Some people today are inclined to think they are stuck, or unable to change the direction they are headed in life. My teenage son often laments, "I guess that's just how I am!" My response to his copout is always the same: You can change, you just have to decide you want to and start again and again.

Similarly, regardless of who you are, what you have or have not done or your current situation, you can change and become better. This change is most often possible through the atonement of Jesus Christ. We need to not be discouraged when we meet setbacks, but resolve to start again tomorrow.

Don't give up

In a recent address, religious leader Donald Hallstrom explained, "... once any of us conclude - 'That's just the way I am,' we give up our ability to change. We might as well raise the white flag, put down our weapons, concede the battle and just surrender - any prospect of winning is lost." Sometimes, when life gets tough or habits are hard to break, it is human nature to give up. Giving in to our weakness invites more weaknesses to take over.

Think of a small child who is learning to tie his shoes or learning to ride a bike without training wheels. Do we, as parents or mentors, allow him to quit? No! We encourage and help him achieve his goal. Likewise, we need to persevere and keep striving to improve ourselves and meet our goals. We should never settle for the "that's just the way I am" mentality and give up on ourselves.

We are a work in progress

If you consider where you were five or 10 years ago compared to now, how much have you changed? How much improvement have you made? Are you better or worse? We are meant to become the best version of ourselves by the time we leave this life. "... Who we are is not who we can become... His atonement gives every one of us - no matter our weaknesses, our frailties, our addictions - the ability to change... with the hope that our future, no matter our history, can be better," Hallstrom suggested.

We are a work in progress. We must continue to amend, edit, change, rebuild, fix and even alter our choices, lives and habits. Just because we may fall short of a goal, does not mean we stop trying. We can reevaluate and adjust goals as needed - polishing and smoothing our rough spots along the way. Through this process, we become refined and a better version of ourselves.

You can inspire positive changes in others

Through love, faith and example, you can influence others to become better people. Parents, teachers, leaders, relatives and friends can aid each other toward progression. Rather than adding to the darkness of the world, use your gifts and talents to lift and inspire others. Your words, deeds and attitudes can be contagious examples for others to emulate. Seek out ways to help others through service. If this is hard, God is more than willing to open your eyes to others' needs when you ask him through prayer. God needs us to be willing servants to act in his behalf. As we do this, others will be filled with hope to make changes in their life and heart.

Largely because of the Atonement, we have hope that we can change and become better people. We are not stuck. We don't need to succumb to thoughts of mediocrity or failure. By persevering and continuing to seek improvement in our lives, we can become improved versions of ourselves, while inspiring and helping others to do the same.

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