For the first time in my life — since the Coreys were in office, anyway — I have entered the new year without making a single resolution.
No weird beet juice diets. No hopeful Martha Stewart chore checklists. No complicated charts mapping out my attempts at friendliness, increased water intake or timed expressions of love.
No, this year I am simply going to be unfettered and see what happens.
So mature, self-actualized and Zen of me, right?
Yep, that’s pretty much how I roll these days. Mature. Self-actualized. And very, very Zen.
And let me tell you, it was refreshing and liberating — in a deeply spiritual sense — to wake up on New Year’s Day and know I had nothing on my to-do list other than “just be Liz” .... oh, and “find all the Tylenol in the world, clean up my champagne vomit, which is all over the kitchen, and apologize to my husband ... pretend to know what for.”
Other than those things.
So, soooo spiritual.
Anyway, even though I am firmly resolution- and self-expectation-free this year, I did take the time to read an article on Boston.com about the concept of willpower — or, as it’s commonly known, “Just one more bite, Liz ... OK, just one more bite, Liz ... no ... don’t do it ... don’t you do it! ... OK, do it—YOU ARE SO FAT!!!”
According to psychologist Roy Baumeister and science journalist John Tierney, authors of the book, “Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength” — which I did not read (and probably never will read) because the words “celebrities” and “without makeup” are not in the title — willpower can be strengthened or weakened in much the same way that muscles can be.
It’s an interesting theory, really, and had I had this information in 2011 it perhaps might have changed my anti-resolution stance because it means that having the ability to pass up cupcakes and cocktails isn’t just innate or a matter of mental determination or a function of the power of your beliefs.
All things I very much lack.
What Baumeister and Tierney instead contend is that willpower is something you can work on and increase. Something you can practice and gradually make stronger.
Or at least that’s my take on the whole thing. Granted, I did not have the self-discipline to finish reading this article so I am unable to tell you how it ended but I can tell you that Russell Brand and Katy Perry are in a lot of trouble with the Hindus for their upcoming divorce (and that Russell Brand is a “crazy man”). I can also tell you that “Real Housewife” Brandi Glanville live-tweeted her soon-to-be-annulled drunken Vegas marriage on New Year’s Eve (“I’m married again — suuuuuuck it!”).
And, lastly, I can tell you that, guess what, I just don’t have the willpower to work on my willpower. Who are these people with their theories? Just give me all your cupcakes and cocktails, and no one will get hurt. OK, 2012?
Liz Farrell is the editor of Lowcountry Current. Follow her at twitter.com/elizfarrell.