Have you wondered why we make New Year's resolutions to change many things about ourselves, but sooner or later, we go back to our old self? Yes, we are only human, but there is something else. We want to change things about ourselves, but this can't happen without a change inside of ourselves.
Every new year, we want to do new good things, but unfortunately, shortly afterwards, we go back to bad habits. Why does this happen? Because we focus on the wrong thing. We want to change what we do, without improving who we are. Whether we admit it or not, what we do is determined by who we are. We can't improve what we do without improving who we are. When we improve the essence of who we are, everything we do will follow. I am talking about Character, or the totality of mental and ethical traits that characterize a person of ethical excellence.
In the early 1700s, a man by the name of Jonathan Edwards understood that change does not occur unless there is a strong intention to improve it. Edwards became known for his great accomplishments, but nothing he did would have happened without a strong determination to improve character.
Whether we know it or not, we all have a mission in this life. We can either ignore it, or we can pursue it. If you want to pursue it, I encourage you to project yourself into the future and think of yourself as an 80 year-old person and ask yourself, "What's the legacy I will leave behind if I continue the way I am living my life?" "How do I improve who I am, so I can improve what I do?"
We all want to do better things, but are we willing to examine our current self and resolve to improve it? Jonathan Edwards did this at a young age, and his determination brought forth incredible dividends, but he had to make tough decisions such as(1):
"Resolved, that I will live just so as I can think I shall wish I had done, supposing I live to old age."
Resolved, that I will live so as I shall wish I had done when I come to die."
If you can resolve to improve character, new and better things will follow.
(1) Excerpt from The Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards, 1722-1723)