Podcast: How to Make and Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

This New Year’s Eve, millions of Americans will resolve to lose weight, give up smoking, or find a new job. Chances are, they made the same resolution last year and the year before and have yet to succeed. In fact, more than 90% of people won’t meet their goals.

In this episode, Dr. Philip Levendusky, director of McLean’s Psychology Department, tells us that it’s easier than you think to start making changes in your life. He wants to help you stick to your resolutions by encouraging you to set realistic expectations and give yourself the leeway to forgive yourself and keep trying should you start to slip from your new routines.

In the end, while your goal may be perfection, it is perfectly healthy to give it your best and always feel as if you are a work in progress.

Episode Transcript

Trevor: Hey everyone, welcome back. I failed to mention on the last podcast, really kind of important thing to not mention, but we went through a branding change recently, we were called Deconstructing Stigma, now we’re called Mindful Things. I probably should have mentioned that in the last podcast when I just went into the new name. Without any context whatsoever, I apologize, we’re now Mindful Things, still the same show.

Today’s episode I interviewed Dr. Phil Levendusky and also I should point out that my boss, Scott, also joins us for the discussion. He likes to join in every once in a while, I feel like he contributes a lot. Let me give you a little background on Dr. Levendusky, he has quite a history here. He’s known well known for opening the first inpatient unit for cognitive behavioral therapy, which is big deal. Cognitive behavioral therapy, out of that came dialectical behavioral therapy, and that is what I use to help with my borderline personality disorder. So, really important contributions that he made. It’s funny, it was our first conversation, I do pre interviews as much as I can and right away Dr. Levendusky hit me with a joke.

Now, apparently he’s a jokester. I know that now, I didn’t know that at the time. And I was asking him about his early career and how he ended up at McLean and he answered, “By cab,” and I kind of gave some nervous laughter, I didn’t know what was going on. He delivered it very ... it was very direct and very dry. Usually, I’m good with dry humor, but I don’t know, this person sounded upset to me. Little did I know not until later when I went and talked to my bosses about what was going on that he’s a joker, I was taking him seriously, and he was pretty much giving me very dry, one to three word answers for the pre interview. So, I was really nervous about how the actual interview was going to go for the podcast because ... I don’t know, I want the episodes to be good. So, I go up and talk to my bosses, and they’re like, “It doesn’t sound like Phil.”

I went home and I whipped myself up and into a frenzy, really worried about what was going to happen with the episode because it has to do with the struggles with keeping New Year’s resolution. So, it was timely, it had to be recorded now, if it was a bad episode, it’s not like we could have just brought in something else that wouldn’t have had a holiday theme. So, I came in early, the morning of the interview, set up the studio, did all the sound, mic checks and then I ran through my mindfulness exercises, just to calm myself down.

I did the same exercises I talked about a few episodes ago. I counted shapes, I counted colors, I watched my breathing, stuff like that, and then he walked in and Scott was with him. Scott had a smile on his face and we went into the podcast, but then about halfway through the podcast, we discuss our pre interview and what happened. So, I wanted to give you guys a little background on that.

Also, the main reason we’re having Dr. Levendusky in to talk about New Year’s resolutions is because, last year he published a really great article titled increase the chance of reaching your New Year’s goals. And he talks about, in the first paragraph, how research has shown that nearly 90% of New Year’s resolutions fail and I was blown away by that number. You’ll hear us talking about that as well. So let’s get to it and you guys can hear our New Year’s discussion, which in some way turns into a therapy session for me. But by the end of the episode, Dr. Levendusky, Scott and I were all having a good time. Here you go. I hope you enjoy it.

Well, this is going to go well, isn’t it? I mean, you and I got off on the right foot, I mean—

Phil: I thought we got off on the right foot—

Trevor: We’re doing well here, aren’t we?

I can see you guys are really making an effort to make me feel better about this, but I’m gonna fight you all the way on, I swear.

Phil: I hope the tension gets picked up.

Trevor: Yeah, I hope it gets—

Phil: It would be—

Trevor: Yeah, I want people to know how uncomfortable this whole thing is. So, what are we here to talk about?

