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The Boston Globe

Ideas

What New Year’s resolutions say about us

You may not get to the gym this year. But you might learn more about who you are.

If you’re reading this on New Year’s Day, there’s a good chance you’ve made a few resolutions. Drawing up a new set of resolutions can be a bracing, hopeful, even comforting ritual. If you succeed, you’re the better for it, and if you fail — well, try again next year.

A resolution seems like a simple thing: a promise we make to ourselves to change. But in recent years, philosophers and psychologists have been focusing on resolutions — the promises we make to ourselves not just on New Year’s, but throughout our lives — and have concluded that there’s far more going on than we might realize.

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