Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions?

An Electronic Mental Health Newsletter from Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D., P.A. & Associates
Volume 13, Number 1

A new year has started and the holidays are finally over. January represents a time for new beginnings and the ability to accomplish what one sets out to do. Getting things done requires commitment and effort, neither of which is a bad thing. However, we often get caught up in our daily routines and things we have to do that we miss the opportunity to better our lives. There is nothing wrong with doing the hard work of change and in fact, there is great satisfaction in achieving one’s goal. We encourage those of you who have made New Year’s resolutions to continue to work to achieve them.

Our January E-Letter is about Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions. Dr. Kimmel continues his blog and our Email of the Month is about How Technology Organizations Were Named. We hope you find the enclosed information helpful and interesting. We also thank you for reading our E-Letters and for the numerous positive comments we have received.

Practice News

Stacey Mednick. We are very happy to announce that Stacey Mednick, LCSW, has joined our staff as a psychotherapist. Stacey is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has been providing psychotherapeutic and psycho-educational services to children, adolescents and their families in South Florida for over 12 years. She received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida and her Master’s Degree in Social Work from Florida Atlantic University. Stacey has provided behavioral health services in the home, private practice, and academic settings. She specializes in working with childhood and adolescent behavioral and emotional disorders such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and anger management. She also works closely with parents and families in order to provide them with communication skills, coping skills, support, and the tools necessary to overcome challenges. Stacey has extensive history in working with children, adolescents, and adults with a history of trauma, as well as grief and loss. She is able to provide psychotherapeutic services in the office as well as in your home. For more information or to schedule an appointment with Stacey, call our office at 954 755-2885.

Dr. Akiva Daum. Dr. Akiva Daum is a multiple Board Certified Psychiatrist who sees patients eighteen years and older for a limited number of hours a week. He specializes in Addiction Psychiatry and will also see patients who are in need of general psychiatric care. His special interests include treating patients with co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders as well as chronic pain and addiction disorders. He has taught and supervised other psychiatrists, medical students, residents, and fellows. For more information or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Daum, call our office at 954 755-2885.

Community Outreach. Our staff is available to present discussions and programs geared to educating the public about Drug Use, Abuse, and Addiction, Eating Disorders, Anger Management, Stress Management, Overcoming Trauma, Dealing with Grief, and the March of The Living. If your organization, church, or synagogue would like to have a complementary speaker on this or other topics, please contact Jillian at 954 755-2885.

Psychological Evaluations. Our practice conducts psychological and psychoeducational assessments to help answer questions about ADHD, school placement, test accommodations including the PSAT, SAT, GRE, etc., gifted class placement, and psychological diagnosis. Information regarding the tests can be found on our website. If you have more specific questions, please contact Dr. Kimmel or Paul Dolnick.

Downloads of handouts from our previous E-Letters can be found on our website, We invite you to read and download them if desired.


Traditionally, the new year is seen as an opportunity for new beginnings. It is the “out with the old and in with the new”. It is a time to clean the slate and start afresh. However, the problem is that we tend to be creatures of habit. Making changes does not come easy. We must make strong commitments, have realistic expectations, and are willing to put in the effort to make the change. What is the reward? The opportunity to grow, to learn, and to feel success in our achievements. If we were not to change, what would life be like?

Almost half of all Americans make new year resolutions yet only about 8% actually keep them after several months. The most popular resolutions are to lose weight, grow as a person, stop smoking, find more adventures, exercise, learn something new, spend more time with family, and get a new job. Interestingly, just the act of making a resolution can start the process of change. If we take advantage of the fresh start the new year offers, we can greatly improve our lives. But this requires work. We cannot say that we are going to make the change in the new year and just hope it happens. We cannot say that we will start tomorrow. We cannot make excuses for not starting. Often the first step is the hardest but once we get going, change does occur and resolutions can be kept.