Phil: You tell me, I assume the core of it is going to be the new year stuff.

Trevor: I read your article.

Phil: Yeah.

Trevor: And the one thing that really shocked me was that, research really does show that 90% of them fit like 90%. Can I ask you where that research came from or—

Phil: the citations off the top of my head?

Trevor: Yeah. But 90%? Wow. So I don’t do any New Year’s resolutions for this very reason. I have never done them. I have no confidence that I’m going to fall through on them. And I put enough unnecessary pressure on myself as is, why would I do this?

Phil: Yeah, yeah. And hence you marched to your own drummer, where a lot of other people they get caught up in the group mentality. Oh, they’re going to do it. I’ll do it.

Trevor: I’ve marched to my own drummer, he’s winning me over. He knows how to butter me up, Look at this. Do you do any new year’s resolution, Scott?

Scott: I typically don’t.

Trevor: Uh-huh. You don’t strike me as somebody that would.

Scott: No. Generally if I want to start doing something, I’ll just start doing it. And I also track on it, pretty heavily to make sure, to hold myself accountable essentially.

Trevor: Right.

Scott: I’m not big on telling other people that I’m doing things. I’m more on my own pressures, generally enough to get it done.

Trevor: I noticed in the article and what we talked about yesterday, Dr. Levendusky, is that people tend ... the resolutions are more achievable when they inform other people about it. That there is a social aspect to this that, I don’t know, makes their approach to it stronger or actually their will stronger. Could you speak to that?

Phil: Yeah. If you are making a resolution and it’s between you and yourself, the likelihood of feeling people there to support you or looking over your shoulder isn’t there, it’s just you making the declaration that you’re going to try. If you share it with other people, and they’re declaring you’re going to do it, so you’ve gone on record and others will be in a position to be able to watch whether you do it or not. And it often will pull for support. So, people wish you good luck, all of that kind of thing. It is far more likely that you will follow through.

Trevor: Is it the show of support from the social aspect of it or is it a shame aspect of it as well or a fear of failing and other people will know, at least that’s where my cynical mind goes—

Phil: I think it’s both. There’s an accountability aspect to it, so people are watching and measuring you. But people are often, will be forthcoming in terms of saying, “Geez, I hope you can do it, anything I can do to help out.” That kind of thing is often part of the discussion.

Trevor: I found myself when I do exercise, there was two years where I had a personal trainer and I found that it was the accountability and the motivation or the support that the personal trainer gave me that kept me at my ... I was definitely at my peak health. Unfortunately, it was also the most expensive way to do it.

Phil: For many years, I ran inpatient unit here at McLean Hospital, and our objective was to try to have the patients buy into the goals for their treatments, and rather than it being our goals and telling them what to do, we ask them what their goals were. And then we documented that by putting a work plan together what they were going to try to accomplish. So, there was a social interaction between, they and whoever was talking to them. But then everybody went into a group at the beginning of the week, and they read off what their plans were for the week and what their objectives were for the week. People in turn, would give them feedback, good ones think about.

And then, at the end of the week, we reconvened and people said what they had done and what they hadn’t done, the compliance with their treatment objectives was very high because of that public declaration and accountability and built into the support piece of it was positive feedback, constructive feedback. So, it was a nice package, and I think that’s what I’m talking about in the context of new year’s resolutions.

Trevor: What specifically tackle weight, because I hear that, well, from what I see and what I’ve heard with friends and family around me that’s that seems to be the common new year’s resolution, I’m going to exercise more, I’m going to lose weight. Do you find that even before you break it down and make the work plan, a lot of the time is the goal just not practical?

Phil: When

Trevor: I mean, we have commercials and magazines and stuff that are targeted to accelerate this process and make sure you need to lose this amount of weight by this amount of time and buy into this weight loss, food packets and get you on this routine. And it seems like what they’re trying to sell people is on a different schedule than what is realistic or what their body can actually handle.

Phil: Well, we’re talking about the phenomena, the new year’s resolution. So, a lot of people feel like, okay, it’s the end of the year, they should do something to address an issue that they’re wanting to see more of or less of in their life. You add on to it that that resolution time lots of people are talking about, “Oh, I’m going to do this, and I’m going to do that.” So, there’s sort of, a group mentality that gets triggered. I don’t know for sure, but I bet you if you tracked weight loss, ads on the radio and television all that kind of stuff—it goes up.

