I have a serious willpower issue – to be more specific, I really don’t seem to have any (so I guess it is a lack of willpower issue).  It took me a quite a few times to quit smoking and I kept on using any excuse in the book to start smoking again.  I finally did quit – it has been a year and a half and although I can never see myself starting again – but I do worry about it occasionally because of the whole willpower thing and I’m not sure I’d find enough willpower to quit again.

I have been trying to be more healthy – eat right, exercise, lose weight.  That lasted just a few months earlier this year.  Now I have an obsession with these….every single night.  (Isn’t chocolate supposed to be good for you?  And of course, I’m not going to bring up the martinis….)


I just can’t give them up!  I try….but I just need my after dinner fix of chocolate.  Sigh.  No willpower.

Haven’t I said repeatedly that I will not start new projects?  That I joined the UFOlympics to finish Larry’s Cobblestone?  Didn’t I say that in order for me to start something I had to finish a minimum of two projects – and that I was going to finish three by the end of August!

Yeah…but there is the little matter of my total lack of willpower…


Sigh.  I know.  Aren’t you so disappointed in me? 

I had to!  Once I saw the beautiful patterns in Twist Collective I was already starting to rationalize…after all, Larry can’t wear a sweater for months – same goes for the throw!  Why waste summer knitting on things we can’t use right away?  But once I saw Cleite by one of my favorite designers…I knew I was lost.  I obsessed about it for 24 hours and then started it.  I first tried it with some Colinnette Parisienne I had in the stash – gorgeous yarn but the mohair hid the stitch pattern.  So I went back to the stash and found some Woolen Rabbit Merino Lace in Moroccan Spice, and I think it works…


Nice, eh?  I’m on the second repeat and would have been further along had I not gotten lost in CraftLit tonight on the train and forgot where I was and have to tink back a row….

I will say – love the colors of the yarn, but it seems a little scratchy – maybe washing will help?  Anyone use this and have experience of it after its washed?  After the last couple of shawls in very soft yarn it is a different experience to not want to bury my face in it constantly.  (On the other hand, maybe it will go faster if I don’t do that all the time!).  The pattern calls for a size 3 needle – which I don’t have – so I’m using a 4 and I can’t imagine using a 3 – its pretty firm.   

I’m pretty happy with it, and only feeling slightly guilty about not doing my stupid UFOs (really – winter isn’t for months – plenty of time to finish things…)


Oh, what’s that?  Yeah, one more willpower issue.  I placed a Knitpicks order for their new sock yarn – Imagination.  Long story, terrible customer service…and I have one skein of yarn and a cancelled rest of order (I will say that after torturing me for a week or so, KP did refund me the cost of this one skein).  This is about 200 yards.  It seems like nice yarn – it is the Wicked Witch colorway.  (I am not linking to Knit Picks tonight to punish them, so you’ll just have to find it on your own.  But they won’t have more until September – just warning you!)


So how about a little contest for this skein of yarn – you can either find something to make with 200 yards of fingering weight, or wait until September and buy a second skein.  Or combine it with a solid?  Anyway, whatever the winner wants to do with it is fine with me (if you burn it, send me a picture – I’m holding a grudge tonight!). 

But wait – how do you get into the contest?  How about giving me some ideas to strengthen my willpower (please don’t suggest giving up martinis) – and it can be food, exercise, knitting or yarn buying related (again, notice how I avoided the chocolate/alcohol issues?).  I’ll give you until this Saturday to give me your ideas and then I’ll pick a winner.  If you have many good ideas, I’ll enter your name for as many ideas as you give me.  Oh, and I’ll probably add something to the yarn – because getting one skein of sock yarn in the mail is just plain sucky!

OK, off to knit the shawl…can’t wait to read your ideas!

33 Responses to Willpower

  1. I have the same will power problem and what works for me (when I do it, which isn’t right now because I have terrible will power) is keep a food diary I carry everywhere and enter everything. Then I go home, use calorie-count.com and find out how many calories it was and fat and all that. When I do it, I do really well.

  2. Stephanie says:

    I don’t think you have such a big problem with willpower. After all, you wouldn’t be coming up with finished objects as often as you do if you didn’t have ANY willpower! I’m impressed that you knit as much lace as you do, and finish so much of it. For me, lace shawls would take REAL willpower. I’m having far too much fun with these super-quick socks. (Socks are quick? The fact that I think that blows my mind.)

