New Year's Resolutions

Here we go again. This is where Magical Thinking meets Enlightened Acceptance.

Here are some examples of Magical Thinking:

jewelquest.jpg1.)   I’m going to lose 15 lbs. this year.

2.)  I’m going to eat right this year (less sweets and fat).

3.)  I’m going to walk the dogs more often.

4.)  I’m going to read more rather than play Jewel Quest on the computer.

5.)  I’m going to re-do the garage/kid’s room/my office, without spending any money.

6.)  I’m finally going to read that material about learning to do books on tape for extra money.

7.)   I’m going to plan meals more so that everyone in the house isn’t grazing the whole day, including me.

Now, here are some examples of Enlightened Acceptance:

1.)   I’d really like to lose 15, but I might lose 5. Either way, I need to feel good in my own skin and accept the fact that I’m not going to get any cuter. Besides, I hate exercise with white heat intensity.

2.)  I’m always going to like sweets, and unless I’m facing some life threatening illness (and I don’t even know if that will effect it) that’s just not gonna change. If they can put a man on the moon, why the fuck can’t they make a Brie that doesn’t kill you?

3.)  I can’t wait for the dogs to die.

4.)  I can’t un-ring that bell.

5.)  You’re not Martha Stewart.

6.)  I’m finally going to read that material about learning to do books on tape for extra money.  I’ve got to make enough for college tuition AND the many cosmetic procedures I want to have.

fruits_vegetables.jpg7.)  My husband has decided to be a vegan. My kids don’t trust anything new and if they like it once they don’t like it again.  Planning meals is a thankless goat-fuck. I’m going to continue to try, and continue to fail and feel guilty that I’m not feeding anyone a balanced diet.

I’ve often wondered if Magical Thinking is so bad. Really, it's as motivating as the concept of Hope. Now, the trick for me is telling myself that Enlightened Acceptance isn’t a fancy expression for the Death of Hope. 

I’ve tried to strike a balance. I believe in making dreams come true. I’ve done it for myself and without dreams life can be pretty grim. I’ve gone back and forth between cursing the darkness; the tyranny of the New Years Resolution.  Or, embracing the concept of change and transformation. Getting out of a rut and old patterns that hold us back. It can and does happen. Look at how our country has risen to the occasion of just such a thing in electing Barack Obama. Hey, that means I CAN lose that 15 lbs!


Laraine Newman is a founding member of The Groundlings Theatre Company and an original cast member of Saturday Night Live.  She lives in her hometown of Los Angeles with her husband and two daughters.