New Year's resolutions—with a spiritual edge

Along with the new year comes a feeling of opportunity and promise. For centuries people have welcomed the new year by identifying elements of their life they want to change, and committing themselves to making those changes. This week, millions of these 2004 New Year's resolutions are being tested for the first time.

Unfortunately, the failure rate for these resolutions is high—so high in fact, that many people stop making them at all. But the inclination toward self-examination and self-improvement is commendable and should be encouraged—year round. Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of this magazine, was a proponent of honest self-assessment. She wrote in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, "We should examine ourselves and learn what is the affection and purpose of the heart, for in this way only can we learn what we honestly are" (p. 8).

According to a study of New Year's resolutions conducted at the University of Washington, "The keys to making a successful resolution are a person's confidence that he or she can make the behavior change and the commitment to making that change." It's interesting that the two keys to success are both qualities of thought—confidence and commitment. This suggests the importance of gaining a clearer spiritual view of the issue—gaining a spiritual "edge." For instance, rather than trying to change an ingrained human trait through willpower or by hoping to become better, one can address thought directly. Thought is where positive change begins. And when thought changes, a bad habit or character trait has no foundation and can fall away.

This is the end of the issue. Ready to explore further?
January 5, 2004

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