Trevor: Because they certainly goes up, right around this time.

Phil: Absolutely. So you’ve got that tsunami of different things, they’re saying, “Okay, you need to do something about it.” So the motivation is fueled by several different factors. The challenge is when you say you’re going to do something like that, and as we were discussing before, and you’re only telling yourself, you don’t have as much people looking over your shoulder either in a positive or negative direction for accountability.

And very often, the resolution is framed in terms of what I’m not going to do versus what I’m going to do, I’m not going to eat as much, I’m going to deprive myself or that phrase would probably not be used, but I’m going to restrict. And any behavioral change, you can take the approach of, I will do less or the other side of the coin is, I will do something more that would have the same result. I will exercise more, I’ll take more walks versus I’ll restrict my calories more aggressively.

And the probability, I think, in terms of following through typically is if you’re looking to increase a behavior, and then you reinforce yourself, you give yourself some prize or whatever, to do it, the chances of you following through are greater than just, I’m going to do it and tough it out.

Trevor: I find that there’s too much drama around it, I find that there’s too much pressure I find that one thing that I commonly hear is, “It’s a new year therefore it’s going to be a new me,” like it’s a rebirth. The end of one year and the beginning of a new one is like the death of the old me and this is a new me, and to me right away that just seems too much pressure to go into something.

Phil: I agree. And that usually is accompanied with a large version of what you’re trying to accomplish. It’s an all or nothing, “I’ve got to lose 50 pounds,” and if two weeks into it, you’ve lost a half a pound, then, “I give up, I can’t possibly do, see I’ve blown it again.” Versus trying to look at what your long-term objective is, but to break it down into smaller steps, so it’s not a an all or nothing kind of phenomena like what you’re describing.

Trevor: I guess if I have to be honest, the real reason I’ve never really given new year’s resolutions a try is out of the fear of trying, why try? I mean, I’ve already assumed that I’m going to fail. So why try when I’m going to fail.

Phil: You’re talking about a key factor. Try something and fail, is probably a far better strategy than to not try.

Trevor: But the failing part hurts so much Doctor, it sends me into a tailspin.

Phil: Understood and that’s why people will paint themselves into a corner of, “Oh my God, if it doesn’t work out, then I’ll be humiliated,” versus, “I was scared to death to try out for this play. I didn’t get the part. But damn it, I did it.” And I think in the long run, taking those chances has a higher probability of having positive outcomes, versus constantly keeping yourself avoiding things to protect. And that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy that satisfaction and enjoying your life, that kind of stuff, you’re staying in the cocoon, “Okay, I tried out for this part in the play, it didn’t work out well. But boy, they sort of gave me some nice feedback or I’ll approach it a different way next time,” but it’s giving you some motivation and opportunity to change your behavior. When not trying you’re not changing your behavior.

Trevor: Wouldn’t you also say that, maybe specifically with weight loss and other things that there shouldn’t be an end goal, that maybe it should be a lifestyle change.

Phil: No question about it. If you look at weight loss, the typical pattern that people use to sort of fasting, some version of cut way down on the caloric intake. In reality, if a person makes a decision of, “I want to lose these 20 pounds. And I’m going to do it over the next six months. And the way I’ll do it is I’ll stop eating sweets. I’ll eat as much pasta as I want, I’ll eat my salads, I’m simply not going to eat sweets,” that way you’re not depriving yourself in a macro way, you’re focusing in on one area. And if that doesn’t work, “Okay, I will not eat candy. Other sweets are okay, but I’ll just start with candy,” by sticking with that, it has a cumulative effect, it gets very impressive after a month, month and a half, “Oh, I actually lost four pounds by just that small maneuver.”

