most women jump for joy when they hear those words. I cried. What about my other goal? Now what? I slowly started to tell people. In just the last year I have heard of more and more people going to school with families, but about 3-4 years ago it wasn’t too common. I remember towards the middle of my pregnancy four people in one day told me “at least you tried to finish school.”  I felt hopeless, was I really not going to finish? Was this Heavenly Father’s way of bracing me for reality? M. Russell Ballard said. That it is good, on occasion, for everyone to face adversity, especially if it causes introspection that enables us to openly and honestly assess our lives. That is what I did. ……Sometimes we need a personal crisis to reinforce in our minds what we really value and cherish. The scriptures are filled with examples of people facing crises before learning how to better serve God and others. Perhaps if you, too, search your hearts and courageously assess the priorities in your life, you may discover, as I did, that you need a better balance among your priorities.”
All of us must come to an honest, open self-examination, an awareness within as to who and what we want to be.”
After much prayer and fasting, as best you can when you’re pregnant. Which for me was going an hour without food. I knew now more than ever that nothing was going to stop me from finishing college. Things slowly came into place, I had more support than I could have imagined and made friends in similar situations. No doubt these friendships will last a lifetime. Finally, December 12 we drove down to ODU in Norfolk and I walked across the stage. I was surrounded by friends I had made through classes who were also on a different path, many had more bumps in their path than I did. But we all did it. I have a BS in interdisciplinary studies, which is a fancy was to say special education.

As a special education teacher you write goals. Some are short term and others are long term. So I’ve had my fair share of coming up with goals.
This is my advice:
First remember goals are personal and vary from person to person. Think about Dallin H. Oak’s talk about Good, Better, and Best. Don’t set the same goal for yourself as your Sunday school teacher set for themselves because it was the best goal for them. Your best is most likely very different.
Make sure it is realistic. Don’t set a goal you know you can’t achieve. To say I will go to the temple 6 days a week for the rest of my life might not be realistic. But to say I will go once a week is something you can achieve.
Make it MOO (M-O-O). My favorite professor said that every day. He even had a little cow in his room.
Make sure your goal is Measureable. Make it a goal you can keep track of. Such as praying twice a day or reading one page in the book of Mormon. This way you can keep track of your progress and if you are meeting that goal.
Observable- Something you can see. Goes along with measureable. If you are meeting your goal of praying twice a day chances are you and others around you will see something different. If you are reading the scriptures on a daily basis you will gain more from it.
The last “O” is Objectives. These are steps to meet the goal. What are you going to do to help you to meet your goal to pray twice a day or read your scriptures daily? Use a pray rock? Set a reminder in your phone? Have a sticky note in the bathroom?
These are tricks to help you stay accountable for what you have set for yourself.

But my final piece of advice is to never give up. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do what you are determined to do. I found a great quote, there was no author listed “Fate whispers to the warrior you can’t withstand the storm. And the warrior whispers back I am the storm.” 

And now that you have endured reading that here are the pictures from graduation!! It  was a great experience and I loved actually seeing the campus!!!
Troy has been my rock through this and Kelli has kept me laughing.  

My BFF decorated my cap for me! 
The building where my campus where streamed from

Mom and Dad with their first graduate! 
Gwen has been a huge help through all this!!

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