The New Year allows us the opportunity to reflect on the past as well as the potential changes that we would like to make in our life.  A healthy reflection allows us to survey our past accomplishments, deeds, and behaviors, as well as our downfalls.

The ability to “begin anew” is a means of “bouncing back” and creating the opportunity to be  resilient.  This reflection allows us to be hopeful, and see the coming year with promise and as an adventure.

The door is open. May you find your purpose, your happiness, and the resilience to become all that you truly desire.


  1. Focus on intentions.  We are more successful when we look at an intention such as losing weight, or becoming fitter.  We limit our success when we put limits, demands and musts into the equations– such as I must lose 50 pounds, I must save $5000, or I must find a new job.  “Musts” create expectations that can lead to failures.
  2. Set goals that are consistent with your values.  For instance, if you decide that you want to enjoy more of life it would be inconsistent to take on 5 new massive projects at work.  Those goals and values are not consistent.  If you decide you want to change something, make sure that you get out of your own way so you can accomplish your desires.
  3.  Dream big and hope for movement.  Dreamers are optimists who move toward goals– the key is moving towards…  The key to success is to see the possibilities and to acknowledge all the steps you make towards your dreams in 2018.
  4.  Forget deprivation.  Depriving yourself of anything creates more desire to move toward that item.  Restrictions and punishment are not successful means for creating change and resolution. Instead of looking at restrictive diets or budgets, find ways to set goals that are realistic and attainable.
  • The most important key to successful resolutions is to break down the goal into little steps and reward your accomplishments along the way– if you do this, 2018 will be a healthier and happier year for you..



Your eye begins to twitch, you start to have sleepless nights, and you can’t seem to find all the countless notes you wrote to yourself filled with “to-dos.” It must be that time again—the Holidaze! Welcome to that time of year where our society and the commercial world slams us with messages to overspend, over-indulge, over-do, and over-eat. Welcome to the holiday season 2007!

During this time period, the common mantra spoken by humans appears to be questions such as… “Are you ready for the holidays?” Have you done your shopping? How much many more presents do you have to get? Have you started cooking for the holiday meals?”

Most people would agree, November and December are the most stressful months of the year.
• Did you know that during this time period the number of visits to physicians increase?
• Did you know that emergency rooms are filled to the brim during the holiday season?
• Anxiety seems to spread like wildfire, and tempers seem to flare at the drop of a hat.
• Our bank account goes lower and lower and our frustration level seems to rise beyond comprehension.

What happened to the concept that the holiday season was a time of joy and happiness?

Try something different this year by really “noticing” and being aware of what you are feeling during this holiday season. Ask yourself if you are doing things out of obligation or because you really love whatever you are doing. What would you rather do? What would make you happy this holiday season? What do you really see as realistic expectations of yourself?

Try this… take out a piece of paper and make three columns. On the first column write “love it,” on the second column write “neutral feelings,” and on the third column write “hate/resent it.” Now list all the things that you normally do during the holiday season and place it in one of those three categories. You know, list things like going to the company holiday party, making fruitcake for everyone you know, going to a neighborhood get-together, buying presents for your distant aunts and uncles, making up your holiday letter to send to everyone you know in North American replaying the past 11 months of important life changing events.

How many of the things you listed feel like “shoulds, ought to’s, or must do’s?” If you decided not to give in to these inner demands, what would you do with all your time? Record some of those ideas in the love column. Make a commitment to yourself to make this year different by doing more things on your “love it” list and less things on the “hate/resent it” list.

I once read something about Halloween, which appears to fit for most people. It went something like this…“Why is the scariest holiday the most joyful, and the most joyful holiday the scariest?” Perhaps because on Halloween we allow ourselves to do what we love, and during Chanukah and Christmas we force ourselves to do so many things that we really hate or resent due to expectations of others and demands that are internally motivated by societal pressure.

It would be a gift to yourself if you just looked at your “Love it” list and start scheduling those items on your calendar. The ultimate goal is to become more aware of what makes you happy and what is really important during the holiday season. Perhaps one way to do this is to give your “presence” to your loved ones, instead of worrying so much about the “presents.” Your loved ones don’t need more presents from you, as much as they need you to be more “present” with them. Make this year a “holiday” season instead of a “holidaze” season.



