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


Meditation, Spirituality

Who Are you really?

I love to study and so it would seem that at my age I would know a lot more than I do, yet invariably, each day I learn something new. A dear friend of mine shared some very soul-searching insight. In some small way I would like to share this deeply felt information with you.
Reading the scriptures brings peace, insight, and relevance to our lives. One story I would like to share is so very pertinent to our lives today.
Alma Chapter 5
To gain salvation, men must repent and keep the commandments, be born again, cleanse their garments through the blood of Christ, be humble and strip themselves from pride and envy, and do the works of righteousness.
Alma 5:26 And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, if you 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?

Wow! Great words of wisdom! In order for us to achieve our greatest gifts we must be humble and strip ourselves of pride.
A little of the background of this scripture is a story about a father named Alma. He was a very righteous man and taught his children well. It must have been a lot like us, we teach, and teach, and teach yet to no avail. Our children have also been given the right to make choices. They have their agency and they also need to find their destiny. Alma did like most parents; he continued to pray for him and continued to teach his son hoping that he would start making better choices. Not only did his son make degrading choices but he made choices that were in deliberate defiance of his God and his father. Invariably, Alma the Younger lived a riotous life. He seemed to be involved with the popular “Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die” ideology. In spite of his choices his dad still loved him. He knew that his son had great potential and a mission to do. So why was he choosing to ignore his destiny? Alma continued to pray day after day for his son. After a time, Alma’s prayers were answered and his son (Alma the Younger) received a visitation. We more than likely will not be touched in such a manner, yet for Alma the Younger, this must have been a necessity. Maybe we need to loose a job, be betrayed by a loved one, or have some catastrophe before we realize that we need to make different choices. Can we take a good look at ourselves from the inside out and really see what direction our choices are leading us? Do we have the character to not only be self-aware but to make the needed change? Are we stuck and feeling we can’t go in any direction. Do we feel stale and unproductive? Are we able to provide for ourselves and loved ones in all areas of our lives? Do we make choices that affect our health negatively in all eight areas, for our families and ourselves? Do we need to completely step outside our comfort zone in order to start moving in the right direction?
Alma the Younger was stopped dead in his tracts by an angel and for days he was unable to speak or move. It was during this time he was taught about the end results of his choices. After he could see what he was doing to others, and only then, was he allowed to regain his health, to repent and to start moving forward. Only after this understanding or complete change of heart was he able to move forward and to achieve his destiny. At this point, he became a great healer for all with whom he came in contact. Are we here in this life just to be completely selfish, to only do whatever whim comes to us or is there a way to understand our sole purpose? Then with great soul-searching and character, change any or all habits and thoughts that prevent us from moving in a better direction. We CAN get out of our rut. We start with looking deep within and see what is really there.
I believe that we are made of two parts. Some may call it the soul, or the inner self, or our essence. Then there is the physical part of our being, our bodies. Scientists have done studies where they were trying to capture a person’s brainpower or essence right at the time of death, hoping and thinking that if they could capture some great thinker’s abilities and continue to use them, that we would be leaps ahead in the world. What they have found is that the body is rendered totally useless. The brain, soul, or essence is gone as soon as the body gives up life. There is a separation at this time. In order to find peace and progression while you are alive, these two parts need to work as one. Below is a diagram of a gingerbread person. On the outside there are spaces that have room to write in. This outside area or crust represents our ego or our thoughts on who we are outwardly. Take some time to write in each slot your thoughts on your life. For example you could write – I am a wife, or husband, a dancer, CEO, teacher, sister. Write any or all ideas of what you are involved in or the way you or others view you. Include your job, or status and most importantly your needs. Do you view your needs as having a huge mansion? Or do you view your needs as having just the amount needed to survive? How would you view yourself if you didn’t have this? What do you do and how do you live?

Write all this in the outside crust area on this gingerbread person.
I will call the outside of this person the Ego, and the inside the Essence.
Here are some feelings and emotions we feel in our ego:

1- Anticipation
2- Creativity
3- Importance
4- Stress / anxiety
5- Power
6- Sadness
7- Frustration
8- Loneliness
9- Uselessness
10- Being stuck

There are many more but I think you get the picture.