    Are the M&Ms the dark chocolate kind? Because then they’re better for you. 😉 Mm, wish I had some of those.

    Okay, willpower. Hmmm. Well it’s a lot easier to go exercising if you have a partner keeping you accountable. It’s that much harder to get out of bed and go run if you don’t have someone going with you. That’s basically the secret to a lot of willpower issues: get support and pressure from other people.

    Hope that makes sense.

  3. Lauren says:

    My best friend taught me a ‘trick’ that I’ve found really works: replace saying ‘I should/shouldn’t xyz’ with ‘I will/won’t xyz’.

    Saying you should/shouldn’t implies you’re not the master of your own self (and that you will in the end). By telling yourself what you WILL/WON’T do, it simultaneously makes you the master of your actions and banishes the implied guilt of the should/shouldn’t statement.

    Over time, you feel better and better about your successes and less and less inclined to blow it by giving in to your desires. In the end, you own your desires instead of them owning you. Very empowering.

    Whatever you decide- I wish you all the best! You deserve it! =) Sending a big supportive hug and virtual blueberries (to replace the chocolates, of course!).

  4. Carol says:

    Willpower? What’s that? I completely understand you. I need to lose a few pounds. My theory is I want someone to be able to notice it and say something. So I am aiming for my next hair appt as the goal to lose some visible weight. Doesn’t have to be a specific number, just some. The way I figure it, I see my hairdresser at the beginning of September, so that gives me about a month. I have stated exercising (again!sigh) so maybe the trick is to giv eyoru self a short term goal? not too huge and not to far away?

  5. Aim says:

    Hey. You don’t need to punish yourself for changing your mind! It’s a woman’s perogative, (wink, wink) But seriously, what worked for me in the past with limiting foods is to be SERIOUS about your abstinence for 5 days of the week, and give yourself full freedom every weekend to eat as much of your favs as you want. Pretty soon, the 5:2 ratio works in your favor–kinda like having your cake and eating it too (sorry ;o)

  6. travellersyarn says:

    The daily plate is an online free food diary that I use, and it works when I do it! Its free, and I’m not affiliated.

    As for exercise, try new things every so often, but only try to regularly schedule things that you like. I love walking with friends (and look forward to it), and can enjoy walking on a treadmill when I am listening to a knitting podcast (I like Cast on and Stash and Burn, and the Webs one). The knitting podcasts are bad, bad, bad for stash acquisition though!

  7. Jeanne says:

    Willpower is easier when you aren’t completely denying yourself. How about allowing yourself only 10 M&Ms a night? I have a serious weakness for them myself.

  8. What works best for me is not cutting anything out entirely – as soon as I do that it becomes a way bigger problem. I try to work under a reward system – finish something = more yarn or don’t eat junk all week = go out with friends for drinks. Usually my reward is something that would have happened anyway but I like to pretend it’s special.

  9. Awesome Mom says:

    I am in the midst of a yarn will power struggle. I want to buy yarn so bad but we do have a budget that I am trying to keep. Right now I am limiting myself to stash knitting, I can only by new yarn that is using gift money or will be used for a gift for someone else (which actually saves money for us). Winning yarn is kosher too *wink wink nudge nudge* This allows me to still buy some yarn with out just adding to my stash and forgetting about it.

    PS I would love to hear about your beef with knit picks. I have bought from them before and not had a problem.

  10. rivercitystl says:

    I say forget about willpower. Seriously, those M&M’s won’t hurt you long term. Enjoy them!

    I am addicted to Cinnamon Ice Breaker mints myself…I refuse to give up something so enjoyable and totally harmless!

    Live dangerously…never concern yourself with willpower again!

  11. Opal says:

    The new shawl is gorgeous! Enjoy life and follow your bliss!

  12. Louise says:

    You clearly have an addictive personality. You need to replace one (bad) addiction with another (good) addiction.

    Try replacing the M&Ms with an apple (you may need to buy a big bag of apples to start!). And the martini with one of something you can’t drink a lot of. Wine, maybe? Whatever works for you.

    I don’t know what to do about the yarn addiction… you’re asking the wrong group of people! But you could give me that coloured skein so it can clog up my stash box instead of yours. or eBay it? Because I don’t really expect you to post it to Australia. 🙂

    Do M&Ms go with martinis? I can’t have alcohol and chocolate in the same sitting – they just make the other taste really gross.