If you’ve faltered on keeping your resolutions, start again. But you need to change your thinking in order to change your actions. Follow these steps:

1. Recognize that you have to be honest with yourself and consider whether you truly want to make the change

2. Insure that your goals are reasonable and capable of being achieved

3. Recognize that change requires commitment and effort

4. Next, try to give yourself small rewards along the way. This will give you a sense of success and keep up your motivation

5. Exercise, find a comfortable sleep pattern, and do not abuse drugs or alcohol as this will ruin your motivation

6. Tell others or join a group of people with similar goals as this will give you a sense of belonging and support

7. Track your progress daily and give yourself affirmations or verbal rewards for success

8. Be honest with yourself and recognize when you are making excuses for not changing

9. Learn something new every day. This will help you grow as a person and you will enjoy adding something new to your life

10. If you don’t succeed, start over. You don’t have to wait until 2019.

We offer the following information, which can be downloaded at, on Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions?


I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something…— Neil Gaiman


  • Research shows that New Year’s resolutions are made by 50% of adults
  • The most popular New Years’ resolutions are to:
  • lose weight
  • stop smoking
  • grow in some way
  • exercise more
  • find adventures
  • spend more time with loved ones
  • get a more rewarding job
  • develop a new skill
  • Only 8% of people actually keep their resolutions for more than a few months
  • Resolutions are difficult to keep because:
  • they often require big changes in routine behaviors and lifestyle
  • they are unrealistic to achieve and people underestimate their commitment to what they can actually do
  • people want quick success where habit change can take a long time and requires much practice
  • they may be too long term and people often want immediate change
  • People choose New Year’s to make resolutions because the holiday tends to act as a benchmark separating the old from the new
  • If you fail to reach your goals but actually tried then consider that the journey may be more important than the destination

  • Be honest with yourself and recognize that resolutions require effort and commitment
  • Get small rewards on the way to your goal
  • Accept learning something every day as a way to grow yourself
  • Commit yourself to daily or weekly exercise
  • Make sure your goals are reasonable and maybe aim for less
  • Tell others about your resolutions or work in a group to keep motivation high
  • Recognize when you are making excuses and start again
  • Make your changes in the morning as you are more likely to do them
  • Be realistic and make one change at a time
  • Track your progress on a chart or on your phone
  • Reinforce and strengthen friendships and relationships for support
  • Seek professional help if you are unduly frustrated with being unable to achieve your resolutions

Call us at 954 755-2885 or email us at

Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D. P.A. and Associates
5551 N University Drive, Suite 202
Coral Springs FL 33067
Copyright © 2018 by Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D.

Dr. K’s Blog
January 20, 2018
During the past year, many of my patients have come to their sessions angry about politics. It doesn’t matter what party they belong to or whether they are right-leaning, left-leaning, or centrist, they are all angry and frustrated. They feel powerless and worry about the future of our country and of themselves. Perhaps, rightly so. Many hours have been spent in conversation attempting to reduce their anger and to focus on their daily lives.

One of the suggestions that have come out of our discussions seems to work. That is, to reduce or eliminate the number of hours spent watching the news on television or listening to it on the radio. It doesn’t matter what network you watch or listen to. All of them seem intent on stirring up feelings of unfairness and anger but offer no solutions. I guess the ultimate goal is to get watchers or listeners glued to their stations. Perhaps this is a media addiction. Yet there is no high but only worry and anger.

I recently read an article about a self-imposed news blackout by Christopher Hebert, an assistant professor of English at the University of Tennessee, in the January 18 edition of The Guardian. The following is an excerpt:

Ignorance is far easier than I thought. I finish two or three audiobooks a week. I read novels instead of newspapers. Five months into my blackout, I’m happier than I ever was back in the days when I was informed. My fingernails are growing back. The sleeping pills remain in the bottle. I’m getting more work done. My family comes home at the end of the day to find me smiling, chopping things for dinner without my old vegicidal rage. And yet, part of me can’t stop feeling guilty about feeling good.

Perhaps, this is one solution to the anger and frustration of a media news addiction.

December 18, 2017
Today, a patient of mine told me that his daughters were graduating from college in a few months. I was surprised to realize and remember how fast time passes. I know that it does but was nevertheless surprised. It seemed like it was just yesterday, that we were discussing their separating and leaving home for college. We spent many sessions discussing being an empty nester and the changes and opportunities it brings.

Time is relative in that it seems like some moments go on forever and some go so quickly that if we blink we miss them. Life just seems to happen while we are waiting for whatever we are waiting for. While we are looking at what we don’t have and didn’t do, we miss out on what we did do and the wonderful experiences that we did have. I think the answer lies in living in the moment. Taking in as much as we can, both good and bad, is the best we can do.

