Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Watch Live

Resolutions For 2010

Resolutions For 2010
The New Year is a time for new beginnings and maybe even a clean mental slate for many Americans. Making resolutions can inspire us to aspire to become who we want to be. They are a personal commitment for the year, but how many people actually achieve these goals? Do you make New Year's resolutions?

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH (Host): I'm Maureen Cavanaugh, and you're listening to These Days on KPBS. As we find ourselves back at work, school or other daily grind, perhaps a big Happy New Year is a little out of place. But much more than a tipsy kiss at midnight, this is the new year, the same old job, routine, life that we suspended to eat, drink and be merry during the holidays. Many of us have resolved to change that old life in this new year by changing ourselves. But what kind of new year’s resolutions actually work? What kind of a commitment does it take to make a change? And how well do we actually know what needs changing in our lives? We’re talking about new year’s resolutions. And joining me are my guests. Barbarella Fokos is a socialite, journalist and columnist. Her primary column “Diary of a Diva” has appeared in the San Diego Reader every week since 2004. And, Barbarella, welcome to These Days.

BARBARELLA FOKOS (Columnist): Thanks so much for having me, Maureen, and Happy New Year.

CAVANAUGH: Happy New Year to you. Psychiatrist and author Dr. Gordon Livingston is also on the phone with us. He wrote the recent bestseller, “Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart: Thirty True Things You Need to Know (sic).” Dr. Livingston, welcome.


DR. GORDON LIVINGSTON (Author): Oh, thank you. Nice to be here, Maureen.

CAVANAUGH: And we invite our listeners to join the conversation. Do you make new year’s resolutions? Tell us about them. What are your goals for this new year and how important is it to you to start the year off with a resolution? Our number is 1-888-895-5727, that’s 1-888-895-KPBS. Barbarella, let me start with you. What does the new year signify for you? Is it always a time for big changes?

FOKOS: Well, see, I – you know, it’s interesting. New year’s resolutions, unlike personal goals people make throughout the year, seem to be as much about looking back as they are about looking forward. And, you know, in my line of work, I spend a lot of time throughout the year reflecting and going over everything, so I think what it means is we’re taking stock. And I think it’s a great chance for people to focus their priorities but it also seems sort of – it’s based on previous things so we find things we were not happy with in the previous year that we want to change. Like you said, change is very important for this. Spending more time with our families, more that what? More than we spent with them last year.

CAVANAUGH: Right, right.

FOKOS: So it seems very dependent on the previous year.


CAVANAUGH: Would you mind if I asked you what some of your new year’s resolutions are?

FOKOS: And, see, that’s tough. I don’t really have any.


FOKOS: I don’t – I have personal goals that are ongoing and none that really coincide with the new year. So I have, you know, get out of debt, but I’ve been doing that for months. I think everybody, after three months of binging, really wants to, you know, our excesses sort of lead us to want to be more restrained in the new year. So, I don’t know, get healthy, all the regular things, but they’re ongoing.

CAVANAUGH: All the regular things. That’s sort of amazing, Dr. Livingston, that so many of us seem to want the same things, to sort of want to make the same changes in our lives. Are these changes we personally want to make or are these more things that we think we ought to do?

DR. LIVINGSTON: Well, these are – New year’s resolutions are promises. They’re statements of intent, and as such I don’t think they’re worth very much so I don’t make new year’s resolutions either because, first of all, they’re notoriously unreliable in terms of actually coming to fruition and they usually involve rather superficial things like, I don’t know, smoking or diet or exercise. And it seems to me that we get too wrapped up in the words and that statements of intention are relatively worthless. It’s what we do that really defines us and if we haven’t been doing it in the past, it’s unlikely that we’re going to be doing it in the future.

CAVANAUGH: We are talking about new year’s resolutions, taking your phone calls at 1-888-895-5727, that’s 1-888-895-KPBS. But, Doctor, you know, I do know some people who, you know, say I gave up smoking January first, you know, 1999, or whatever it is, or I decided that I was going to get a new job on that day and I – darn it, I did it. And I wonder if that doesn’t sort of make the idea of having a new year’s resolution more – a little bit more profound?