Trevor: I feel like I have to do that with soda. It’s not that I drink a lot of soda, it’s that I go to the movies a lot. And to me, with the movie theater comes soda, and sometimes popcorn, they kind of go a little hand in hand. And I feel in order to shed the extra 15-20 pounds that I’m carrying on right now, I have to cut out soda or at least sugary soda or start drinking iced tea or diet soda at the theater, but I don’t know for some reason the sweet and salty or the sweet and savory aspect of it, really helps, especially if I’m sitting there and I’m watching three French films in a row which I’ve done. And I’ve literally brought a two liter bottle of soda so I could read six straight hours of subtitles. It’s funny that the caffeine and the sugar, are sometimes what gets me through a day at a film festival and stuff like that.

Phil: Probably 10 years ago, I went through a similar situation. I was drinking a ton of iced coffee, it was not decaffeinated iced coffee, it was lots and lots of iced coffees. I was drinking so much iced coffee and felt like it was an addiction.

Trevor: Yeah.

Phil: And same thing as you’re talking about, I’d go into situations I know not to do it, et cetera, et cetera. But I decided I just couldn’t do it anymore. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t do other caffeinated thing. It was the iced coffee that I thought was out of control. And so that became my target. I will drink coffee, I’ll drink Coke, but this particular thing was a smaller expectation, I had other ways of getting the caffeine yet I needed its error, but it didn’t. They were not ones that I felt I was abusing if you will. I haven’t had iced tea in 10 years.

Trevor: Iced tea is my favorite even more than soda. I love iced tea.

Phil: I lived for iced tea. So now I get my coffee hit with things that are less compelling to me than iced tea. But the outcome is what I’m pleased, that I was able to do it.

Trevor: Oh no, not iced tea, I live for ... I make my own ice ... My old roommates used to make fun of me. They’re like, “You’re young and you’re making sun tea,” I’m like, “Have you had my sun tea? It’s delicious. Shut up.”—

Phil: Do your iced tea, and if you’re looking at the way you described it is I’m drinking everything. And so, okay, iced tea is going to be your drink. I’m not going to drink sodas, I’m not going to drink sugar beverages, that’s what puts me over the top. And a nice, healthy iced tea drinker without all of the other things you’re drinking would be a step ahead of where you are now.

Trevor: I know we’re on new year’s resolutions, but I feel like we’re just scratching something a little deeper, habitual behavior. What about for some of those habits that are a little more dangerous than iced coffee? Cigarettes, you hear that a lot. I’m going to quit smoking, January for I’m going to quit. Some people will say alcohol, some people will say recreational drugs. These are things that depending on how you use them, and how you abuse them, their effects are a little bit more than putting on weight. What do you do in those cases?

Phil: Well, if you’re looking to change behavior like that, just declaring I’m going to stop is a long shot. Okay, I want to stop smoking, there’s a science to stopping smoking. I’ll go speak to somebody who does smoking cessation, I’ll go to a doctor who will give me pads to help me be able to transition, I’ll look to other resources. So it’s not just a willpower issue. It’s a recognition, this is a difficult thing to do, I can’t just do it by myself. And I need some support systems and tools, to better manage it versus I’ll just tough it out.

Trevor: I started ... I’ve talked to Scott and Adrian about this, I’ve started smoking again after quitting in 2008. And it’s not regular, but I’m definitely smoking again. And it’s funny, because the effects of smoking are starting to show up. And it’s amazing how I’m recognizing what these are from my past experience with smoking and I’m just writing them off as no big deal, like in the morning I’m coughing up a lung when I wake up and all the junk is coming out. And I just see that as part of smoking, and I keep going, and I just ignore it. It’s very strange.—

Phil: The probability of it getting worse, is quite high.

Trevor: Absolutely.

Phil: So you’ve taken a little step into no man’s land, and if you stay there, it will be more and more and more difficult to try to change in the future. You’ve recognized it as a problem, okay, what do I do about it right now? And try to use some of the strategies that we’ve been talking about in terms of, “Okay, this is a high priority for me. Doesn’t mean I’m giving up my iced tea, it doesn’t mean I’m giving up other things that I like, but this particular thing is a high priority. And I’m going to do the best I can seeking out other assistance, telling my friends I’m going to try to work with this. And trying to nip it in the bud.”

Trevor: We’re connecting, aren’t we? I feel it. We’re connecting—

Phil: We were connecting yesterday.

