LDS Life Skills Perfection

10 Ways to Make your Life the Best It Can Be

10 Ways to Make Your Life the Best It Can Be

The world around us is full of opportunities. The hard part is choosing the right opportunities for us. How many times do you have to choose between two good things? Will trying them all make you truly happy or which opportunities will get you where you truly should be? On the other hand, we sometimes fear the opportunities and the possibility of failure, which will stop our progress. So how do we balance our thoughts and our desire, so that we can make better choices that can lead us to our true purpose?

Here are 10 steps to help achieve your potential:

  1. Make a Goal Book

Make long-term goals and write them down

  1. Write your own eulogy and ask yourself how have I contributed to the human race? What do I want said about me at this time?
  2. Write down the daily steps needed to accomplish the goal.
  3. Add this free download to your goal book and use it as a checklist.

First, think about your life and set your priorities. Find some quiet time regularly to think deeply about where you are going and what you will need to do to get there…Write down the tasks you would like to accomplish each day. Keep foremost in mind the sacred covenants you have made with the Lord as you write down your daily schedules.

  1. View Every Struggle as a New Lease on Life

Sometimes we make wrong choices, but we don’t have to let them define us. I love this quote from Oprah:

There are no mistakes . . . because you have a supreme destiny. . . . When . . . you are not centered [in love and] you really don’t know who you are, that you come from something greater and bigger and that we really are all the same. When you don’t know that, you get . . . flustered [and] you get stressed . . . wanting something to be what it isn’t. [We all have our] supreme . . . destiny . . . Your job is to [fulfill that destiny].

Yet, it all may lead to our full purpose; only you and God can decide that. When we understand all things can lead to our purpose then stumbling blocks, such as a bad day, poor grade, or angry family member, can be another step forward.

It is really about upping your game, not necessarily changing all of that.

What advice would you give yourself 5 or even 10 years ago? How does that determine your future self? When all we have is the present, all we can do is set in motion the steps to accomplish our purpose. And then we realize the largest obstacle in our way is our disappointment in our progress. To that, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland counseled:

My brothers and sisters, except for Jesus, there have been no flawless performances on this earthly journey we are pursuing, so while in mortality let’s strive for steady improvement without obsessing over what behavioral scientists call ‘toxic perfectionism’…every one of us aspires to a more Christlike life than we often succeed in living. If we admit that honestly and are trying to improve, we are not hypocrites; we are human.

Christ shows us how to deal with setbacks:

John 8:1-11

  1. Jesus went unto the mount of Olives.
  2. And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them.
  3. And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,
  4. They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.
  5. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?
  6. This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.
  7. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
  8. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
  9. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
  10. When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?
  11. She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
  12. Be Your True Self—Don’t Believe in Perfection, Only in Progress

Define your principles and live them, no matter what. Write your principles in your goal book. This one sounds simple, yet when you have worked all day on little or no sleep, someone chewed you out unjustly, it’s 10 p.m. and you have a lot more work to do before tomorrow, it can be a hard thing to choose to live your principles still. Choosing to live your principles under stress is one of the hardest goals to accomplish, but the most rewarding. It is like a muscle that, once exercised, becomes stronger and with enough exercise you become unstoppable. President Russell M. Nelson said, “let us do the best we can and try to improve each day. When our imperfections appear, we can keep trying to correct them. We can be more forgiving of flaws in ourselves and among those we love. We can be comforted and forbearing.” While we may not be everything we want to be now, the Lord has encouraged us to “continue in patience until [we] are perfected” (D&C 67:13). It is one step at a time.

  1. Don’t Wait

Don’t wait until the perfect time to do what you have dreamed about doing. Make your dreams part of your goals and start now. My grandmother saved for years to purchase just the right linens and dishes for special company but would not use them for every-day use. One summer a fire ripped through her town and she lost them all. We may never lose our dreams in a fire but we can easily lose our dreams through neglect or waiting until the time is right. While talking about faith, Elder Dieter F. Utchdorf shared a principle just as applicable here, “Let us not wait too long on our road to Damascus. Instead, let us courageously move forward in faith, hope, and charity, and we will be blessed with the light we are all seeking.”