DR. LIVINGSTON: Well, there seems to be a kind of a biological imperative to use the turning of the year as a reason for making changes but, again, I think that promises and statements of good intentions are – carry us only so far and that while some people seem to be able to see them through, the vast majority are disappointed by February.

CAVANAUGH: Yes, Barbarella.

FOKOS: I gave up smoking in December about seven years ago and I remember, you know, when you’re ready to do something, I think what the doctor says is very accurate. When you’re ready, you’re ready. And that really doesn’t have a calendar clock to it. You know, we make changes when we’re ready to, so and that was about, yeah, seven years ago in December. I figured there was no reason to wait until the end of the month.

CAVANAUGH: Very good but that – that shows a sort of a commitment that a lot of people don’t have during the holiday season.

FOKOS: Right. There are plenty of cookies…


FOKOS: …to take the place of those cigarettes.

CAVANAUGH: We are taking your calls at 1-888-895-5727. We’re talking about new year’s resolutions, whether you’ve made any this year, whether you’ve succeeded in the past with any or whether you’ve given up making resolutions. That number, 1-888-895-5727. Let’s hear from Elizabeth calling us in San Diego. Good morning, Elizabeth, and welcome to These Days.

ELIZABETH (Caller, San Diego): Good morning. Thank you. Happy New Year.

CAVANAUGH: Happy New Year.

ELIZABETH: Yes, I actually have given up doing resolutions and have switched over to just doing new year’s intentions where I just do one-word intentions that carry me throughout the year.

CAVANAUGH: And would you mind sharing what some of your intentions are this year?

ELIZABETH: My one-word intentions this year are finish, family and finance. Finish, meaning helping me finish my projects. And family, obviously what that is, and finances is trying to put the money back into my accounts. So any time I need to make a decision in my life on where I’m going to go, I go back to my three word intentions and then plug it into my consideration formula.

CAVANAUGH: Oh, that’s really very interesting.

FOKOS: Umm-hmm.

CAVANAUGH: Thank you for sharing that, Elizabeth.

ELIZABETH: You’re welcome.

CAVANAUGH: And that goes back to your idea about finances, Barbarella. That must be on a lot of people’s list. In fact, you just did a column about resolutions. Tell us a little bit about that.

FOKOS: I did. It actually comes out this week…


FOKOS: …so I called it “Lost In Resolution.” And it’s struggling with the generic sense of all resolutions. Like you said, they’re just so regular. I think for a resolution, like I love Elizabeth’s right there, is going to be effective, it needs to be specific. You know, but, no, mine was basically saying how – like I just said, you make goals throughout the year and I have a lot of difficulty at all of these parties we’ve just recently attended…


FOKOS: …people ask you what’s your resolution? And you almost feel the pressure to invent one.


FOKOS: So that’s what my column is about, like trying to invent one that sounds interesting because nobody wants to say I’m going to get healthy this year. You want to say something that just drops people.

CAVANAUGH: All right, so…

FOKOS: Like, wow, that’s impressive. I want to be like that. And I really couldn’t come up with one. I think I settled on I’m going to learn Japanese, you know, but check back with me.

CAVANAUGH: Check back and see if that works out for you. Dr. Livington, you know, as I said in the beginning, the most popular resolutions are things like losing weight and stopping bad habits but, you know, if you think about it, aren’t those behaviors symptoms of deeper issues that need to be resolved?

DR. LIVINGSTON: Well, yeah, usually. And these efforts at self-improvement have more to do with the question of how do we make ourselves happier or how do we live more fulfilling lives, and that’s why it seems to me that most of the promises that we make around the new year are relatively superficial in that respect and they don’t reflect the kind of – the deeper sorts of issues that would lend real meaning to our lives. You know, what’s missing and what we can do about relationships and these kinds of things that are a little bit more significant than what diet we’re going to go on.

