By Michele D. Baker
New Year’s Resolutions commonly fail. Why? Because most resolutions require us to make behavioral changes without considering how to achieve them. (So they become like wishes.) For example, we resolve to “lose weight” instead of “lose 1 lb. each week.” The goal is the same, but the approach is completely different. To successfully accomplish your 2024 New Year’s resolutions, carve out 10 minutes each day to focus on them. (Want more? Good Housekeeping offers a list of 65 New Year’s resolutions!)
New Year’s Resolution #1 – Give Your Brain a Workout
The more you use your mind, the better it will work. Reading, doing crosswords, playing cards, or learning something new are all good choices. Even socializing is a great boost for your brain! Implement this new resolution by spending 10 minutes each day with a good book, on the phone with a friend, playing cards or taking a course online.
New Year’s Resolution #2 – Move Your Muscles
Spend 10 minutes each day doing something for your body. If you can walk, great! If you can’t walk, spend the time sitting up straight and stretching or doing chair yoga. Do some household chores, weed the flower patch, or any other activity that will improve your balance, posture, and mood.
New Year’s Resolution #3 – Tame Your Temptations
Alcohol, sugar, carbs… we all have vices. To tame these habitual temptations, spend 10 minutes a day *not* partaking. For instance, if you usually have a drink at 5 pm., wait until 5:10 p.m. and ask yourself if you still want it. If you usually eat dessert, wait 10 minutes and evaluate your craving for it. Or, reduce your typical amount by half. Even small reductions will have a big impact on your health over time.
New Year’s Resolution #4 – Don’t Ignore Those Bad Feelings
According to experts, 1 in 5 older adults suffers from depression or anxiety. Some possible signs: lingering sadness, tiredness, loss of appetite, or no longer enjoying doing things you once enjoyed. You may also worry excessively, have difficulty sleeping, be irritable, or want to be alone. If you have any of these signs for more than two weeks, talk to your healthcare provider and reach out to friends and family.
New Year’s Resolution #5 – Audit Your Budget
Spend 10 minutes a week looking at your monthly budget. Is there a way to simplify or cut? Put a little aside so you have the freedom and flexibility to do something nice for yourself once in awhile and reduce financial stress. Investigate senior discounts and call your utilities provider. Ask for a budget-billing plan, which keeps utility bills the same each month – the cost is spread evenly over 12 months.
New Year’s Resolution #6 – Spend Time With Loved Ones
Spend 10 minutes a day nurturing a relationship. Whether you make a phone call, send an email, or write a letter, relationships matter. Grandchildren, friends, and social connections of all kinds prevent loneliness and give you a chance to offer and receive companionship. Senior adults with strong social support have a reduced risk of many health problems, including depression, high blood pressure and an unhealthy body mass index (BMI). Studies have even found that older adults with a rich social life are likely to live longer than their peers with fewer connections. Happy New Year!