Trevor: Really?

Phil: Yes.

Trevor: We were? Okay. Okay, then yesterday, we were just setting the foundation for our friendship and today we’re really building—

Phil: We had a nice playful interaction, that I experienced as playful. I apologize if what you experienced is toxic—

Trevor: No, no, no. It’s so funny, I thought about it a lot last night and—

Phil: You don’t know me from Adam.

Trevor: Right, and you don’t know me from Adam.

Phil: Absolutely, absolutely.

Trevor: What I did feel bad about is when I went in and talked to my boss about it. She was like, “Yeah, he’s my boss. And he’s one of the biggest deals around here.” And I felt terrible. Because I wish I had known that and therefore I just should have known that. And then the other thing was, I was thinking this person doesn’t know me, why are they kidding with me even if it’s over the phone? And I thought maybe I just can’t take a joke anymore. I really thought that and I felt bad about it. I hear a lot of people saying that people are too sensitive that they can’t take a joke anymore. And I’ve just kind of pushed that away, because I find that kind of hypocritical because at least with my generation, I was constantly raised both in pop culture and with my parents, to be more sensitive, to be more open, just share your feelings and now there’s a generation of sensitive adults.

And now we’re being trashed for doing the exact thing we were told to do. But at the same time, maybe I just don’t know how to take a joke. I did not recognize it as humor. And I felt terrible about that.

Phil: Well, as I said, You don’t know me from Adam. Yeah, I tend to have a reasonably playful nature. And from my perspective, my playfulness, maybe sometimes steps on people’s toes.

Trevor: I apologize for the way I reacted—

Phil: No. Last evening I was driving home and there was a ton of traffic. And my car has a Sirius radio app, but I had never turned it on, so I called Sirius and I said, I want the traffic app. And the guy went through everything et cetera. And then we’re wrapping up and I said, “Okay, I’m pleased I’m buying this. Now you guarantee that when I use this, all traffic will leave the roads.” “Mr. This is, no—

Trevor: Come on.

Phil: “I’m buying this so there will be no more traffic.” “It doesn’t do that.” “I’m kidding.”

Trevor: Right.

Phil: And then he started uproariously laughing and he was yelling to his friend, “This guy thinks the traffic’s going to go away because of it.” But that’s just kind of a style that I have.

Trevor: I think if you were sitting in front of me and we had our first interaction that way, I could see, I would know.

Phil: You see no body language whatsoever.

Trevor: It’s like texting. It’s almost like you don’t know, unless you use those stupid emojis. That you don’t know the emotional context of the text.

Phil: And when I say cab on how I got here.

Trevor: Yeah.

Phil: You can interpret it as, “He’s nasty, doesn’t like what we’re about to do.”

Trevor: Right.

Phil: And that’s a hint that this is going to be a pain in the neck conversation.

Trevor: Right.

Phil: Where it was a playful opening, you chuckled a little bit. So I, “Oh, okay. This can be a fun interaction.”

Trevor: Yeah. Maybe it was a bad day yesterday. I don’t know. Weren’t we supposed to be talking about New Year’s resolutions? But this was just bubbling. This is bubbling for me—

Phil: New year’s resolution- We have been. New year’s resolution walks in way, into all of our lives.

Trevor: Scott, you’re here to chime in and also keep the peace here. I’m not honestly not trying to attack anybody that does New Year’s resolutions, but I just find it to be this silly thing that society is just bought into. There’s nothing wrong with setting goals. But what is it about this new year? I asked Dr. Levendusky this same question yesterday, and he said, “Well, it’s the end of the year and the beginning of the new year,” and that frustrated me at first because it was so cut and dry and black and white. But yet at the same time, you’re absolutely right. That’s really all it is.

Scott: It’s a built in start date.

Trevor: It’s a built in start date.

Scott: Essentially no one’s going to go, “Hey I want to start this on March 17th.” January one is the date that everyone thinks of as ... Also it’s after the holidays. So especially if it’s health related, weight related, you’re going to go, “Hey, I want to get my Thanksgiving, I want to get my Christmas in.” And then there’s nothing to really celebrate about January.