CAVANAUGH: Isn’t it – I’m just reflecting on what Barbarella said just a minute ago, don’t a lot of these resolutions that people make at this time of year reflect about – I mean, sort of target in what we’re fed up with in our lives?

DR. LIVINGSTON: Yeah, right. Yeah, they’re usually divesting ourselves of habitual behaviors that we would like to change. And – But that’s what – I mean, I just think we get lost in words and that’s what promises or statements of good intentions are, and so it’s the actions that count. And so changing these behaviors turns out to be like any other habit, hard to give up.

CAVANAUGH: Now, Dr. Livingston, did you say you don’t make new year’s resolutions?

DR. LIVINGSTON: No, I don’t. I mean, I feel as though they’re – all of us have some things that we – that represent goals in our lives. I suppose there are things that we would like to do better but it just – it doesn’t seem that that’s any more likely to happen on January first if it didn’t happen on December first.

CAVANAUGH: We’re taking your phone calls at 1-888-895-5727 about new year’s resolutions. And Vaheedeehe (phonetically) – Oh, I’m going to let you say your own name because I’m messing it up. Our caller from San Diego is on the line right now. Good morning.

VADIHI (sp): (Caller, San Diego): Good morning. Happy New Year to all, and I’m kind of…

CAVANAUGH: And could you pronounce your name for us?

VADIHI: Vadihi.

CAVANAUGH: Vadihi, okay.


CAVANAUGH: Thank you.

VADIHI: I’m a big believer of new year’s resolutions and, yes, sometimes they’ve been repetitive, sometimes they kind of fall off by June. But I still do believe in making resolutions and although there may be a trend of giving those up, I believe that they put a positive spin to someone’s spirit with the turn of the new year and so there should always be an encouragement to make some more. Yeah, maybe some of them may not come true and some of them may not get completed but it gives you like a sense of purpose with the beginning of new year.

CAVANAUGH: Thank you for that.

VADIHI: So that’s my comment.

CAVANAUGH: Thank you very much. So, Barbarella, the – Vadihi’s idea is that the very act of making these resolutions puts a positive spin and basically sort of gives you a clean slate looking into the new year. What do you think about that?

FOKOS: Yeah, I agree with that. I have a lot of friends who rely on the new year’s resolution to sort of look forward. And, like I said, there’s a lot of looking back but it’s also looking forward and it gives them focus. And for some of us, you know, throughout the year or on January first, like Dr. Livingston said, you know, if you make one resolution, if somebody says this is the year I’m doing this, it might actually help you to focus and really prioritize that. Whereas if you didn’t do that, if you didn’t force yourself to choose something, you wouldn’t really feel inclined perhaps to prioritize one thing over everything else.

CAVANAUGH: And, Doctor, the idea of focusing and sort of using this as an impetus to do something you’ve wanted to do for a long, long time, does that make any sense?

DR. LIVINGSTON: Well, I think it’s revealing if the new year’s resolutions that we’re making have a familiar feel to us. If they’re the same ones we made last year…


DR. LIVINGSTON: …then I think we probably ought to sit down and reflect, not on whether we’re going to do them but what’s, you know, what’s keeping us from doing them and how important are they really? And – But, again, you know, they’re only words and I think words are much less valuable than behavior.

CAVANAUGH: And how do we change our words into behavior, Dr. Livingston? Do you have any tips for us?

DR. LIVINGSTON: Well, you know, Nike had that wonderful commercial, the three word suggestion that we ‘Just Do It.’ And that I think we’re a verbal people and so we sit around and make these promises to each other or to ourselves and that somehow carries some satisfaction with it, the idea that, okay, well, we’ve said these things so that’s a start. But it’s really not a start. The start comes with the change to behavior and so that’s why I think the essential therapeutic question actually in psychotherapy is, is what’s next? It’s – And if what’s next turns out to be just another statement of good intention, that’s definitely not enough. So what’s next refers to behavior.

