New Year's Resolutions for Seniors

By Ruby Cemental

With the new year upon us, this is a time of year that many of us make New Year's resolutions. Choosing resolutions that are reasonable and possible can create a sense of accomplishment and purpose. Statistics show that only 8% of the people who set New Year Resolutions follow through with them, so it is essential to create resolutions that are not overly ambitious and are achievable. As we age our understanding of who we are as well as what we are capable of changes and here are three New Year's resolutions that will help you feel better and give you a sense of accomplishment.

1. Increase Your Physical Activity

We all know that physical activity is good for us, but sometimes it can be so difficult to even get off the couch. You may have been a track star, football player, or spent time outside hiking the trails and enjoying the outdoors. For many of us, this type of activity is no longer possible, but that does not mean that we should resign to a sedentary life. Any physical activity is better than none and research have shown that many conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis improve with moderate exercise.

If you enjoy your solitude, walking can be a great way to remain active. Some people need or want the encouragement and support offered by being involved in group activities. Low impact exercises such as tai chi and water aerobics provide a great way to be active in a group setting. Exercise can improve balance, posture, and mood and group activities are also a perfect way to make contact with like-minded seniors, a chance to socialize plus the support to keep you on track for a successful resolution.

2. Keep Your Mind Active

Studies have provided evidence that staying mentally active can be beneficial for seniors. More research is needed, but preliminary indications suggest that the more active your mind is, the better it will serve you, possibly even delaying or preventing memory loss, dementia, and Alzheimer's disease. It can be comfortable to sit in your favorite chair and watch mindless television programming to entertain yourself but that does little to keep your mind active.

Resolve to cut out an hour or two of viewing time and instead replace that time with reading, crossword puzzles, Sudoku, or another brain teaser. Take it a step further and join a book or bridge club and add some socialization to your life. Also, keep in mind that it is never too late to learn and many community colleges offer seniors classes at reduced costs or even free.

3. Organize Family Photos

Most of us have a box somewhere that contains photos, articles, and keepsakes that, in many cases, have been long forgotten. Resolve to organize these family heirlooms. Label and organize the pictures, place them in an album, so your grandchildren know that is a photo of you as a teen. Those images tell a story that your family will cherish for years to come, allowing future generations, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, to have a glimpse into your life and their family heritage.

4. Cultivate Stronger Family Relationships

Even if you already have a wonderful, loving family, there are things you can do to maximize your time with them—spending more time with your grandkids or discussing your end of life concerns with your children. And if you do not have a great relationship with your family, the new year is a great time to see if you can mend some bridges.

The new year represents a new beginning, a new chapter in life. Setting resolutions that are achievable and will significantly influence your quality of life will make them easier to keep. Don't let a minor setback, like not exercising one day or missing a class or bridge game, lessen your resolve. Every resolution is subject to trials and delays but decide not to let one or two bad days cause you to quit. These simple resolutions will give you a sense of accomplishment and help to make this year one of the most successful in your life.

Tags: Holidays