Some feelings and emotions we feel in our essence –
1- Love
2- Patience
3- Fruit of the Spirit
4- Humility
5- Service
6- Consideration
7- Concern
8- Empathy
9- Peace
10- Light

Our essence is our basic foundation from which we build everything we become, whether we choose to reach our purpose or choose to stay entirely with our ego. For instance, a child under 2 years of age shines in their essence until they start mimicking everyone around them. What are they mimicking? Is it how to use their essence or learning to hate, self indulge or just learning to be selfish?
How do we use our essence to make decisions? Deep down we know what is right or wrong. We have an idea of how our choices affect others. If the intent of our actions is to hurt others or if we are doing things just for our own well-being then maybe we are neglecting some inner direction.

If we were to drop our ego or the way we view ourselves, who would we be? If these things we wrote on the outside of this person were secondary in our lives instead of the only way we view ourselves, what would be the choices we make in our lives?
Lets say, for example, we had a choice to either hurry to get to work on time or to stop and help someone in need. Would we make our choice from our ego or our essence?
From this story about Alma it shows that he went through some hard times in order to have a total change of heart.
A challenge for us all is to again look at our ego side and then contemplate what is our true essence. The hard part might be to consider when making our daily choices — does it come from the essence or from the ego?
Our challenge in life is to find our purpose, then have the character to live it and share it.

Meditation, Spirituality Stress

Clearing the Mind

Scientific research over the last several decades has revealed that the most successful people use their minds differently than the average person. This is done through meditation.

Meditation is a state of concentrated attention on some thought or object of awareness. It usually involves turning your attention inward. By using meditation we learn to use the analytical side of the brain as well as the creative side of the brain. Most of us are more dominant to one side of the brain or the other.  Using both sides of the brain enhances our aptitude. Meditation can be used for personal development or to focus the mind on God, finding peace, or solutions to our problems.

Meditation is usually defined as a state of relaxed concentration on the reality of the moment or an experience when the mind is free of all thoughts. Your attention has been liberated from restlessness, focusing on a single object, invoking the guidance of a higher power. This can also be called centering, prayer, deep relaxation, self-hypnosis or contemplation. Successful people belong to those who have the ability to us both sides of the brain.

Believe in yourself and in your right to have what you seek. Believe that there is a solution to every problem. Believe that you have the potential to make greater things happen. Believe that you are worth it. Believe you can.

Anything you can conceive, believe, and genuinely desire, you can achieve when you apply your developed skills.

For example, changing the belief statement from, “I have so many problems that I’ll never be happy “ to “I will solve my problems and create greater happiness and health in my life.” This change has the potential of improving your living experience.  This is where meditation comes in. You can use this tool to change or enhance that basic belief system that is buried deep within your mind.

Can you imagine being able to achieve optimal health and achieve all your dreams with very little effort? You are entitled to have every happiness, success and fulfillment you can dream of. Maybe most of us are not aware of the help that comes from a greater source than ourselves. Imagine what it would be like to have it all. Imagine having health, great relationships, and monetary surplus.  There are laws that govern our ability to obtain these dreams.

We are living in a society with some of the greatest resources in history. We have some of the greatest teachers, greatest wealth, and some of the greatest doctors. Yet we have more divorces, new diseases, and so much war, contentions and general unhappiness. There is something wrong with this picture. We get so wrapped up in daily life that we forget that we can tap into something greater than ourselves and achieve more than we could ever accomplish on our own.

On the surface we think that if we just bulldoze through, things will get better. We are working ourselves to death and still not moving ahead. We are trying to build a tall building without building the foundation. We are creators and there are no helpless victims for any of us older than 18 years of age. We can use these laws and build upon them instead of living life like a bull in a china store. You can create anything you want. You do not have to settle for less.