CAVANAUGH: We are talking about new year’s resolutions. My guests are Barbarella, journalist and columnist here in San Diego, and psychiatrist and author Dr. Gordon Livingston. We have to take a short break. When we return, we’ll continue taking your phone calls on new year’s resolutions. Our number is 1-888-895-5727. You’re listening to These Days on KPBS.

CAVANAUGH: I'm Maureen Cavanaugh. You're listening to These Days on KPBS. And we’re talking about new year’s resolutions, whether they work, whether you’ve made any. We’re opening up the lines and asking if you would share some of your new year’s resolutions with us. My number is 1-888-895-5727. And my guests are Barbarella Fokos, she is the author of “Diary of a Diva,” which has appeared in the San Diego Reader every week since 2004. And psychiatrist and author Dr. Gordon Livingston. His recent bestseller is “Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart.” And let’s go to the phones immediately and take a phone call from one of our listeners. Noelle is calling in University Heights. Noel (sic), welcome to These Days.

NOELLE (Caller, University Heights): Yeah, hi, it’s Noelle.

CAVANAUGH: Noelle, okay.

NOELLE: I just wanted to make a comment about what the psychiatrist said about, you know, that talking doesn’t really help things and I totally get where he’s coming from but there’s also like the change model process, which is like more of a cycle and, you know, it has to do with – I don’t know if anyone’s heard of motivational interviewing. But part of it can be that, you know, talking about it and thinking about it is part of the contemplation. There’s like pre-contemplation, contemplation, and then you move into action. So sometimes if you actually think about it as part of the process instead of just getting down on yourself or, oh, I’m just talking, I’m not doing anything, but you’re thinking, okay, I’m on my way to doing something, sometimes just kind of that shift in your mind can actually motivate you more to move farther along the process.

CAVANAUGH: Noelle, it sounds like you’ve done a lot of thinking about this.

NOELLE: Definitely.

CAVANAUGH: Okay, thank you for the phone call. Doctor, what do you think about that? What she…

DR. LIVINGSTON: You know, she – she’s absolutely right, that talking and contemplation has its place but my experience is that often that turns out to be the end of the story for a lot of people. And so, sure, I think we have to form intentions, we have to discuss the things that are – that may be blocking our behavior but at some point we have to do something. And the problem with new year’s resolutions is that there’s lots of evidence that people don’t do any – they don’t do what they intend, so it provides only a temporary comfort to us if we just talk about it and if we promise to do it. And so there – it has to be translated into action for there to be any real value. So the contemplation, I think, comes before January first. It’s now January fourth. If you’re not doing anything about what you promised to do on January first, then that’s a clear sign that the resolution hasn’t had much value.

CAVANAUGH: Doctor, let me ask you a follow-up to that. And there are two schools of thought about resolutions and that is, you should tell everybody if you’re, you know, if you’ve decided, let’s say, to give up smoking or to lose weight, or you should tell a lot of people to declare that this is now part of your life and putting that kind of pressure on you. Or, shouldn’t tell anyone and you should keep it a private thing to reduce that amount of pressure on you and let you just focus on what it is you want to do. Which school of thought do you come down on?

DR. LIVINGSTON: Well, I’d come down on the accountability question. I mean, if you announce it to everybody and then you don’t do it, then presumably you’re subject to some embarrassment. So I think that would incline you to actually go through with it.

CAVANAUGH: Okay. And Barbarella?

FOKOS: Well, I’m accountability for everybody else but not for me. Actually, the goals that I’ve achieved actually happen to be – I don’t think it’s coincidental, the few that I did not tell people about. When I quit smoking, I did not tell people about it because the pressure was – would have been too high and it needed to be my decision. Although, my real new year’s resolution to be on These Days with Maureen Cavanaugh, I told everybody about because I knew for certain it was something I could accomplish.

CAVANAUGH: And then it came true.

FOKOS: And it did.

CAVANAUGH: That’s very great. But let’s go to the phones. Susan is calling from San Diego. Good morning, Susan. Welcome to These Days.

SUSAN (Caller, San Diego): Hi. That is me, I suppose.

CAVANAUGH: Yes, it sure is.

SUSAN: Yeah.