Trevor: Right.

Scott: You’re going to go, “Okay, now I can get into this.”

Trevor: Because basically, in terms of food and weight, starting in October, it’s a three month dive into debauchery of candy, sweets that are shaped as Christmas trees and candy canes.

Scott: Alcohol.

Trevor: Alcohol. Well, I talked about this in the last podcast with Mark Longsjo, is that not only do alcohol advertisements shoot through the roof, this time of year, but they’re actually marketed as something that belongs at the family table. And it makes me crazy. And this comes from somebody who drinks and used to have a drinking problem.

Scott: But it goes hand in hand with, to me stressful situations, and coping and what more stressful time of the year than the holidays. We think about it for most families, between January one and Thanksgiving, you don’t really have to see your family. There might be a birthday or an outing, things like that. But it’s forced to time with people, that you most likely have some kind of an issue with, whether it’s your parents, your siblings, or aunts and uncles, all the people that have been around for most of your life, you’re in your first 18 years, things like that sometimes a lot longer than that. It’s tough, there’s a lot of emotions that come out and you have to cope with it in some way.

Phil: And that plays into, you’re going and seeing your family, you’ve got this, “I feel badly that I put on 20 pounds this year,” so there’s kind of, a, “Maybe I ought to do something about it,” because they’re going to all say, “How come you look so heavy.” So it potentiates it that much further, because there are people looking over your shoulder and they no doubt have the best intention in mind. But still, you feel defensive when you do that. Not to be overly concrete about it, it is one, January and it’s a first, so there is a new metric, as you’re saying, this is the starting block. Hallmark has not gone and created a holiday that on, July 9th is stop day. If they invented stop day, five years from now, people would be talking about that July 9th this is what I’m going to do my new thing because it was created. And the New Year’s resolution, none of us sitting here have an awareness of how it evolved. But my guess is there was a heavy commercial aspect to how this came about.

Trevor: I’m going on a limb here, this may not be the case, but it’s something that I see and I kind of feel, I almost feel that people, at least the ones that I’ve been exposed to, are starting to maybe just get tired of the holidays. Because if there’s one word that I’ve heard associated with the holidays, it’s stress or stressful, holidays are so stressful. It’s so busy, it’s so stressful. I hear that constantly. More than all the holidays are so lovely. I hear that too, “Oh, it’s a great time for me to spend time with family, friends, loved ones,” I do hear those things. But I do hear consistently, that the holidays are stressful, and they seem to be getting more and more stressful year, after year, after year.

Phil: Well, there are tremendous demands. You gotta buy presents, you have a lot more social pull, or the other side, nobody’s invited you anywhere, all of those things are kind of build with the holidays and the stress factor. One other point I make in my comment of the commercial aspect of it, in reality, the seasonal change has been part of the human culture, going back to, ancient times, this is the beginning of the year, the winter is the end of the year. And then spring will be the beginning. But there there are ancient forefathers and mothers had the seasonal thing that was how they lived. So I think there is a hardwired piece to this, it probably makes it, potentiates it too.

Scott: I think you have stuff that’s also going on, even beyond the things that the holiday itself brings. I think you’ve got ... I think just people are just different than they have been, at least in my lifetime. People are far more stressed out. Why are they stressed? Whether its monetary concerns, whether it’s family situations, mental health concerns, things like that. But you’ve also got a political climate, no matter what side you sit on let’s face it, that’s going to be brought up at Thanksgiving, at Christmas at parties at whatever it is—

Trevor: Or in my family’s case, it doesn’t get brought up at all, but it’s the top topic that nobody’s talking about. And it just the pressure is there, my beliefs are different from my family’s. We all still love each other as much as we can. But it just sits there like a thick cloud.

Scott: So you’ve added this enormous amount of pressure, stress and anxiety, to a situation that’s already incredibly stressful. And it drives people’s anxieties up to begin with. So what I’m bringing up to is that, it’s not doing anybody any favors. When we say get tired of the holidays, that’s immediately when I go to in my head, where I’m like, “Oh, you’re spending time around people, whether you’re afraid things are going to be brought up.” Or things aren’t going to be brought up and it’s going to, definitely has a potential to divide families and create some pretty long lasting effects I’ll say, depending on what happens while you’re there.

