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FIRST-PERSON: A resolution to consider

ALEXANDRIA, La. (BP)–According to a poll conducted on USA Today’s website, 80 percent of Americans will make at least one New Year’s resolution. But research indicates that many of those setting New Year’s goals will have broken them by March.

Even though most of us have a history of breaking our New Year’s commitments, year after year we continue to make them. Why? I think it’s because deep down we really want to improve.

Among the most popular resolutions are commitments to lose weight, reduce debt and break a bad habit. These are noble aspirations and, if kept, would certainly have positive results. However, there is one area of life that is usually overlooked and one that will not only help us keep our resolutions, but also will impact virtually every area of our lives.

What is this important aspect of life that is often ignored? Attitude.

A mother and her pre-teen daughter embarked on a day of shopping. Several little things went wrong before the pair left home. To add to the day’s frustrations, traffic was snarled. Mom and daughter finally reached the mall a couple of hours behind the mother’s intended schedule.

At the first stop the mother was very short with a salesperson. As they exited the store, Mom huffed, “Did you see the look that woman gave me?” The little girl replied, “Oh, Mama, she didn’t give you that look, you had it when you went in!”

“This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it,” wrote the Psalmist. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” penned the Apostle Paul. These writers declare what many know to be true, and that is attitude is everything.

Several years ago, the Carnegie Institute analyzed the personnel records of 10,000 employees. The study concluded that 15 percent of success was due to technical training. The other 85 percent was the result of one factor: a positive attitude.

The Center for Creative Leadership studied 105 executives and found that successful leaders possessed stable, positive attitudes while the unsuccessful ones had outlooks that were unpredictable and critical.

A variety of Fortune 500 companies use the following criteria when considering individuals for an executive position: 1) Ambition, 2) ATTITUDE toward company policy, 3) ATTITUDE toward colleagues, 4) Supervisory skills, 5) ATTITUDE toward excessive demands on time and energy.

Your attitude is everything and will determine not only how you face each day, but also how you face life. A positive attitude will produce good results. “A cheerful heart has a continual feast,” observed the writer of Proverbs. He also wrote, “A joyful heart is good medicine.”

The good news about attitude is that we control it.

A man at a construction site opened his lunch sack and began to complain. “Not bologna again,” he whined. “I hate bologna sandwiches. I can’t stand them.” He lamented, “I don’t think I can eat one more bologna sandwich.” A friend asked, “Why don’t you ask your wife to make you something else?” The man moaned, “I can’t, I make my own lunch.”

Attitude is a matter of perspective. You can choose to have a “rejoicing in the day” attitude. A shoe tycoon dispatched two of his top salesmen to a remote area of Africa. In just a few days he received a telegram from both. One read: “No one here wears shoes. The prospect for success is remote.” The other read: “Send more inventory, no one here owns shoes.”

“A positive attitude won’t allow you to do everything,” motivational guru Zig Ziglar once said. “But a positive attitude will allow you to do everything better.” As you contemplate a New Year’s resolution, why not consider one that will affect every aspect of your life. Focus on cultivating a positive attitude.

Remember you choose the “look” you take with you. Why not choose one that is positive and pleasant? This is the day the Lord has made! Choose to rejoice! Choose to be glad in it!
Kelly Boggs, whose column appears each Friday in Baptist Press, is editor of the Louisiana Baptist Message.

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