As is tradition, 2019 is officially here and it is time to set some new goals to start off fresh to boost your overall health for the new year.
New Year’s resolutions can be difficult to follow, but we are here to help set you and your loved ones up for success! It is important to set resolutions by creating day-to-day plans that help accomplish your goals. Choosing resolutions than are achievable by small tasks is an easy way to build momentum and help create a positive trend in behavior that leads to further success.
Below are some easy New Year’s resolutions that can improve the life and well-being of seniors everywhere, that can be accomplished by making small yet effective changes in daily or monthly routines. Remember to start with something small and once you achieve it, move on to another goal. Do not overload yourself with heavy restrictions and a brand-new routine, but rather, gently shift your actions, little by little, to create long-term change.
1. Stay Physically and Mentally Active
Physical activity is important for sound health regardless of age. Even if you can no longer engage in heavy exercises, mild exercise such as walking has a lot of health benefits with little impact on your body. Start by adding two short walks to your weekly routine. Once this feels easier, add a third walk, and continue this pattern. Before you know it, you’ll be walking longer and farther every day, boosting your overall health.
Your mental health is also important – consider updating your routine to focus on your mind in the new year. The brain can be exercised, just like your body, by engaging in activities like reading and writing, playing crossword puzzles and games, or learning a new creative skill such as playing instrument or painting. Find something that is interesting for you and slowly build it into your free time, whether finding new reading material or picking up a new creative skill. Make sure it’s something you enjoy so you can stick with it long-term.
2. Be More Social
After the hustle and bustle of the holidays, once all the guests have left, it is easy for anyone to feel let down or lonely. If this has been your experience, it might be time to make a new resolution to break the isolation cycle. Making small changes to your social planning can prevent loneliness without overwhelming you. Consider attending community events, visiting your local library, visiting friends, or even volunteering in community programs and groups of interest. Don’t overbook yourself at first, start small with one outing and find something you really enjoy – even if it’s trying out a new grocery store. Once you a more comfortable, begin experimenting with other social opportunities to find what makes you happiest. Many other adults face the experience and are looking for the same social connection you are – don’t let fear get the better of you!
3. Eat Healthier Meals
Consider making small, manageable changes to your daily diet in 2019. Think of creative ways to work in more fruits and vegetables throughout your week. Find fun and interesting kitchen gadgets to help you along the way – maybe a new blender for smoothies for a vegetable spiralizer to find out what “zoodles” are all about. Whole grains, beans, and nuts are also nutritious foods that can be easily included in your diet. Small changes like shifting from white bread to whole wheat bread can make all the difference. When eating meat, think about replacing red meat like beef and pork with leaner, protein-packed options like chicken, turkey, and seafood.
4. Visit Your Doctor Regularly
Start 2019 off right by visiting your healthcare provider to get advice on how to update your regular routines to impact your health. Make regular appointments based on your needs and consult your doctor if you’re feeling unwell. Regular visits can also help you understand the state of your health and what requires your attention. Your healthcare professional can detect early warning signs of diseases such as dementia and glaucoma and can create care plans accordingly. Earlier diagnosis can often increase the viability of treatment. These regular visits are also a great opportunity to review your current medications and lifestyle.
5. Update Your Legal Documents
Legal documentation, like your will and power of attorney, should be revisited yearly, and revised if necessary, with the help of your lawyer. If you have not had the opportunity to create these documents or if you have been putting it off, take 2019 to get your affairs in order. Work with legal counsel to create these documents and sleep easier at night knowing all the details are taken care of, in case of emergency.
6. Share Your Challenges
Living in isolation can be detrimental to anyone’s health. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that about 16 million seniors are suffering from depression in the United States alone. Don’t stay quiet if you are suffering. Share your challenges, whether health-related or personal, with your loved ones and your healthcare providers to get the necessary help and social support you need. It is always okay to ask for help when you need it, and we all need a little help sometimes.
7. Master New Technology
Technology influences every aspect of modern life. It is difficult to go through daily routines without using technology. Try making small goals to learn relevant skills that can help you on a day-to-day basis. Consider upgrading your phone to a smartphone so you can learn how to use many of the applications that make life easier and more fun. You can download games to keep your mind sharp, you can use a video sharing service to talk to your loved ones face-to-face despite being miles apart, or even use reminder applications to help you make lists and take medications on time. You can use your new smartphone or any device that connects to the internet to start participating in social media to keep up-to-date with your friends and family. While you can learn to post on these platforms, you certainly do not have to. Rather, you can login and read about those you care about and stay in touch through messaging services.
Remember, as you are setting your goals for the new year, think about what is easily achievable. Make small changes to your daily or weekly routine – these will add up over time. Accomplishing small goals can help build your confidence and momentum and help you set more challenging goals for the future. Every journey begins with the first step, no matter how small. Once you’ve accomplished a goal, no matter how small, take pride in the work you’ve done. Meeting goals will help build your self-esteem and your confidence and based on what you choose to do, will improve your life overall. Here’s to making 2019 the best year for you!