  13. Natasha says:

    Moderation is key. I’ve lost 25 pounds since May, and I don’t feel as if I’ve suffered at all. I started paying attention to serving sizes and portion control. The first few days were hard, because I was so used to eating a huge bowl of cereal or a huge hamburger, but once my body got used to smaller portions, I actually got to where I didn’t want a huge bowl of cereal…one serving (one cup) was enough.

    So maybe have one serving of M&Ms per night, one martini instead of two, that kind of thing. Good luck!

    P.S. I wanna hear about Knit Picks, too!

  14. lilypily says:

    Well I h.a.d. the same issues with a nightly chocolate fix. It started innocently enough – one square of 70% cocoa choc (you know…good for you and so rich you can only eat one piece). Well within a few months it was 3 squares, then finally 3 rows and so I’m going cold turkey and just not buying the stuff. If it isn’t in the cupboard I can’t eat it. I’m having serious withdrawals….perhaps all the frogging of late can be attributed to them…but I am NOT putting the weight back on again because of my sheer lack of willpower. 🙂 I recommend doing a Dr. Phil…empty the cupboards, bin it, and don’t buy more.

  15. chris says:

    Beautiful Shawl. The merino lace I worked with from Kim wasn’t scratchy at all – it will probably soften up after blocking.

    I think it’s not so much will power you need – but making your new “habits” stick around – and I’ve read you need to do something repeatedly for awhile for it to take. So that’s probably why the quitting smoking worked – it’s been 18 months. And maybe you can apply that to any new/old habits you want to break/aquire?

    Clearly, I haven’t had much luck with this myself….

  16. Jennygirl says:

    From one former smoker to another…great job. I know it’s not easy and I know how mean and jusgemental others can be. It’s been about a year for me and I needed some good pharmaceuticals to help me.

    Willpower….hmm…I try to get a mental image of myself doing what I want to do, and I think it helps. I think about walking and try to picture it, so that I will walk. Sounds corny, but it works for me.
    Weight loss….I just try my best, don’t beat myself up over falling off the wagon, and don’t assign a specific number of pounds to lose. Lose a couple pounds great. Eating better and exercising, makes you feel good anyway. Be happy with yourself 🙂

  17. Kim says:

    Willpower is a toughie. First of all, if you don’t have it, you can’t eat it. Don’t buy the things that you are trying to avoid. Set little goals; if you don’t have ‘x’ for one week, you will celebrate with a small reward of ‘x’ (or something else you want worse).

    I LOVE ice cream and decided to not have any for a week. Once the week was up I just never got around to eating any…but it is in the freezer right NOW! YUM. The second part of the plan was to go without bread for the next week and, uh, I didn’t do so well yet.

  18. melanie says:

    I’m a fine one to give advice — one look at a picture of m & ms almost sent me to the snack machine.

    I once read that you can delay your instant-gratification-jones by sucking on a lemon drop. It’s supposed to satisfy and delay. I haven’t found that it’s terribly useful for chocolate-cravings, but it can delay cookie-desires long enough to get me through my morning break, after which – well, I can’t eat cookies until lunch…

    One thing that works for me is to wash the dishes before dessert. Again, it delays the urge. Since I enjoy washing dishes, I’m substituting one nice thing for one scrumptious thing – but then, since the sink is empty, I might hesitate to create another dish to wash. (Please don’t think I’m crazy for enjoying dishwashing…)

    Of course, washing dishes uses up some calories, so a couple of m&ms just return you to status quo.

    I’m not being very helpful…

    (Beautiful shawl!)

  19. weezalana says:

    Chocolate has antioxidants.

    Why knit something you can’t enjoy for months?

    Everything in moderation.


    As you can see, I see no need to deny yourself the joys in life as long as they’re not harmful!

    P.S. I’m not a huge fan of KP myself, so I will gracefully decline entry into the contest. 🙂

  20. Lisa says:


    Chocolate – half the M&Ms and add in some dark chocolate (that’s the stuff that’s actually good for you) – no real willpower required. If possible switch to Peanut M&Ms – at least there’s some protein in there.

    Exercise – spin more! At least your feet will be moving.

    Knitting and yarn buying – stop being so hard on yourself…I’ve said it before – this is a hobby – it should be fun! There are so many ways to be down on yourself, don’t let your stash/UFOs/startitis become your enemy. Life is tough enough.