CAVANAUGH: Thank you.

SUSAN: I was listening to Dr. Livingston and his comments about words not being sufficient but last year I made a resolution that I would begin each day and end each day with the thoughts of what I’m grateful for.


SUSAN: And that has had a profound affect. Not always perfect but when I start with a day thinking about a thought of what I’m grateful for, it just sets my mood for the day.


SUSAN: And then in the evening when I think about what I was grateful for that day, it gives me a chance to review what I did right, what I did wrong, and puts me in a happy mood when I go to sleep.

CAVANAUGH: Well, that’s fabulous. Susan, thank you for that very much. And, Barbarella, it makes me think, what Susan said, makes me think about a column you did a couple of months ago. It’s not a new year’s resolution exactly, but a few months ago you wrote a column that you don’t want to soften the truth for people anymore. You want to be very straightforward about telling…


CAVANAUGH: …people what you really think. It’s – That struck me as the kind of emotional, internal sort of brave resolution that people should perhaps think about making aside from, you know, the idea I have to eat more vegetables and…

FOKOS: Right.

CAVANAUGH: …things like that. Tell us a little bit about that decision you made.

FOKOS: Well, thank you. And I appreciate the calling – the callers you’re getting, too, that these are very personal and interpersonal. I guess that would be a resolution I made a few weeks ago, to live more honestly and if you come from a place, a grateful place, of appreciation – If you come from a place of love and honesty then everything is okay. So what it was for me was telling my family I wasn’t interested in celebrating Christmas. And instead of making up a lie, which separates you from those who are close to you in life, I said this is where I’m at; I love you, I’ll see you soon but I’m just not interested in doing this this year. And it was so liberating to know that everything, every interaction I have, I can be honest. It doesn’t have to be brutally honest…

CAVANAUGH: Umm-hmm. Right.

FOKOS: …but honest, and that has freed me a lot. So…

CAVANAUGH: And, Doctor, what about these emotional resolutions people make. Like Susan’s comment about starting and ending each day with gratitude, perhaps being more honest with people, are they in a different category than, you know, eating more vegetables and exercising more?

DR. LIVINGSTON: Yeah, and gratitude has gotten a lot of publicity lately as an emotion or as an action that we don’t engage in much. So I – But I do think there are things that we can do mentally, you know, whether it’s meditation or that do provide us with a more peaceful outlook.

CAVANAUGH: Let’s take some more calls. We’re taking your calls about new year’s resolutions. Our number is 1-888-895-5727. And Jack is calling from La Costa. Good morning, Jack.

JACK (Caller, La Costa): Yeah, good morning. I really enjoy this show.

CAVANAUGH: Thank you.

JACK: I think new year’s resolutions are a wonderful device. It’s a new year, it’s a new energy, we’re setting (audio dropout) for what we’d like to have. The challenge comes in, as Doctor is saying, in the action steps and I think once you have the emotional charge around something and you’re truly intending it and if you use a simple device of compare your past results with your past actions and encourage yourself every time you have a new action in an old way that you challenge yourself: Is this going to get you where you want to be? Or do you have to change that behavior? And if so, change the behavior to get what you really want. You know, that’s where you really manifest something new and different. If you’re not willing to do that, you’re most likely to get the old results in a new year.

CAVANAUGH: Well, Jack, do you mind if I ask you what are your resolutions for the new year?

JACK: Yes, I do. And I’ll tell you why.


JACK: Because it’s my business, it’s none of your business.


JACK: And by holding the energy inside me and nurturing it and keeping it alive, I will outperform my intention.

CAVANAUGH: Well, fair enough, Jack, and thank you…

JACK: But if I – if I – No, just a minute.


JACK: Just a minute. By sharing it, you disperse it and you never know who is going to be around who’s going to hear it that’s going to quietly bad vibe you.

CAVANAUGH: Bad vibe you.

JACK: So by nurturing – Yeah, take that as you will. That’s kind of a new-agey term. But – I just made it up by the way. But by holding it inside, you know. Just like the gal talking about stopping smoking. It was her voyage. It was…


JACK: …her quest. And she accomplished it on her terms.