Trevor: Before we wrap up, Dr. Levendusky you brought something up just a few minutes ago that I found really interesting. Something about the seasons. Do you think the advent of mathematical time and tracking time, minutes, hours, calendars, days, weeks, months, years? Do you think those constructs have added to the pressure whereas before you said, people just used to live by the seasons?

Phil: I think it’s a numeric definition. So the numbers, it’s January first, the social understanding of the beginning of the new year is built into our culture. And I think that increases the likelihood of these are issues now. Whereas on, July 9th there’s nothing that lines up with, Okay, this is the definitive we’re supposed to be doing. And all our holidays are calling for certain action, Halloween calls for things that you wouldn’t normally do—

Trevor: Calls for a certain action. That’s interesting.

Phil: Easter, okay, there’s an expectation, Hanukkah there’s an expectation that are social and cultural. And they’re driven by, they’re not the same day every year. And some of them they got to shift depending on the calendar and that sort of thing. Christmas isn’t always Sunday ...it’s on the 25th. But the holidays and New Year’s and Christmas, or Hanukkah are just three of probably 15 holidays over the course of the year that most of us are impacted by.

Trevor: Are we becoming best friends? I feel like we’re becoming best friends now. I feel it. I feel it. Do you feel ... You don’t have to answer yet. Maybe come back. We’ll do the best friends episode. We’ll see how we evolve.

Phil: I think we are listening to one another better than we were yesterday.

Trevor: Thank you doctor.

Phil: And I don’t have laryngitis.

Trevor: Yeah. It was very funny. I thought maybe at first, but—

Phil: No.

Trevor: Do you have anything you want to add?

Phil: No. It’s delightful speaking with you. Always good to have Scott, sitting next to us. Look forward to future opportunities to opine on various subjects.

Trevor: How about you, Scott, anything you want to add?

Scott: I think we’re good. This has been great to thank you both—

Trevor: It was good. It was very good. Thank you. I was building this up way to ... I actually came in early sat here did some mindfulness exercises.

Phil: Good.

Trevor: I counted shapes, I checked my breathing. And then I saw Scott come in with the smile on his face and I knew what that smile meant. The smile was, “I acknowledge what you’re feeling right now. I swear to God, it’s okay.” So—

Scott: I know you, Trevor.

Trevor: Yeah. You do know me. Thank you, Dr. Levendusky. I really appreciate it—

Phil: Pleasure meeting in person and fun hour.

Trevor: Yeah, thank you.

Phil: Okay.

Trevor: Well, he sure set me straight didn’t he? You know, it’s kind of one of my main struggles with BPD. I’m a very, very sensitive person. And then I can also express myself and be very insensitive to other people. Trust me, I understand how hypocritical I can be. But that’s how it is. And I use my mindfulness exercises, I use my DBT to not react so quickly, and also to strengthen up a bit. And sometimes I slip and I don’t recognize when somebody is just simply joking around with me. Maybe that will be my new year’s resolution? I don’t know, to learn how to take a joke better. I’ll try. How’s that? Does that work? You’ll try? I’ll try. How about that? We’ll try together, and we make it great and if we don’t there’s always next year or tomorrow.

Hey, everyone, I really hope you have a safe and wonderful holiday season. I know it’s a struggle out for a lot of people, especially those with mental illness, those who don’t have families, those with mental illness who don’t have families. I’m thinking about you, all of you. I really am. I really am. And I hope you have the best holiday season that you can. See you in the new year.

Thank you for listening to mindful things the official podcast of McLean hospital. If you have any suggestions for special topics or future guests, please email us at @email. And don’t forget, mental health is everyone’s responsibility. If you or a loved one are in crisis, the Samaritans are available 24 hours a day at 877.870.4673. Again, that’s 877.870.4673.

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The McLean Hospital podcast Mindful Things is intended to provide general information and to help listeners learn about mental health, educational opportunities, and research initiatives. This podcast is not an attempt to practice medicine or to provide specific medical advice.

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