The new year is well on its way by now. Your determination to stick to your resolutions is probably being tested. How’ve you been doing? Are you feeling successful? Or discouraged?
It all depends on how you get motivated!
Scientists at Newcastle University in England hung two different posters at a restaurant to see if customers would respond differently to a simple request on the poster, based on the visual design. Both posters asked patrons to clear their tables and put the trash in the garbage when they were done. But one poster had a picture of flowers and the other showed a pair of eyes!
Interestingly, the number of patrons who cleaned up after themselves doubled when the poster had a pair of staring human eyes, compared to when the poster had flowers!
Another study, several years earlier, found that contributions to an honesty box in a tea room almost tripled when images of eyes were used instead of flowers.
Apparently, being watched by a pair of fake eyes is enough encouragement for many of us to behave, follow orders, or do the right thing! Sometimes we all need to be “nudged” to make the best choices.
But wouldn’t it be wonderful if we did right things because deep down inside we actually want to do what is right, not just because we feel we’re being watched by real (or fake) eyes? If everyone’s motivation to do right came from the inside, there would be no need for locks, security, policemen, jails or courts. We’d choose to live and eat right, simply because it is the best.
The sad reality is that most of us need external prodding to do what is best. Just like the Bible says, “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?” (Jeremiah 17:9)
But we’re not without hope! Everyone who wants to exercise more, eat less, cook better, sleep more, stress less, watch less TV — or whatever wholesome changes you want to make — has a chance to let stubborn old habits turn into new ones if we let God change us from within.
Scripture says God wants to change our hearts for the best. “And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations.” (Ezekiel 36:26-27)
I want a changed heart this year! How about you?