I heard the story about a mom who had some old curtains in her living room. She said she didn’t like them and they were so worn out and ugly. When asked why she didn’t get new ones, her comment was that she couldn’t afford them.  So year after year she had the same curtains. One day someone told her she really must like the curtains or she would not still have them. If you really wanted them gone, they would be gone.  But how do I afford new ones?  That will come if you want it to.  Begin with getting rid of the curtains you do not like. When we keep old habits, and old thought process there is no room for new thoughts or in her case no room for new curtains.  In a few days she did have new curtains. She threw away the old ragged ones and cleared her mind to find a way to replace them. How do we do that with the mental clutter we live with everyday? How do we use this process to improve our health, to slow down the aging process, to improve relationships, to improve any area in our lives?

It is so important to let go of past problems, past failures and past difficulties.  In changing our deep inner thoughts, we can rise above. We need to let go of the ragged curtains in our lives to make room for better health, better relationships and become that person who is buried deep inside.

This process is a meditative state. The following will explain what you need to do. While in this meditative state you clear your mind to make room for problem solving, for healing of your self, to help others heal, or find what they need. In this state you can commune with that greater creator and allow room for inspiration and help.

This state also is a good stress reducer. It teaches how to completely relax in just a few minutes. Practice is what makes all things work better. Take 20 minutes everyday for meditation and you will find a total renewal of life.

Find a comfortable place and have on clothes that will allow you to relax. For me, I like to wear my morning sweats and just lay on the floor. You can’t get too comfortable because you don’t want to go to sleep. There is a difference between meditating and vegetating.  Now that you have your spot you are ready to start clearing your mind. Any time your mind starts to wander you need to bring it back to your meditation. This is not a time to think about the entire world revolving around you, or about the laundry, dishes and dinner.  This is a time for healing and inspiration.

Put on some music (no words) or a sound recording such as rain or water. This helps to keep the mind focused on what is at hand.

You start concentrating on the top of your head. Then move down the body to your toes.

1-Concentrate on the top of your head saying to yourself “Relax this portion of my body. Relax every cell every muscle, letting go of all my tension in this part of my body.”

2- The next part of the body is the face. Concentrate on the face saying, “Relax every cell, every muscle. Relax the muscles around the eyes and lips, then the cheeks.”

3- Move to the neck area repeating the same words and concentrating on these portions of the body.

You then move to the arms, the chest, the hips, the legs and the feet. After you have relaxed your entire body, you count backwards from 20 to 1. You can count from 10 to 1 or 30 – 1 which ever you need. As you do this, you feel yourself going deeper into relaxation.

4- Now think of a very peaceful place. For me, I like the beach listening to the water rush to shore. Maybe for you it could be sitting in the mountains, feeling the breeze blow on your face.

5- After you have visualized yourself in this peaceful place you can again count backwards from 10 – 1. You are now deeply relaxed and very open to inspiration. If you or someone you know is struggling with problems this is the state that you are able to help.

6- An example would be if you have a head ache you would visualize the pain leaving and energy entering in. You might  visualize the pain as a weed being pulled out, leaving  your head,  and flowers (new thoughts or ideas) being planted. Use whatever visualization you need in order to see the healing taking the place of pain. You could stay in this state for a few minutes or how ever time you feel is needed. It is a time to communicate with your greater power. You are more open to Heavenly Father’s instruction.

7- After you have spent the time needed in this meditative state, you can count from 1- 10 to come out, saying to yourself, “I am now awake feeling better than before, having greater health and peace than before. This is a new beginning and the rest of my life is the best of my life. I am now ready to help others in their journey.” You will feel very relaxed, the tension will have left your body.  With your new inspiration and energy, you will be better able to move forward on you destination.

This technique could only take 20 minutes or more if need. If you are short on time, a 5 min run down is better than none.

This can be used in any area of your life to help yourself or to help mankind.

The greatest health risks in our lives today is all stressed related. We tend to work ourselves to the bone instead of working toward our purpose. Take just this few minutes a day to help you realize your direction and the path to your destination, gaining health benefits along the way.