Inspiration – Self-improvement

Dan Cooper,
President,
High Prairie Branch,
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

We all want to grow and learn and be better today than we were yesterday.
So why is change so hard? Personal growth is essential to God’s plan. The Saviour asks us to become the best person we can be.
How can we ever reach this goal when we fall short of even our more modest ones?
Here’s where I admit that I’m unqualified to give you advice. I have no triumphant personal stories to inspire you, no profound epiphanies to share. I’m just a guy trying to figure things out, same as you.
But as I thought recently about what stands in the way of my own progress, a few ideas came to mind: impressions of simple things I can do to improve.
Maybe this is just me giving myself a pep talk. Or maybe you’ll find one or two ideas that can help you change for the better.

First ask for direction

We forget sometimes, when making plans to improve, to check in with the One who made the plan. The scriptures promise that “he shall direct [our] paths” if only we will ask — but do we remember to ask?
He knows us, and our shortcomings, better than anyone. If we humbly inquire, what do I need to do to become who you want me to be? He can inspire us to consider paths that we may have overlooked but that lead to the most joy.

Think small

Sometimes we’re required to make dramatic leaps of faith. But more often it’s the small hops that move us forward. Small adjustments over time can bring greater balance and peace to our lives. Be patient and remember the wisdom of line upon line and step by step.

Take time to reflect

“Set it and forget it” works great with our toaster ovens and online bill pay, but it’s a lousy approach to our goals. Regular self-checkins ensure we’re making progress [and give us a chance to make adjustments when we’re not]. Simply asking, “How am I doing so far?” goes a long way.

Keep trying

Thomas S. Monson once said, “One of God’s greatest gifts is the joy of trying again, for no failure ever need be final.” Don’t let discouragement get the best of you when you fail at first, or second or third. Keep going. Keep pushing. Keep trying.
Nobody’s perfect, but everybody can be better. Remember that “God cares a lot more about who we are and who we are becoming than about who we once were. He cares that we keep on trying.”

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