The Value of New Year’s Resolutions

My New Year’s resolution for 2009 is simple: to write more, and to make money doing it. The particulars of this resolution–how to accomplish it, the standards by which to judge its success–are not germane to this post’s point, which is: that New Year resolutions are valuable and laudable.

Alex Epstein of The Objective Standard agrees:

Given the devastated state of many Americans’ finances, our New Year’s resolutions will take on greater significance this year. To “get out of debt” was often a casually stated goal to be set as midnight approached and forgotten soon after; today it is rightly recognized as a fundamental necessity of life.

Unfortunately, the New Year’s commitment to self-improvement is widely viewed with cynicism—in part because New Year’s resolutions go so notoriously unmet. After years of watching others—or themselves—excitedly commit to a new goal, only to abandon the quest by March, many come to conclude that New Year’s resolutions are an exercise in futility that should not be taken seriously. “The silly season is upon us,” writes a columnist for the Washington Post, “when people feel compelled to remake themselves with New Year’s resolutions.”

But this attitude is false and self-destructive. Making New Year’s resolutions does not have to be futile—and to make them is not silly. Done seriously, it is an act of profound moral significance that embodies the essence of a life well-lived.

Read the whole thing as an antidote to anyone who tells you that New Year’s resolutions are silly or fruitless.

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