    Finally – manage expectations about yourself – you work full time, raise two sons and a daughter, manage a husband, pets and a household. Perfection is over-rated. Anyone who seems like a perfect knitter probably has bodies stashed in the basement. Don’t be that person. I like you with your so-called lack of will-power!

  21. lucette says:

    You have some great ideas listed in the comments. This is a tough subject and we all struggle in different ways. This is what I do. I take a walk every day, even a short one, and this gives me a time to step away for myself and think about the big picture. Sometimes just distancing yourself from yourself is helpful. And dont be so hard on yourself.

  22. Cookie says:

    I am never disappointed in you. It’s hard peeking your hands in your pockets when the world is so full of temptation. If you ask me, that candy company should be ashamed for being so good at what they do.

    Have you ever thought of switching to the mini ones? You could eat the same number of M&Ms, but the smaller ones would have fewer calories. Just a thought.

    Now I want chocolate. *L*


  23. Cookie says:


    Keeping your hands in your pockets. My dyslexia is showing.

  24. Suzanne says:

    Hmm, I have willpower issues, too. Any diet plan I ever went on had my treat (an ice cream sandwich) worked into it. I went to one gym and they fit it in. I could eat healthy all day as long as I knew I had that treat waiting for me at night. It worked back when I did it years ago, I lost about 25 lbs. I need to start walking, then I tend to eat healthier as I am exercising and if I work out, I really don’t want to eat too much.

  25. Shea says:

    I get ya on the will power issue. Chips Ahoy cookies are my weakness.

    The best solution? Don’t completely stop. You can cut down, but you don’t have to completely cut out the m&ms.

    If you have diet goals, just cut down the portion size. If you deny yourself completely, that will be all you think about. Then you’ll end up over indulging when you chow down on them. Trust me, I’ve been there and done that.

  26. tiennie says:

    I say everything in moderation!

  27. Lorraine says:

    Jeanne- Woolen Rabbit is one of my very favorite lace yarns, and I did buy that pattern (but haven’t cast on yet).

    There is no magic cure for lack of will power- I have absolutely none when faced with temptation. The only control I have is not to have it in the house.

  28. Jennifer says:

    The only thing that helps with my willpower is to set small goals, like I can’t buy any more yarn until I two FO’s, or I can’t play for 10 minutes on my computer, until I correct 10 papers.

  29. Ren says:

    it helps me to have prepackaged amounts of food to eat. instead of munching on a big bag of chips, i get the little single serving ones, etc. i think that’s easier because sometimes you start eating out of the big bag and lose track of how many you eat… i suppose you could portion out some m&ms that way or buy the little mini bags.

    i can’t believe how many shawls you knit! they all look gorgeous, too. : )

  30. nvrenough says:

    I think you are too hard on yourself. Seriously. You knit beautifully and the last project was a lunch bag for someone else, which doesn’t count. So you CO another project and eat M&M’s you are human, no? I would love to meet someone who doesn’t have a vice in this world. At least you can make things with yours. Be proud of it and say, “Yes, I buy yarn and I make beautiful things with it, so there.” You work your butt off and knit on the train to keep busy, it isn’t like you sit at home and knit idleing while not cooking dinner. And the m and m’s I say you deserve them. If you decide you want to stop, then I would only eat a certain amount per day and start weaning myself off of them. But I don’t see how that is a lack of willpower. I see that you have a lot of willpower in the things you do all day long including buying yarn, eating m and m’s, being a wife, a mother, a friend, working full time, and so many others, I can’t think. Rock ON!

  31. hakucho says:

    You know Jeanne…life is way too short! Just enjoy yourself…do what makes you happy as long as you aren’t hurting anyone it’s ok by me 🙂

    happy knitting 🙂

  32. rhoda says:

    ooo, that moroccan spice is gorgeous! I think I remember when you first purchased it because I loved it then too. As for willpower, just try to stick with dark chocolate and only buy dark. Easier said than done, I know because I’ve been known to both crave and desire a reese’s peanut butter cup (my absolute favorites!). If only they made them using dark chocolate. lol. the wicked witch is nice. sorry to hear about the poor customer service. 😛

  33. Wanda says:

    Sorry, no good advice. if I did, I’d feel obliged to actually use it.

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