  1. Do What You Love, Improve Your Talents 

Due to the required parts of life, i.e. bills, chores, laundry, we get too involved in the busy stuff in our lives and we forget the real reason why we live. The best way to separate them is to clarify our purpose. President Dallin H. Oaks gave us some guidance on how to do this. He said, “consider how we use our time in the choices we make…not everything…is worth the portion of our life we give to obtain it. Some things are better, and others are best.” If money and time were not an issue, what would you choose to do? Research the possibilities, discuss them with your Father in Heaven, and add your new goal to your goal book. Spend at least 15 minutes a day on learning about and moving toward your goals.

  1. Be Compassionate, Empathetic, and Service-Oriented 

Lifting another person also lifts you. Give everyone a blessing, whether it is out loud or in your heart. You would be amazed how your life internalizes the good feelings when you give a blessing to every person you pass during the day. Service is the best remedy for most of what ails this world; even if they don’t deserve it, you deserve the rewards from it. Serve others. After all, that’s what we covenanted to do when we were baptized. We should be “willing to bear one another’s burdens…mourn with those that mourn…and comfort those that stand in need of comfort” (Mosiah 18:8-9) as well, we are commanded to “Love [our] enemies, do good to them which hate you” (Luke 6:27) and “love one another, as [Christ loves us]” (John 13:34). Read more about living in an antisocial society.

  1. Let Go of the Past, Live in the Present

We can’t change the past and the future is always just out of reach. We can only influence the present. This may be why President Thomas S. Monson encouraged  us to “Learn from the past. Prepare for the future. Live in the present.” What do you want the present to be? Read more about finding the path to health and peace.

  1. Spend Time with Loved Ones 

You become like the people that you engage with. What kind of life do you want and what kind of person do you want to be? Add that to your goal book.

  1. Leave Everything Better Than You Found It.

“Every day do something that will inch you closer to a better tomorrow.” – Doug Firebaugh

the way you treat a person today will determine how you will treat them tomorrow. If you are rude and condescending today it will be easier to do the same tomorrow. If you choose to be compassionate today it will be easier to be compassionate tomorrow.

  1. Practice Gratitude and Express It. 

“And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?” (Alma 5:26). President Thomas S. Monson said, “Do we remember to give thanks for the blessings we receive? Sincerely giving thanks not only helps us recognize our blessings, but it also unlocks the doors of heaven and helps us feel God’s love.”

Let us not forget the joys and happiness around us and take the next right step. If you feel you could use some help to be your best self, please reach out.

Kristena Eden

Kristena Eden has also published several books, including Book of Mormon 1-2-3s, and Prophet Joseph’s 1-2-3sFind them all at deseretbook.comShe believes that when we read to our children, we instill trust, direction, and a deep personal connection that surpasses childhood. Read together and then read some more.

You can reach Kristena, who is a personal coach, at email at


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3 Ways to Find Healing After a Broken Relationships

When we have a broken heart, we often avoid feeling the pain—whether it is a divorce, a breakup, or even a job loss. We fill our lives with busywork to get through the pain, but there’s no easy way out of those overwhelming empty feelings. We need time to grieve and accept the heartache; otherwise, it will heal very slowly or not at all. Experts recommend we go through the emotional pain, not around it. By learning to deal with these emotions, we become stronger people and more capable of handling our trials.

