No matter what your age, the dawn of a new year is a perfect time to start fresh, start something new or just start over. Hence, the New Year’s resolution. After all, it’s only natural to feel a little optimism when the clock hits midnight on January 1st. It’s a promise that 365 days of unfettered possibilities lie ahead. Sounds something like retirement, doesn’t it?
According to studies that track these kinds of things, 40 to 50 percent of Americans make a New Year’s resolution – and almost 90 percent of those resolutions fail. But you can easily be among the 10 percent who succeed. Start by choosing specific, realistic goals (we’ve got eight great suggestions for you to pick from). And if you find your resolve wavering, apply our helpful tips to keep your resolutions going strong, all year long:
- Don’t go it alone – share your goals with a friend or relative.
- Set manageable, achievable goals.
- Give yourself credit for each small victory.
- Be patient: On average it takes 66 days to get a new habit to stick.
Resolution #1: Exercise more.
You don’t need a fancy home gym or membership to a fitness center to move your body more. All you need is the willpower and the commitment. Having a buddy to keep you accountable helps, too. Work out along with these videos from the AARP. For even more senior-appropriate exercises, check out these four exercises you should do every day.
Resolution #2: Volunteer.
Giving back to your community can give you a big boost of happiness and a sense of purpose. It can also help prevent isolation and depression. If you’re looking for volunteer opportunities, check out your local library, food bank, animal shelter or hospital. Mentor a child or become a foster grandparent.
There’s also the Retired Senior Volunteer Program, or RSVP. It’s one of the biggest volunteer networks in the country for people over 55. Volunteer opportunities for seniors through RSVP include teaching English to immigrants, helping victims of natural disasters and tutoring disadvantaged youths.
Resolution #3: Make healthier food choices
It’s never too late to change your diet and improve your health. Eating healthier can help you maintain a healthy weight, help you feel better and stay energized, and lower your risk of developing chronic conditions like heart disease and diabetes.
Cut down on your salt, sugar and fat intake, and instead of eating dessert every night, make it a once-a-week treat. Don’t rely on multivitamins to give your body what you need. Instead, eat more fruits and vegetables – it doesn’t matter if they’re fresh, frozen or canned. Try to cut down how much red meat you eat; you can still get plenty of protein by eating more nuts, eggs, beans and legumes, and fish.
Need some sample menus? The National Institute on Aging can help with that.
Resolution #4: Get more sleep
A good night’s sleep benefits our bodies in so many ways, from improving our heart health to reducing stress and improving our memory and attention span. But as we get older, sleep doesn’t come as easily as it may have when we were younger.
Sleep researchers suggest trying to implement a regular sleep schedule, limiting the use of stimulants like caffeine, sugar or alcohol, trying a soothing bedtime routine like reading a book or bathing, or making your bedroom a calming space by removing audible or visual distractions.
Resolution #5: Downsize now
If you’re like most older adults who’ve lived in their houses for decades, you’ve accumulated a lot of possessions. Start letting go of some of those items now so that when you’re ready for a move, you don’t have to scramble to downsize.
Rightsizing experts suggest you start small, like in the laundry room or linen closet. Don’t try to tackle the attic or the garage – instead, work your way up to it. Experts also recommend making YES and NO piles, but not a MAYBE pile. Then move every item in each room into one of two piles. You either keep it or you get rid of it. Pack the YES items, and donate or sell the NO items. This will get harder to do, which is why you’ll want to start in the small rooms first.
Resolution #6: Update important documents
If you have a will or trust, living will, life insurance policies, power of attorney, end-of-life instructions or other legal documents, check them to make sure they reflect your current wishes. If you don’t have any of these, there’s no better time than now to create them. No, it’s not fun to think about these things. But it’s even worse if you need them and don’t have them.
While you’re at it, gather up other important paperwork – personal medical history, insurance cards, birth and marriage certificates, military records, Social Security card, medications lists – and put them somewhere safe. Let your family know where they can find them in case of emergency.
Resolution #7: Check out active retirement communities
Starting your research of Walnut Creek senior living options now is a great way to know what may be available when you’re ready to make the move. It also helps you to decide what might be the best senior living fit for you.
Are you looking at retirement communities that only offer independent living? Or would a senior living option that offers a continuum of care appeal to you? Do you want an active retirement community that offers lots of fitness-focused amenities, like a pool and spa, and a fitness center? Or would you rather have activities and programs that engage your mind and intellect? Chances are good you’ll find communities that offer all this – for example, Viamonte at Walnut Creek.
Resolution #8: Choose a happier, healthier life
Living in an active retirement community like Viamonte can help you enjoy a happier and healthier life. That’s because a senior retirement community like Viamonte can keep you connected with others, help encourage physical activity, engage you in mind, body and spirit, offer you healthier dining options, and eliminate the stress and burden of homeownership.
To get started, give us a call at 925-621-6600. At Viamonte, we can help you with your resolve to live happier and healthier, all year long.