I recently saw a friend of mine who was depressed about turning 70. We talked and I tried to get him to see that age was just a number and how he viewed that number would determine his mood. I don’t think I got very far trying to convince him that he was not old and was still vital and helpful to so many people. Maybe it sunk in.

For myself, I have been practicing mindfulness and trying to live in the moment. I am looking for stillness and sometimes am successful. I try to use all my senses in savoring the moment and some simple experiences defy description in their beauty. Yet reality and our society seem to have a way of intruding so that stress and worry are created. I look at mindfulness and appreciating natural beauty as the antidote to the constant troubling news and feeling of powerless generated by politicians, news people, and other media types.

The past year has been difficult in some ways yet I have had some wonderful experiences with my family and friends. None of us knows what the new year brings for us but I am determined to enjoy as much of it as I can. It will take work and discipline and sacrifice and commitment. But what is the alternative?

November 18. 2017
On Thursday nights, I take a restorative yoga class. This class is not a typical yoga class. Rather, it is more of a meditation and relaxation class. Guided by the instructor while in postures of relaxation, I find myself letting go and truly relaxing from the business of the week. In fact, when the class is over, few yogis want to leave and “I needed that” is frequently heard.

Although I have been trained in relaxation techniques and use them with some patients, it is hard for me to actually relax. Taking this class has allowed me to experience in some way what my patients experience. True relaxation necessitates the ability to let go; something most of us have a hard time doing. Whether we live hurried lives or we don’t have a sense of safety without our guards being up, relaxation takes practice. Letting one’s guard down takes trust. Letting go takes effort.

In restorative yoga after a sense of stillness is achieved in a posture, the instructor uses guided imagery to describe peaceful and beautiful scenes to direct our attention towards relaxing. Following the teacher’s imagery, one can transcend the everyday world into the world of the imagery. Worries disappear, muscles loosen and smooth out, and the events of the day are forgotten for a few moments. Some people become so relaxed that they even fall asleep.

Research has shown that relaxation has many psychological and physical benefits. In the hectic and stressful world in which we live, relaxation is not a luxury. It is a necessity. I have found my way to relax in restorative yoga. I hope you can find your way. Consider taking a yoga class.

October 21, 2017
Last night I watched the movie, “Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace, Music, and Love”, and was visibly moved by how much our society has changed in the almost 50 years since this festival occurred. As I remembered and confirmed in the movie, the Woodstock community was peaceful and loving. Numerous comments were made about how nice the kids were, how courteous they were to each other, and how helpful they were to each other. This happened despite the quantity of drugs, the rain, the lack of food, the lack of accommodations, and the difficulties in transportation. Townspeople went out of their way to comment on how courteous the kids were saying “thank you” and “please” and asking permission. They greeted each other warmly and were well behaved not wanting to trespass on the property of others. They respected themselves and each other. When food ran out, they shared. When it rained, they shared whatever they had to cover themselves. When disagreements occurred, they settled them peacefully. When someone overdosed or had bad trips, there were others and medics to help them. They worked together to make this temporary society flourish. As Spock says in Star Trek, the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few … or the one.

Contrast that with today’s society. It seems to me that disrespect has become the norm. The values of our society which has existed for generations seems to have become eroded. Language has deteriorated to the point that curse words are used commonly in language by both sexes in public and on television. Dress has become so casual that in some cases it borders on sloppy and unsanitary. Respect for institutions is not trendy nor important. Values seem to be only important when it serves the needs of the person. Verbal attacks upon others occur daily and fake news and innuendo have become okay to use as fact. People will trample others to get the sale item when in limited quantities. Often, we don’t hear thank you or please even when holding the door for others. Protests have replaced communication, problem solving, compromise, or even mutual discussion. Selfishness and materialism seem to have become the norm and are reinforced by our media. The needs of the one appears to be more important than the needs of the many.

What has caused this in the past almost 50 years? We can point to many factors: fear, anger, the Vietnam War and others, the coming of age of the Internet, advertising, the pursuit of more money at the expense of others, the absence of appropriate role modeling by adults, drugs and alcohol, lies and deceit by politicians, celebrities, and broadcast news, serial abusers, Madoff type scandals, hidden agendas, and a silent society that allows these changes to occur. I am sure we can cite more causes.