CAVANAUGH: Jack, thanks a lot. And, Doctor, I’m wondering, you know, you counsel a lot of people trying to make changes in their lives. What are the big mistakes that people make?

DR. LIVINGSTON: Well, I think the big mistakes that people make is underestimating how difficult it is to break habitual patterns in our lives, that most of us live on auto-pilot and that we do the same things today that we’ve done before, and they underestimate how difficult it is to try really new behaviors. And that’s where the doing rather than talking comes in, so that if people are engaging in this process with me, I’m – I really try to hold them accountable for these promises because it’s not just enough to think about them and to talk about them. It’s important to translate that into some behavioral change.

CAVANAUGH: You know, our caller Jack, Barbarella, did not want to talk about his resolutions. I’m wondering, is it – do you think it’s rude to even mention them later in the year? Like suppose a friend, Barbarella, comes up to you and says, you know, this is the year I’m losing weight. I’m losing…

FOKOS: Right.

CAVANAUGH: …30 pounds this year. And you go up to her in April and you say, well, how’s that…

FOKOS: Right.

CAVANAUGH: …how’s that weight loss idea coming along?

FOKOS: I know. I do, I think it’s inappropriate. I think new year’s resolutions are meant to be kept to just that newness, the tabula rasa, you know, the new year. And that, you know, say, April even May, if you just say, you know, how’s that debt consolidation or how’s it – whatever their issues are, are you living to it? I feel like you’re checking up on them, you know, and – which is one of the reasons people probably keep them personal. But if somebody asks me and there’s disappointment – if somebody says, Barbarella, how are you coming with that learning Japanese?


FOKOS: And I’ll go, ahh, tail between my legs, I haven’t started. I’m a bad person. You know…

CAVANAUGH: Right, right.

FOKOS: …I think it’s inappropriate.

CAVANAUGH: Let’s take another call. Annie is calling from Hillcrest. And good morning, Annie. Welcome to These Days.

ANNIE (Caller, Hillcrest): Hi, kids. How are – how’s everybody?

CAVANAUGH: Just pretty good.

ANNIE: Good. I have to, first of all, say thank you for your show. And, Dr. Livingston, thank you for your profession. And, Barbarella, I appreciate your writing.

FOKOS: Thank you.

ANNIE: I think the major concern should be more honed into intent.

CAVANAUGH: Intent in the sense of making that – of deciding what it is you want to change in your life?

ANNIE: Yeah, and it’s incremental. It’s not just, you know, okay, today’s a new day and I’m going to do it. It’s always a matter of, okay, how can I hone this in a little more?

CAVANAUGH: Got you. Well, thank you for the call. And, Dr. Livingston, that – you know, you referenced the fact that we are now four days into the new year and if you haven’t started doing anything about your resolutions maybe you should rethink them. I’m wondering, though, we are only four days into the new year. Is there still time to tailor your resolutions a bit so that you can make them more successful?

DR. LIVINGSTON: Yeah, one of my favorite aphorisms is that only bad things happen quickly and that good things, everything in our lives that really mean something, relationships, education, raising children, all those things take time. And so that I think that that’s what people have to commit themselves to, is to doing – you know, is to realizing that and to – and realizing that these changes in behavior are going to be incremental, they’re going to be slow but that – so that it’s their job, if they’re going to make a resolution, whether it’s on January first or any other time, to accept that and to change things gradually. One doesn’t learn Japanese in a week or a month for sure, and so it seems to me that committing oneself to that is much harder work than most people anticipate.

CAVANAUGH: We’re taking your phone calls about new year’s resolutions. Let me get in a few phone calls back to back, if I can. Ann is calling from San Diego. Good morning, Ann, and welcome to These Days.

ANN (Caller, San Diego): Good morning. I have a wonderful wish. I heard on – it was actually, I think, on National Public Radio of a wonderful thing called the anti-charity. So you make a pledge to yourself that you will lose whatever. Let’s say you want to lose 20 pounds in two – in six months. If you haven’t lost that weight, you have to make a significant pledge to a cause that you do not believe in. Which in my case would be the Republican Party.

