He lived in the 16th century, but what would Michel de Montaigne, the French author commonly credited with inventing the essay, think of new year resolutions? British academic and Montaigne biographer Sarah Bakewell responds: "He was inclined to a sort of puzzled self-acceptance. Even if some past actions no longer made sense, he was prepared to believe that they had seemed right when he did them. He would have accepted any future variations or failings in the same way. So no, I can’t imagine him making resolutions. And if he did, I suspect he woudn’t keep them."