Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Moral Status of Resolutions

Happy New Year everyone!

So, you take this opportunity to make a New Years' resolution and a day, a week, a month later you break it. Where's the problem?

A resolution is a promise to yourself. Breaking a promise is going back on your word and this is morally forbidden. Of course, one also has the power to forgive contracts, if one is owed. If you have borrowed $20 from me, I have the right to demand back the money, but also the right to nullify the deal, to say, "Ahh, don't worry about it. Keep it." In the case of a resolution, you are both the maker and recipient of the promise.

In breaking the resolution, have you forgiven the obligation to yourself that you incurred? Is the problem that you've broken it without such a forgiveness? Is that even possible?