You may have recently noticed the term “mindfulness” appearing in mainstream news, pop culture, and possibly even in your child’s homework assignments. Is mindfulness the next new thing, a passing fad, or a temporary cultural sensation? Hopefully not. The concept of mindfulness has been the cornerstone of many religious and meditative traditions for centuries. Let’s try to sort out what it’s all about, how it may be able to help you, and what it can’t do.

To be mindful is to be the opposite of mindless. MindLESSness is the epitome of not paying attention, of moving through life on autopilot. When we are mindless, we may be racing about, multitasking, and trying to solve too many things at once. Do you ever find yourself “everywhere but here?” Our minds will frequently take us to visit the past or to wonder about the future. The demands of modern life often have us on a tight schedule with many things to keep track of. We find ourselves racing about, multitasking, unaware of what’s happening around us, hearing without listening and incessantly checking our electronic devices, smartphones, tablets, and social media sites. Our modern-day culture grooms us to multitask, go and do, to accomplish, to be productive. We need to be able to accomplish goals and meet deadlines, but it’s easy to suddenly find ourselves in overdrive and overwhelm.
MindFULness is a way to approach life. It’s a lens through which you can view, approach, and experience the world which is distinctly different from our common default mode of autopilot.
To be mindful is to come to the senses and to purposely become fully aware of all that this present moment can offer.
Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction pioneer, Jon Kabat-Zinn, defines mindfulness as the following:

“The awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally, to the unfolding of experience moment by moment, in the service of self-understanding and wisdom.”

We can talk about it, discuss it, and think about it, but the only way to really benefit from it is to PRACTICE it.

You can return to the present moment any time you become aware that you are being mindless. Gently nudge your awareness back to your breathing and then to what your senses notice is happening around you right now.

What do you see?
Can you describe it without labeling or judging?
What are the sounds that you notice?
Describe every detail that you can.
Notice, just notice without the need to change the experience you are having. Just accept it for what it is and notice all that there is. You are right here right now at this moment. Notice all that this moment can offer. Notice your internal experience of thoughts, bodily sensations, and any emotions arising. There is no need to attach to any of these sensations or experiences. Simply notice them as they arise. You can pretend that you are on a train and your experiences are scenery that you’re passing by. Notice these experiences as they come and go.

Contrary to how it may seem, mindfulness practice is not necessarily conducive to relaxation. In fact, practicing mindfulness can help us to feel more awake, aware, alert, and present to the here and now and all that it can offer.

As you become adept at the practice of mindfulness, you will likely begin to notice how you are conditioned to label experiences as good, bad, pleasant, unpleasant, or otherwise. How often we narrate our sensory experiences and judge them! We are deeply conditioned to do this. It feels counterintuitive to simply sit and notice. We have difficulty valuing an activity if we are not producing a result of some kind. It’s difficult to know the benefits of a mindfulness practice if you’ve not tried it for yourself.

It is important to be compassionate with yourself as you begin a mindfulness practice or try it for the first time, as it is so different from our common approach to life.

What are the benefits of mindfulness practice? You can practice mindfulness at any time. Any time you become aware that you are not being mindful, simply embrace that awareness. Mindfulness can help to calm the stress response and to help us feel a bit more grounded and at ease, which can in turn help us to approach our lives in a more clear-headed and even-tempered manner. Mindfulness practice alone will not likely cure anxiety, depression, or other mental health challenges, but they can help to provide a framework through which you can begin to address these issues in therapy. For more information about mindfulness, visit the website



