Today, with the start of a new year almost upon us, I would like to talk to you all about goal setting. Many people set goals and resolutions at the beginning of a new year, but few people actually accomplish those new year's resolutions. As I have mentioned in a previous email, we can learn so much from following the examples that we find in the scriptures. So, let's see what we can learn about setting and accomplishing goals from an example in the Book of Mormon.
We begin our story with a "large and strong" man whose name was Amalickiah. It is said that "Amalickiah was desirous to be a king". That was his overall goal. His resolution for the new year, if you will. In order to accomplish this goal, he created a plan. He began to campaign for the right of kingship "and there were many...who believed in the flattering words of Amalickiah". He began to gain some support among the people, but, as so often happens with our first attempt to achieve a lofty goal, things did not go exactly according to plan. A very influential man named "Moroni, who was the chief commander of the armies of the Nephites, was angry with Amalickiah". This Moroni fellow began a counter campaign against Amalickiah and ended up seriously hindering Amalickiah's efforts to accomplish his new year's resolution. In fact, Amalickiah ends up getting driven out of the land and has to flee to a different country. That's a pretty big set back!
Much like Amalickiah we to may encounter some unexpected opposition when we begin our journey toward self-improvement this new year, but let's continue the story to see how Amalickiah overcomes this obstacle.
So now Amalickiah goes over to the land of the Lamanites, who graciously receive him, and he reevaluates his plan. He still "is desirous to become king", but obviously he can't accomplish that all at once. He needs to break that big goal into bite-sized little goals.
Goal number 1: Get in the good graces of the King of the Lamanites.
Well, at this time there's a little bit of strife within the kingdom of the Lamanites. The king is wanting to go attack their enemies, the Nephites, but there's a large group of people that disagree with this decision. So, they igore the kings proclamation to prepare for war and separate themselves from the main body of Lamanites. Amalickiah sees this and offers to help the king with his problem. "Now it came to pass that the king was wroth because of [those who were disobedient] ; therefore he gave Amalickiah the command of that part of his army which was obedient unto his commands, and commanded him that he should go forth and compel them to arms."
Goal number 1 accomplished!
Goal number 2: unify the disobedient faction and those that are obedient to the king.
So, Amalickiah goes down to where the disobedient faction is camped out, and then, while his own army is sleeping, he arranges a meeting with the leader of this other group. That leader's name is Lehonti.
"And it came to pass that when Lehonti had come down with his guards to Amalickiah, that Amalickiah desired him to come down with his army in the night-time, and surround those men in their camps over whom the king had given him command, and that he would deliver them up into Lehonti’s hands, if he would make
him (Amalickiah) a second leader over the whole army."
"And it came to pass that Lehonti came down with his men and surrounded the men of Amalickiah, so that before they awoke at the dawn of day they were surrounded by the armies of Lehonti."
"And it came to pass that when they saw that they were surrounded, they pled with Amalickiah that he would suffer them to fall in with their brethren, that they might not be destroyed. Now this was the very thing which Amalickiah desired.
And it came to pass that he delivered his men, contrary to the commands of the king. Now this was the thing that Amalickiah desired, that he might accomplish his designs in dethroning the king."
Goal number 2 accomplished!
Goal number 3: become leader of both armies.
"Now it was the custom among the Lamanites, if their chief leader was killed, to appoint the second leader to be their chief leader.
And it came to pass that Amalickiah caused that one of his servants should administer poison by degrees to Lehonti, that he died.
Now, when Lehonti was dead, the Lamanites appointed Amalickiah to be their leader and their chief commander."
Goal number 3 Accomplished!
Goal number 4: become king of the Lamanites.
So, Amalickiah returns back to the king, and the king is really excited because he sees this really great a army that he thinks Amalickiah has amassed for him. He goes out to meet Amalickiah and "behold, as the king came out to meet him Amalickiah caused that his servants should go forth to meet the king. And they went and bowed themselves before the king, as if to reverence him because of his greatness.
And it came to pass that the king put forth his hand to raise them, as was the custom with the Lamanites, as a token of peace, which custom they had taken from the Nephites.
And it came to pass that when he had raised the first from the ground, behold he stabbed the king to the heart; and he fell to the earth.
Now the servants of the king fled; and the servants of Amalickiah raised a cry, saying:
Behold, the servants of the king have stabbed him to the heart, and he has fallen and they have fled; behold, come and see."
So then Amalickiah blames the murder on the servants who fled, goes and testifies to the queen that the kings servants murdered her husband. So then while the queen is in mourning for her dead hubby, Amalickiah swoops in and marries her thus becoming king.
See how much easier it is to accomplish your goals when you plan ahead and break them up into smaller, more easily accomplished goals! I hope that you can all follow the example of Amalickiah this new year, and actually accomplish your goals despite any initial setbacks 🙃