Get out a paper and pen and jot down potential personal goals to work through emotional pain you are facing as you read through the strategies below:

1. Find a New Purpose
“Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how.’”

― Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

The first step to accepting pain is to understand who we are inside and why we react the way we do. You need to let go of whatever is prolonging the pain (fear, anger, anxiety, discouragement, etc.) and find a new purpose. For example, war veterans, who face years of prolonged pain, have been found to flourish when they find a new purpose to put their energy into, which could include family, purposeful employment, or service of some kind. Think of your broken relationship or situation as a classroom. Ask yourself what could I learn from this? I know of a man who hated his job, and then was eventually laid off, and endured a horrific year before gaining new employment. At first, he questioned his worth, but instead of harboring the pain, he worked through it and realized with the new job he gained improved employment and pay as well as giving him more time with his family. When you are filled with pain it is not easy to see it as an opportunity to learn, but it is the best way through. It may seem impossible to recover from a divorce or a break up, yet the very same principle applies. You decide your viewpoint; you also decide how much pain you will go through, just as this man did. You need to know your purpose or find a new one. We are all children of God and remembering our worth in His eyes can help us find a new purpose, perhaps in a Church calling or family relationship.

Click here for more on a finding new purpose.

2. Exercise
Depression and anxiety are often feelings that accompany emotional pain, and physical exertion gives you immediate short-term relief to these sometimes crippling side effects. Activity increases the level of serotonin and/or norepinephrine and stimulates brain chemicals that foster the growth of nerve cells. On an emotional level, this is one thing you can control and become master of for your body’s and mind’s well being. Getting started is often the hardest part of this step toward healing, so find something you enjoy doing or have always wanted to try such as walking, hiking, tennis, running, swimming, or maybe kickboxing. Find out if there’s someone in the neighborhood or church who participates in one of these activities and would let you join. Just remember to take it slow at first. In these endeavors to keep our bodies and minds healthy, we often make new friends, who can support us when we have relapses of emotional pain or bouts of depression or anxiety over the situation. There is also power to working out in a group. It can provide you with a tribe that soon becomes family. This can also help provide you with a new purpose in life. Make it a fun journey by tracking your progress. It doesn’t need to be about losing weight as much as to get in shape or to just feel better, connect with new positive influences and friends, and give youself a goal to focus on instead of your pain.

Click here to read more about anxiety and depression.

3. Forgive and Move On
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

—Martin Luther King, Jr.

When we have been hurt in relationships, we could also just jump into the next relationship just to fill the void and potentially start the same bad relationship all over again. Or we often build walls to prevent from being hurt again. Yet that also keeps people out who could help us, especially the Lord. In our time of need, we should seek the Lord, rely on Him more, and search for how He would forgive others in this same situation. He is the way to change our perspective and to heal. People need people; we just need to surround ourselves with mentally and emotionally healthy people and have healthy boundaries.

Forgiveness allows the pain inside to be set aside in order to see things from a different perspective, and maybe begin to see why the actions of those who hurt you happened. It doesn’t always mean we have to provide them opportunities to act on those shortcomings, fears, or struggles in a way that will hurt you again, but it can mean that you can, with the Lord’s vision and help, stop carrying their burden as your own and move on. If they are open to it, we can have a conversation with them. Or we can choose to distance ourselves from them.

We often believe they don’t deserve forgiveness, but we must remember that we forgive for our own well being, not theirs. When we don’t forgive, we are bound to that person and the link between you will stay connected through feelings of hurt and resentment. Do you really want to live with that all of your life? Forgiveness will break that bond and you can walk away free with a great weight lightened.

We all struggle with the fear of loss and failure at some level. Dealing with emotional pain, whether it was a good or bad relationship or other heartaches, is immensely difficult. Work to change your view. Learn to see the person who hurt you as no longer the villain, but a teacher who has helped you understand yourself and ask “Am I strong? Am I compassionate? Am I empathetic? Do I know my divine identity?”

Learn to forgive those who never apologize. It will free you.

Click here for more on changing your viewpoint.

Author’s Note: Though these strategies can help, there are times when we need professional help to get through situations in life. Like having a broken leg, if those serious things are not treated or taken care of, they could potentially kill us. If you need outside, professional help, ask for it.

Need some help deciding if you should give a broken relationship another try or walk away? Get the free download below.
Kristena Eden

Kristena Eden
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Holiday Happiness

Holiday Happiness, or is it?

