Viva la Resolution! – Setting Achievable Goals For The New Year And Sticking To Them

Viva la Resolution! – Setting Achievable Goals For The New Year And Sticking To Them

Viva la Resolution! – Setting Achievable Goals For The New Year And Sticking To Them

With the unmitigated optimism of a brand-new year upon us, it seems that everyone wants to talk about their list of resolutions – a collection of innocuous aspirations geared to make 2018 infinitely better than past years. Yet for most people, those well-intentioned pledges soon get overlooked and tossed to the curb, like a dried-out Christmas tree.

As an older adult, you undoubtedly have a lot of potential ideas that could make up a good resolution list – everything from health and wellness goals to travel-, financial- and family-related plans. But the key is to get your resolutions to evolve into productive long-term habits and outcomes. The best way to do that is to set goals that are not only important to you, but realistic. And don’t be wishy-washy with them. Be specific. For example, don’t just say, “I want to lose weight.” Assert that you want to lose 15 pounds or to be able to fit into a Size 6 again.

Once you’ve done that, write down those resolutions and share them with friends and family members who can help you stay committed to them. Finally, give yourself a good incentive or reward for accomplishing what you set out to do, and make it appropriate. In other words, don’t reward your 15-pound weight loss with a hot fudge sundae. Buy yourself a new outfit!

If you don’t already have your own New Year’s resolutions by now – and aside from the painfully obvious ones (quit smoking once and for all, get more sleep, etc.) here are a handful of suggestions that could make a big impact on your 2018.

  • Eat more fruits and veggies – It’s no secret that a healthy diet is more important than ever as you get older. Experts say you should eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day and chefs at Sunshine Retirement Communities always prepare that many or more. Choose produce in a variety of colors to ensure you get plenty of different nutrients. While you’re at it, give up fatty meats in favor of healthier proteins like chicken, turkey, seafood and tofu.
  • Stay physically active – No matter how many years young you are, it’s important to exercise regularly. Mild to moderate physical activity with minimal impact can do wonders for your body and mind. Walking with a friend is an easy way to get started, but your Sunshine community is sure to offer a host of organized activities for you to jump into. Why not try something new in the new year, like chair yoga, tai chi or water aerobics?
  • Stay mentally active – Your mental health is just as important as your physical well-being. So make sure to give your brain a workout, too. Reading, crossword puzzles and Sudoku are simple activities that can be done in your spare time virtually anywhere. But you can do better than that. Join a group in your community that likes to play cards, bridge or mind-challenging board games. Maybe try a new creative skill, like painting or picking up a musical instrument.
  • Stay socially active – It’s a known fact that social interaction improves quality of life. Yet many factors make it can be harder to stay socially active as you age. This year, make your relationships a priority. Set up a weekly time to chat or have dinner with family members. Get to know your neighbors by exchanging phone numbers in case of emergency. Or consider joining a community organization or church group.
  • Update legal documents – Whether you created your legal documents years ago or have been putting the entire process off, there’s no time like the present to update them. This includes things like wills or advance directives, including living will or power of attorney documents. If you need assistance, someone in your community can help you contact an attorney or help you set up a low-cost technology solution.
  • Have important conversations – If you’ve been putting off having tough conversations about the future with your family, you’re not alone. Add that to your list and resolve to tackle it this year. Schedule a time to talk with loved ones about your future needs and how to handle your estate when you no longer can. It may seem difficult to start the conversation, but you’ll feel so much better after you do.
  • Try something new – This year and every year, do something on your bucket list that takes you a little out of your comfort zone. It doesn’t have to be something crazy like sky diving or running with the bulls. Just resolve to make a new friend or take up a new hobby. Every day can be an adventure if you simply resolve to try something new.
  • Embrace technology – If you’re not an electronics genius, keeping up with the latest trends in technology can be a daunting task. Yet, it can also be a gateway to a better quality of life, saving you lots of time and effort. This year, resolve to master at least one form of new technology. Facebook and other social media applications make it easier to stay connected to the people you care about, especially ones that are far away. Learning to video chat with distant family and friends can be infinitely more satisfying than connecting via phone, text or email. Other apps can put eBooks, games and hobbies in the palm of your hand. You can even use an app on your smart phone to measure your fitness routine or organize your photos. How genius is that?
  • Keep laughing! – We all know laughter is the best medicine. But as you start to lose close friends and loved ones, or maybe as your retirement routine turns into more of a rut, you may feel somewhat disconnected from things that have made you laugh. That’s why it’s important to reconnect with friends, movies, comedians, books, and other things that have made you laugh throughout your life and cultivate new relationships and interests that give you joy. Why not wake up and spend every day with a smile on your face that’s as big as the sun’s.

Remember, each New Year is a gift, another opportunity to take stock of your life and decide what you’d like to change. As the name suggests, a “resolution” is something you must resolve or commit to in order to receive the benefit. So make sure your resolutions are things that are worth committing to and take steps every day to see them through. Then, your unmitigated optimism and aspiration will be just as strong when the New Year becomes the “Old Year.”

*This blog was first published here: Sunshine Retirement Living