New Year's Resolutions and Introspection
New Year's Resolutions seem to be ineffective. They rarely work, and the goals we set tend to wither away a few weeks into the new year. Instead of being Resolutions, they might more aptly be described as self-delusional, wishful thinking social phenomena.
Still, New Year’s Resolutions do have value: Introspection. Let’s explore what that means.
Introspection is the reason why journaling and meditation can have such a big impact on one’s behaviour. The reason we struggle with procrastination, or engage in otherwise self-destructive behaviour, is a failure of self-regulation. Even though an action is clearly bad, like playing video games for hours when we have a deadline looming, we still do it. To our own detriment! Note that, when engaging in self-destructive behaviour, we often don't even really enjoy it - the anxiety of knowing we are procrastinating on a deadline is constantly there. It's not a joyful thing. It's more like driving a car that is headed for a cliff, but you're powerless to turn the wheel.
The Absurdity of Free Will
You have free will. You definitely are responsible for your actions. Right?
After all, you could choose to do any number of things, right this very moment! You could (if only you wanted to) bring your hands together and clap; you could open your mouth and shout something obscene; you could even stand up and dance in circles.
You definitely have free will.
Or do you?
I’m going to argue the opposite. I do not think free will exists, certainly not in the way most people envision it.