Well, here we are at the end of another year. Many of us are thinking ahead to which New Year’s resolutions we’ll make for 2017. But what resolutions should seniors living in Cincinnati have in mind?
It’s easy to make resolutions. It’s even easier to break them. It’s estimated that almost 9 in 10 New Year’s resolutions don’t last the year. That’s because lifestyle changes are hard to make — and lifestyle changes are exactly what are required to make resolutions successful.
It’s important for seniors to be realistic and choose attainable goals when they make resolutions for the coming year. Attempt too big a change, and the task becomes too daunting, even intimidating, to accomplish.
But, if you focus on smaller changes, you’ll be more likely to realize positive change in your life’s “second act.” With that in mind, here are a few healthy, reasonable changes you could make in 2017.
1. Become more active
Who says you must commit to a formal exercise routine, or a rigid workout schedule, to become more physically and mentally fit? Why not just commit to attempt more activity, without setting specific goals?
It’s easy to become more active. Watch less TV or, when you do, exercise in place while doing so: do jumping jacks, sit-ups, push-ups or walk in place or on a treadmill. Take a walk a day in your neighborhood. Buy a pedometer and set a loose daily steps-taken goal.
And you don’t have to stick close to home. Get out and do things you enjoy!
Instead of sitting around the house, go to the Cincinnati Art Museum or the Contemporary Art Center every few weeks (both feature free admission, and walking through the exhibits will increase your overall activity level).
Adult dog adoptions aren’t as long a time commitment as puppy adoptions are — you’ll get several years of companionship and the great feeling of saving a dog that was less likely to find a forever home.
2. Resolve to embrace uncertainty
That’s a long way of saying you could adopt a carpe diem philosophy. In our later years, every moment counts. In retirement, you have the time to spend on yourself. Get out and enjoy yourself.
Been thinking about taking that dream vacation or cruise? Why not make 2017 the year for it?
An unfortunate, but realistic, aspect of aging is that we gradually become less able to remain independent. That doesn’t mean we don’t contribute, or that our families somehow value us less.
Or, if you can’t manage the expense or the physical effort, do what you can closer to home. Form a book club. Join the Red Hat Society. Get out and see movies, plays, ballgames.
If it interests you, don’t hesitate. Don’t sit at home. Just do it.
3. Resolve to ask for help when you need it
Many seniors are embarrassed or afraid to ask for help even when they know they need it. Resolve not to be one of them.
An unfortunate, but realistic, aspect of aging is that we gradually become less able to remain independent. That doesn’t mean we don’t contribute, or that our families somehow value us less. Nothing, in fact, could be further from the truth.
Aging exacts an unavoidable physical toll on the body and on the mind. So what? That makes you unique? No one believes that. Your family and friends love you for you, not for what you can or can no longer do.
As the population ages, more and more of us will need assisted living or home care services, help from relatives and help from the community. It’s a natural fact of life, and nothing to be ashamed of. You’re hardly alone.
So, when you notice that certain tasks are becoming difficult for you to manage, reach out! There’s nothing to fear about asking for a little more help. And it will probably relieve your family members if you resolve to be honest with them about your needs.
Make open-ended resolutions this year. You’ll be more likely to follow through.
These are just our suggestions. Use them, or come up with your own. Whatever you do, don’t measure your success against hard-and-fast benchmarks. Measure success by continual progress instead.
If you make your resolutions open-ended and attainable, you’ll be more likely to make real, healthy changes in 2017. You’ll be more likely to spend less of your retirement worrying and spend more of your time living well.