Can we ever regain respect for our society to function? I would like to be optimistic and think yes. We see it in the support our nation gives to others when there is a disaster. We see it when individuals volunteer their money and time to help those who are less fortunate. We see it in the dedicated teachers and first responders. We see it in many others who still honor our values.

What can you do? Respect yourself. Follow the Golden Rule. Stick to your standards even though others may not. Say “thank you” and please. Smile at others. Be courteous. Let others get in front of you while driving. Just be concerned about the needs of the many rather than the needs of the one.

As always, I am interested in your thoughts. If you would like to respond to this blog, email me your comments at and I will publish them next month.

Email of the Month

We would like to thank James W. for the following email:

How Technology Organizations Were Named

Yahoo!-The word was invented by Jonathan Swift and used in his book Gulliver’s Travels. It represents a person who is repulsive in appearance and action and is barely human. Yahoo! founders Jerry Yang and David Filo selected the name because they considered themselves yahoos.

Xerox-The Greek root “xer” means dry. The inventor, Chester Carlson, named his product Xerox as it was dry copying, markedly different from the then prevailing wet copying.

Sun Microsystems-Founded by four Stanford University buddies, Sun is the acronym for Stanford University Network.

Sony-From the Latin word ‘sonus’ meaning sound, and ‘sonny’ a slang used by Americans to refer to a bright youngster.

SAP-“Systems, Applications, Products in Data Processing”, formed by four ex-IBM employees who used to work in the ‘Systems/Applications/Projects’ group of IBM.

Red Hat-Company founder Marc Ewing was given the Cornell lacrosse team cap (with red and white stripes) while at college by his grandfather. He lost it and had to search for it desperately. The manual of the beta version of Red Hat Linux had an appeal to readers to return his Red Hat if found by anyone!

Oracle-Larry Ellison and Bob Oats were working on a consulting project for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The code name for the project was called Oracle (the CIA saw this as the system to give answers to all questions or something such).

Motorola-Founder Paul Galvin came up with this name when his company started manufacturing radios for cars. The popular radio company at the time was called Victrola.

Microsoft-It was coined by Bill Gates to represent the company that was devoted to MICROcomputer SOFTware. Originally christened Micro-Soft, the ‘-‘ was removed later on.

Lotus-Mitch Kapor got the name for his company from the lotus position or ‘padmasana.’ Kapor used to be a teacher of Transcendental Meditation of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

Intel-Bob Noyce and Gordon Moore wanted to name their new company ‘Moore Noyce’ but that was already trademarked by a hotel chain, so they had to settle for an acronym of INTegrated ELectronics.

Hewlett-Packard-Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard tossed a coin to decide whether the company they founded would be called Hewlett-Packard or Packard-Hewlett.

Hotmail-Founder Jack Smith got the idea of accessing email via the web from a computer anywhere in the world. When Sabeer Bhatia came up with the business plan for the mail service, he tried all kinds of names ending in ‘mail’ and finally settled for Hotmail as it included the letters “html” – the programming language used to write web pages. It was initially referred to as HoTMaiL with selective upper casings.

Google-The name started as a jockey boast about the amount of information the search-engine would be able to search. It was originally named ‘Googol’, a word for the number represented by 1 followed by 100 zeros. After founders – Stanford graduate students Sergey Brin and Larry Page presented their project to an angel investor, they received a check made out to ‘Google.

Cisco-The name is not an acronym but an abbreviation of San Francisco. The company’s logo reflects its San Francisco name heritage. It represents a stylized Golden Gate Bridge.

Apple Computers-Favorite fruit of founder Steve Jobs. He was three months late in filing a name for the business, and he threatened to call his company Apple Computers if the other colleagues didn’t suggest a better name by 5 o’clock.

Apache-It got its name because its founders got started by applying patches to code written for NCSA’s httpd daemon. The result was ‘A PAtCHy’ server – thus, the name Apache.

Adobe-The name came from the river Adobe Creek that ran behind the house of founder John Warnock.

Till February…

The information provided in this electronic newsletter is not a substitute for professional treatment. It is the opinions of the writers and is provided solely for educational purposes. For mental health care, seek a qualified professional.

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If you find this information interesting or helpful, please forward this E-Letter to your contacts and friends. Copyright © 2018 by Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D. P.A. and Associates.