Resolutions and experiments.

In three days, the ball will drop over Times Square. Twenty-ten will end over mini quiches and coconut rum. The next day, we’ll wake up in 2011 chock full of the urge to live out our new year’s resolutions. And shortly after, we will fail at it.


Oh, I kid. But I kid because while lots of us are miserable keepers of resolutions, there must be somebody somewhere among all people who can sincerely stick to it. I am not that person.

In 2010, for instance, I definitely made some new year’s resolutions. I don’t remember any of them. In fact, I have never kept one in my life. But last year, I also decided I’d conduct an experiment.

Twenty-ten would be my sugar free year. Excluding the added sugar in bread and crackers, condiments and alcohol, I’d live without it for a year. And to the dismay of naysayers and to the surprise of the people who know how I teeter along that blurry line between loving and being obsessed with chocolate, I — for all intents and purposes — succeeded.

I chose to quit added sugar because I got tired of feeling lousy after eating it and I know I don’t need it (and if I don’t need it, I don’t want it).

But I had a point in choosing an experiment at all. I picked the probably impossible and promised myself I’d accomplish it. I did it as a discipline and to stick it to the man.

I did it to prove that we are so much stronger than we’re told we are.

We live in a world where we’re certain we’d die if we had to go back to dial-up. We have cell phones and drive-thrus, instant music on iTunes and instant movies on Netflix. We can shop online, make new friends and work jobs without leaving home. None is necessarily bad. All are convenient. But where we live, we have never learned to treat conveniences like little blessings that help us out of binds. Instead, we depend on them. So we take the things we should expect in life and call them inconvenient — things like waiting in line at the grocery store or having to drive to Blockbuster. We percieve what’s convenient to be necessary, which, by default, inflates a person’s sense of entitlement and erodes his or her ability to wait. It communicates that what the world says is impossible is, in fact, impossible. And so we subscribe to that and stop trying.

It weakens us.

It’s why we are obsessed with instant gratification. It’s why your friends think you’re weird if you won’t eat fast food and why you hit a certain age and the assumption is you aren’t saving sex for marriage (or capable of it).

It’s why we can’t keep new year’s resolutions.

They tell us it’s probably impossible.

I am telling you that they are wrong.

I am not telling you that proving it is easy. When I woke up on New Year’s Day in 2010, I wasn’t really excited to start my sugar free year. I was horrified that after publicly professing to spend a year sans added sugar, I’d surely forget one day and eat some ice cream. I was afraid I’d be so weak I’d give in and give up and write “never mind, I quit because I really want a brownie” on my sugar free year blog.

But I did it. And I’m not bragging. I am thanking God that am stronger than the world says I am. And I’m not as scared about 2011’s experiment as I thought I’d be.

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Check back around New Year’s Eve to learn more about 2011’s experiment.