The next year is right around the corner. Many people view the beginning of a year as a time to make a fresh start, and often develop resolutions that they believe will help them achieve certain goals and aspirations. These resolutions sometimes only last a few hours, days or weeks; but some folks are able to fulfill their commitment to themselves and reach the desired end results.
Resolutions can be made by folks of any age, but time commitments and financial resources are two factors that are important to consider when developing an idea and a plan. Here are some additional tips to keep in mind:
Start small. Focus your attention on one goal instead of several to keep your life manageable. Break down your ultimate goal into a series of steps that will be quicker and easier to accomplish. Visible progress will be an encouragement for you to continue your plan.
Be sure the steps to reach your goals are practical. A big dream or lofty goal may be admirable, but if the steps to get there are unreasonable, you are only setting yourself up for failure.
Reward yourself. When you reach smaller milestones, give yourself a tangible treat to celebrate your success and keep yourself focused on moving forward.
Find a mentor/cheerleader. Is there someone who has accomplished a similar goal who can share helpful tips and will truly understand when struggles occur?
Develop accountability. Keep a journal or share your desired routine with another person and have a schedule for conversations to share your progress. This accountability can help provide additional motivation when the going gets tough.
Recruit a partner. Do you have a friend, neighbor or coworker who would also like to make a similar lifestyle change? A regular exercise program or reading a long novel may be more interesting and enjoyable when shared with the right person.
Do some research and locate tools to help you succeed. We are living in the information age, so find a way to let information work for you. Older adults may not realize that appropriate information may be slightly different for them than for younger adults.
Here are a few suggestions for specific websites with regard to certain goals for older adults.
Goal: Exercise more
The National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of Health (https://go4life.nia.nih.gov) offers information about the four different types of exercise (endurance, strength, flexibility and balance) as well as how to get started with an exercise routine that is appropriate for you.
Goal: Eat healthier
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (www.choosemyplate.gov) has developed the MyPlate, MyWins initiative to help people assess their current eating patterns and learn methods of healthier eating through reading food labels, time saving techniques, meal planning and saving money at the store. Specific information for older adults is available under the audience/adults section.
The National Council on Aging (www.ncoa.org) offers tips and videos in their Health Aging section about topics such as eating healthy on a budget, making food choices and adapting comfort foods for improved health.
Goal: Plan for the future
The blog section of our website, www.keystoneelderlaw.com, contains numerous articles that explain estate planning tools and documents, public benefit programs and important considerations related to family finances and long-term care needs.
Plan Your Lifespan (www.planyourlifespan.org) is a website containing information developed by older adults, geriatricians, researchers, social workers and others who shares questions and some steps for addressing older adult issues such as hospitalizations, falls, memory loss and Alzheimer’s, and talking to others about concerns.
Are you hesitant to develop resolutions due to fear of failure? Even if an individual develops resolutions and then “falls off the wagon,” changes that can lead to reduced stress, healthier lifestyles and greater personal contentment are worthwhile pursuing at any time during the year. If an initial attempt to meet a certain goal doesn’t work out, show what you have learned by re-evaluating and re-adjusting your goal and the steps to reach it if necessary. Then demonstrate your determination by re-attacking the plan. Success may be just around the corner.