Question- I love my family, except during the holidays. We are in  constant battle mode when we are all together. We all have to ONE-UP everyone else. For example: everyone is on a different diet so they can’t eat that, or their kids are on the #1 team. Or we are all on a different political group. Or it just may be that the kids are choosing a different way of living than the rest. Why can’t we just have a good time together? Our constant show-and-tell ego mode causes us to lose our close connection. Now I don’t like getting together and would rather do something else. We were once a fun-loving family. What happened?

Answer –The holidays seems to bring out a lot of stress. Also, when we get together with any collection of people, there is going to be some kind of conflict. That is true even in the most connected families. Of all the people we know, it is our family who can trigger our fears or help build our peace the most. That is because we have deep expectations that have changed over time.

The holidays mean getting together with loved ones and family , a potentially explosive combination. Or great potential to build deep bonds. A common misconception is that this gathering is a time to work it all out. No, this is a time to build up each other and to let go of any conflict that can be taken care of at a later date, or talked about one on one. Resolving deep conflict takes time and the holiday season is not a great place to start.

The following are strategies that help to reconnect family.

Go for a walk together, or create some structure. A study conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan found that taking a group nature walk is associated with a whole host of mental benefits. It helps to clear the air when you feel stress. It is a huge stress buster. It improves the mood, and builds the positive emotions. This in turn impacts our bodies. It enhances the nervous system, endocrine, and immune systems. It reduces anxiety and those helpless feelings. Nature reduces anger and fear. It also helps us cope with pain. The fresh air and trees distract us from our underlying concerns. When you are having a pleasant experience, you associate that with the people around you. Walking together, even for a short while, builds stronger connections.

Pick a neutral environment, and avoid heavy topics- Meet in a location that is different, not in someone’s home so the environment is different for all involved. This reduces the stress of getting the house clean or decorated and also reduces the worries of things getting broken. New adventures bring new light to old relationships and that way you are all in this together, maybe even feeling the same fear of the unknown, keeping all involved humble. Also this new adventure requires courage or being out of our comfort zone, yet we are all there in that same experience. Another benefit is that a new place will keep families from getting bored and perhaps this new adventure will be the start of a continued adventure unique for your family. Such an experience will force you to grow together and you will develop a new attitude, giving you a new perspective of yourself and your family. Most people have shown not to argue when on an interesting adventure. Also a new environment opens the way for fresh new conversations.

Let it go- Our family can trigger our core fears like no one else can. They mean well and they are doing the best they know how at this level of awareness and understanding, so we need to learn to accept your family for what and who they are. In order to avoid bad habits and pitfalls of our usual arguments we need to stay in the present and not worry that you have to deal with them again or not. The past is behind us so let it go. Instead we need to look at and learn to enjoy their eccentricities or dysfunction; you may even find humor in what they are doing. Even though they are family and we have known them forever, they are people and are in a different path in life than you. So, it is imperative that they make choices according to their personal experiences and growth. It really is ok to be different. We can still love them where they are, even if we don’t agree with them or their actions.

Bob, a friend of mine, told me about a conflict experience. A person continually harassed Bob, calling him names and demoralizing him. One day this person got in Bob’s face and said, “I am going to beat you up.” Bob said, “If you beat me up, we will never know if we can be good friends or not.” That comment changed the direction of their relationship and they became lifelong friends.

Stay Present- Most of us have a tendency to live in the past. We remember past hurt and misunderstanding. Constantly thinking about the past and worrying about the future can make it difficult to enjoy the good things in your life here and now. Notice what people are saying, notice the atmosphere in the room. notice the mood. All of things will keep you in the present and enjoying the moment. When you are in the present life is lighter and it’s easier to communicate with love. Try to savor each moment as it passess.

How can our family be lifelong friends if we don’t try? We could be missing the best adventure in our lifetime.

If you need help reach out. 

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