If your New Year's resolution has to do with fitness, your self-improvement goals may or may not help you to improve—but they will most definitely improve the situations of the already-rich, writes William Davies in Salon. "There is ... a particular affinity between consumer culture and that January dream of self-transformation," he writes. "The ‘new year, new me’ mindset of January is a rich opportunity for those wishing to sell us stuff." And nowadays, the situation is even worse, thanks to wearable tech: You can buy everything from a wristband that tracks your steps to a cup that tracks your drinks.
And since these items are designed to be used all year, "early-January neurosis ... is now becoming the normal condition of the digital technology user," Davies writes. When it comes to the companies that make these products, "Our anxiety is their revenue opportunity." It leads to some questions: "Who really is the self being optimized here, and who decides what ‘optimal’ means?" Davies writes. "Those lonely ethical aspirations to ‘be a bit more x,’ or ‘do a bit less of y,’ have become the centerpieces of a whole new industry. Even our moods are no longer entirely ‘ours,’ once they’re being tracked, monitored, and analyzed, albeit largely with our cooperation." Click for his full column. (Read more New Year's resolutions stories.)