The Federalist contributor Jacob Trunnell wonders why people continue to repeat making New Year’s resolutions every year—as though just making about those resolutions and bragging about them is in itself a sense of self-accomplishment:

I hate New Year’s resolutions. They are a polite conversation piece while at a party with friends and family. It is a bunch of worthless empty talk, and the worst sort of virtue signaling possible: promising something but failing to do it.

Why do we put off doing the thing we need to do, and why are we slow to stop doing the things we need to stop doing? New Year’s resolutions—and Lenten sacrifices, for that matter—are a trap: they show us exactly how full of baloney we are.

When we procrastinate, we are not thinking in the present tense, but stuck worrying about the past and the future. I have found that making decisions in the present as situations come up has much better results that actually stick. Instead of making New Year’s resolutions, I make resolutions year round. A more frequent habit of self-reflection makes changes more likely than assuming we can jump cold-turkey into new ways of living.

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