I’m actually enjoying the Deseret News I get on Saturdays; it’s not the real Deseret News. I don’t know how to explain it. We get the Church News and then a section of Deseret News, which is mostly editorials (Daniel Peterson figures prominently). I don’t always read them carefully (what else is new) and parts bother me, but still…

I was caught by this headline “Goals Gone Wild” so I have read that, which was in last Saturday’s paper (actually dated Sunday, Nov 4). The author, Michael De Groote, points out the many flaws of goal setting and how goal setting can be self defeating, taken to a fault. He discusses how some goals motivate us to accomplishments for the wrong reasons.

Quoting Maurice Schweitzer, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, the author lists ten questions we need to ask ourselves to “avoid the dark side effects of goals.” Some of these are:
“are the goals too narrow?”
“are the goals too challenging?”
“Who sets the goals?”
“Is the time horizon appropriate?”

and this one I love “are individuals intrinsically motivated? Don’t smother motivation.”

It’s telling that the Eyre’s column headline reads “The thoughtful process of setting goals is a lot of fun.” I’m pretty much over Hyrum Smith, Steven Covey (God rest his soul) and the Eyres.

On a bit of a threadjack (why not get it over with) our Regional Rep has set a goal for our missionary efforts. We were all handed papers asking us to take a few weeks, prayerfully pick a family to convert and get on it. I’m frankly appalled at the lack of sensitivity in this no-nonsense, utterly business-like approach of bringing souls to God. I think it misses the mark and will ultimately be self-defeating. But you never know; we’ll get brownie points for supporting our leaders and maybe he really is inspired. Bill’s the ward mission leader, so I keep my mouth more shut than usual.

Last week in RS, our Nazi RS president handed the ward phone list around, instructing us to put our initials by the names of inactive families we were going to bring to church Nov 18, the special day set aside for missionary work. FIVE speakers (including Bill, who’s the most boring speaker I’ve ever heard) and NO music, barring opening and closing.

Well, this gets on my nerves in all kinds of ways. And yet again….I digress.

Lastly, I have to say that the times I’ve set goals have been my more productive times. Same for Bill and me; when we, at the beginning of the year, list the things we want to accomplish and schedule them, we accomplish them!

So I would agree with the author of this Deseret News column, and the professor he cites. Goals are fine, within reason. If the goal becomes more important than people, we have a problem. If we forget to love and gauge our—and other’s—value, based on the tasks we’ve accomplished, we’ve lost our way.