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November 1, 2017

Learning Life Skills: Disciple Leadership and Setting Goals

Sandra deepened her testimony by setting goals and studying her scriptures

A mother with an unfinished degree. An employee with limited career options. A young man with an academic dream. A Relief Society teacher with doubts about learning. Each overcame their trials by learning and applying life skills.

Through PathwayConnect’s Life Skills course, four students learned to broaden their academic and career paths. This is their story.


“The Pathway Life Skills course helped shape me into being a better disciple of Christ by setting goals.”

Sandra Goodwin, of Walla Walla, Washington, felt discouraged when it came to learning — she struggled with school growing up and often wondered if she was capable of higher education. Sandra’s discouragement in school also impacted her confidence in learning spiritually. Longing for a new way to learn, Sandra fervently prayed for a way to better study the scriptures and grow closer to her Heavenly Father.

From her prayers, Sandra received a prompting to join PathwayConnect. Soon into her first online course, the words “Disciple Leadership” read on the computer screen — illuminating Sandra’s eager face. This was exactly what she was looking for. PathwayConnect’s Life Skills course held the answer to Sandra’s prayers and gave her confidence in her decision to go back to school. Through applying what she was learning, Sandra saw how setting spiritual goals was the way to strengthen her testimony.

Spiritual Development Through Setting Goals

PathwayConnect’s Life Skills class taught Sandra how to set goals and develop good habits. Having the desire to improve her scripture study, Sandra made some commitments. Every morning, Sandra woke up a half hour earlier than usual so that she could read and ponder the scriptures. This new habit taught Sandra how to improve her study of the scriptures and prepared her to teach others the gospel.

Sandra has been able to share her testimony and new scripture knowledge with her family.

“Seven months after setting my goal, I am still getting up early and now going to bed sooner so I can wake up to read,” Sandra said. “When I was called to teach in Relief Society, I felt like I had to confidence and skills to do it.”

As Sandra deepened her discipleship and strengthened her testimony, she noticed the influence it was having on her friends and family. Through sharing how PathwayConnect has helped her grow spiritually and academically, several of her friends are now enrolled in the program.

“I love sharing my PathwayConnect experiences because it is the best thing I’ve done in a long time,” Sandra said. “Through my daily scripture study, I have grown closer to my Savior and become a better example to those around me.”

Tips for Setting Spiritual Goals

Sandra found that goal setting helped her on the path of discipleship. It can be a tool that helps others, too. Here are some ways to set spiritual goals and deepen one’s discipleship to Christ:

  • Start with a small goal and slowly make it a little more challenging
  • Read scriptures or general conference talks about your goal to get motivated
  • Create small reminders, such as notes placed somewhere noticeable or utilizing a smartphone app.
  • Set aside a certain time each day, week, or month to work on the goal.
  • Have a time frame to accomplish the goal and plan a reward for reaching it on time.

When setting spiritual goals, it is important to avoid setting a standard that is not achievable.1

Elder M. Russell Ballard said, “Set goals that are well balanced — not too many nor too few, and not too high nor too low. Write down your attainable goals and work on them according to their importance. Pray for divine guidance in your goal setting.”2

Sandra now enjoys teaching others the gospel, and feels she is a better example to her daughters.

Learning to Learn

Enrolling in PathwayConnect has not only fulfilled Sandra’s spiritual desires, but gave her confidence in college courses — something Sandra never thought she would feel confident about.

“PathwayConnect has helped me to realize that I can do things I didn’t think I could do — both spiritually and temporally. I will be forever grateful for this program and the blessings it has brought into my life,” said Sandra.

Sandra’s husband has seen her spiritual growth and been her support in setting goals.


This is the last article in a four part series highlighting the different ways PathwayConnect’s Life Skills course can impact students’ lives. Part one shows how Lyza brought lifelong learning into her home. Part two is about how John applied time management at work. Part three shows how Vitali, a BYU-Idaho student, learned to learn with the Holy Ghost.


Learn more about the PathwayConnect courses at byupathway.lds.org.

1. ^ GS120 Life Skills Course, “Lesson 03: Disciple Leadership”
2. ^ M. Russell Ballard, “Keeping Life’s Demands in Balance,” 157th Annual General Conference, April 1987

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