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GOALS VS. WISHES

In the February 2008 edition of Fast Company, Chip and Dan Heath write about the difference between a resolution and a goal. The former is a wish, while the latter involves planning. They note that our mental attitude is key: "The psychologists Peter Gollwitzer and Veronika Brandstatter studied college students who had to write a paper about how they spent Christmas Eve. The catch was they were supposed to submit the paper by December 26. At this point, the paper is in resolution territory: It feels good to imagine yourself getting a good grade by writing the paper. But, as with January gym memberships, the outcome was not pretty. Only a third of the students got around to submitting a paper.

"A second group of students were given the same assignment, but were required to note exactly when and where they intended to write the report (i.e., 'in my Dad's office on Christmas morning before everyone gets up'). A whopping 75 percent of these students wrote the report. The act of visualizing yourself in Dad's office, writing your paper, changes the way you respond to the environment when you encounter it. Now when you see Dad's office chair, an association springs to mind: Get to work. You've managed to outsmart your future self. Dozens of studies have shown similar results. When people took the time to visualize exactly when and where they would do what they needed to do, they met their goals."

Think about your own goals for your church and your spiritual life—are you planning to achieve them, or are they still in the "resolution" category?

"Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established." —Proverbs 4:26

Glad Tidings of Good Things, Vol. 14, May 8, 2008, page 3