As the holiday season progresses, many of us will find ourselves in situations and at gatherings where food is abundant. Humans deal with such a spectrum of dilemmas around eating habits. If we are fortunate enough to live without food scarcity, often the opposite problem presents – an abundance of highly palatable foods! These foods are incredibly enjoyable to eat and are part of our social traditions.
The human brain and body have wonderful protective mechanisms in place to guard against survival threats, including starvation. Physical hunger (stomach growling,), appetite (a desire for and a drive to consume food), and metabolism downshifting are among some of these mechanisms. While useful in a famine, these survival mechanisms coupled with an abundance of highly palatable foods can make it difficult for us to resist overeating. Our biology causes us to be drawn to highly caloric and highly palatable foods. Most of us can relate to sitting down to a meal and suddenly we realize our plate is empty, but we can’t recall much about the food that we just ate. Learning to eat mindfully is way to consciously adapt to this food environment.
As an alternative to simply restricting foods that are less-nutritive, eating mindfully can help us to cultivate a healthier relationship with food, to be more in touch with our eating experiences, slow down to enjoy and savor food. Mindful eating is not a diet, nor does it involve restricting any types of foods. Mindful eating does not demonize any food types. It is not concerned with food being good or bad. It is a way to simply become more attuned to our eating patterns and experiences.
To practice mindful eating, first define the portion of what you plan to eat by putting the food on a plate or bowl instead of eating from a container. This allows us to work on gratitude and acceptance of what amount is enough.
Next, as you prepare to begin eating, spend a moment to reflect on having gratitude for this meal. Reflect on your intention to slow down and really appreciate and savor the qualities of the food. Take some slow deep breaths as you do this.
Before you pick up your fork, use your senses to notice as much as you can about the food on your plate. Notice the colors, textures, and shapes. Next, take a few moments to notice the aromas of the food. Find some words to describe what you see and smell without labeling anything as good or bad. By using our senses of sight and smell, we are much more in touch with the qualities of the food we are preparing to eat. Often, we are only focused on our sense of taste.
Now, as you begin to put a bit of food on your utensil, be conscious of making your first bite a small one. As you bring the food into your mouth for that first bite, notice the flavors and textures of the food. As you begin to chew, notice and describe as much as you can about it. Continue eating in this manner. Remember to put your utensil down from time to time to, once again, notice appearances and aromas. If you truly embrace these techniques over time, you will notice a change in your relationship with food. Research demonstrates that mindful eating can help us to change how we view food and what we expect from food. People often notice that they feel full or satisfied more quickly when they are eating mindfully

Remember these quick pointers to boost your chances of success.

o Define portions before you start eating
o Take moderately sized bites
o Chew each bite slowly and thoroughly
o Notice texture, flavor, and aroma – use your senses
o Put the utensil down between bites or if taking a drink
o Refrain from reading or watching television during meals
o Eat at the kitchen or dining room table

This takes persistence and training, but it is well worth the effort. Planning meals and snacks can assist you in changing your relationship with food as well. You can enjoy and savor the many blessings of food during this holiday season!

The Center for Mindful Eating offers a wealth of information on this topic.


Feeling stuck in a negative mindset is not only uncomfortable, but it tricks us into seeing ourselves, others, and the world in a negative way. It’s normal to feel down from time to time, but there are things you can do to give yourself a boost back toward a positive mindset.

1. Exercise – It is well documented that exercise benefits us in numerous ways. It not only helps to keep our bodies healthy, but it also increases production of endorphins and availability of neurotransmitters which regulate our mood. When we think of exercise as “work” we miss out on the idea that it’s also packaged with these natural rewards. Aside from physical strain or injury, we usually feel better after exercise! Regular exercise is best, but even a 5-minute brisk walk will give you a quick boost.
2. Support and social interaction – Depression often leads to the desire to isolate and withdraw from social interactions. Social isolation deprives us of possible rewarding and fulfilling interactions. The more we isolate, the more we feel alone. Reach out to a friend or someone who can help you see the bright side of things.
3. Gratitude journaling – Being stuck in a negative mindset steals our ability to grasp the things in life that are truly blessings. We can usually find something for which to be grateful: food, shelter, clothing, good health status, the sun, the birds, nature, or having enough. Most of us can think about a time when circumstances have been more challenging, and we can be glad that we got through it.
4. Kindness – contributing to others. Do something small for someone. Give an unsolicited compliment. Smile and say hello to a stranger.
5. Half-Smile strategy – this is sort of like working backwards to achieve a positive emotion. We often think of smiling as a response to feeling joy. Instead, try closing your eyes, taking a deep breath, and just slightly turning up the corners of your mouth as if you were going to smile. This “half-smile” communicates a message of joy to the brain and you may notice a shift in emotion toward feeling more positive.