CAVANAUGH: Oh, my goodness.

FOKOS: That’s fabulous.

CAVANAUGH: But who holds you to that, Ann?

ANN: Yeah, apparently there is – I don‘t know the exact website but apparently there is a website where you actually give them your credit card number…

CAVANAUGH: Oh, my goodness.

ANN: …and they – and you decide on a way to verify whatever it is you’ve decided you’ll do, you’ll actually do, so you are held accountable.

CAVANAUGH: Thank you for that. That’s wonderful. Talk about pressure. Jack is calling from Point Loma. Good morning, Jack.

JACK (Caller, Point Loma): Good morning. I also love your show. Listen to you every morning. My resolution is to focus on relationships this year because it’s been too much sort of on automatic and I haven’t been sort of having success with that, so I’ve got call logs. I schedule time in my month to have breakfast or lunch with people that I don’t get to see enough, e-mails, so I basically sort of made a list of the people that I need to either stay connected or reconnect with and I’m focusing on that.

CAVANAUGH: Thank you for that and good luck with that.

JACK: You’re welcome.

CAVANAUGH: Paul is calling from San Marcos. Good morning, Paul. Welcome to These Days.

PAUL (Caller, San Marcos): Hi. I think Jack pretty much summed it up. The one thing that I think is missing here is New Years is a day of motivation to get people back on track, people that don’t necessarily have top-mind awareness of the idea of personal change. And what Jack just did, was he said I’m going to have that – stronger relationships but then what he did is he took it a step further and said I set a time, I schedule days, that I’m going to spend time with people that are important to me and make sure I make the time for them. And that’s the big thing about New Years is it’s an event. It doesn’t come around all the time. It’s like a big motivating – it’s just a little bit of a push to go, oh, you know what, you know, I really should make this change. And even if it’s something like making your bed every morning, for instance…


PAUL: …it – you go, okay, it’s – I’m going to take it a step further. I’m going to set up a plan. Every morning when I wake up, before I head in the shower, I’m going to make my bed. And it’s about making a plan, making a schedule, actually taking it from idea to changing your life to do it. So…

CAVANAUGH: Well, Paul, thank you for that.

PAUL: Right.

CAVANAUGH: And, Dr. Livingston, that’s what you’ve been talking about during this whole show.

DR. LIVINGSTON: Yeah, exactly. Just keeping it realistic and very specific is the best way to do it.

CAVANAUGH: Backing it up with actions.

DR. LIVINGSTON: Actually, yeah, action, you’re right.

CAVANAUGH: And, Barbarella, we don’t have much time left. I wonder, since you are such a gad-about, such a social…

FOKOS: What are you calling me?

CAVANAUGH: Since – I’m not going to say socialist, not at all, socialite is what I’m trying to say. I’m wondering if you have some resolutions that you’d like to see for San Diego in 2010?

FOKOS: Yes, definitely. One thing I would love to see aside from an increase in support of local culture from – you know, we have so many amazing things from music to performance, is I would love the city to work on public transportation. If I was to assign a resolution, I’d say let’s get some subways up in here.


FOKOS: Something effective. Really great public transportation so…

CAVANAUGH: Now, that’s going to take a while.

FOKOS: Yeah. Did I say 2010? I meant the next decade. We have a whole decade now. It’s a resolution for that.

CAVANAUGH: Well, nothing good happens fast, right, Doctor?

DR. LIVINGSTON: Right, exactly.

FOKOS: Right.

CAVANAUGH: I want to thank you both so much for being here and talking with us, and thank everyone who called with their resolutions. I want to thank Barbarella Fokos, and Dr. Gordon Livingston thanks for your advice and your wise words.

DR. LIVINGSTON: Thank you, Maureen.

CAVANAUGH: And everyone who didn’t get a chance to actually call in, please do go online with your comments, You’re listening to These Days on KPBS.