Happy New Year! It’s that time again to take stock of your life and find ways to live happier and healthier. The new year offers a chance for a fresh start, a new beginning, an opportunity to better yourself. Most commonly, people expect to do this with popular resolutions—lose weight, eat healthier, save money, travel, spend time with family.
Unfortunately, studies show that over 80% of New Year’s resolutions are abandoned by February. The problem? The popular resolutions of “losing weight” and “saving money” are not specific enough, and many people don’t even feel an emotional attachment to them in the first place.
Coming up with goals and ways to better yourself is never a bad thing, but these goals and resolutions need to be realistic, specific, and something you actually want. For older adults, coming up with realistic goals on January 1 can instill a sense of confidence and accomplishment throughout the year and promote healthy aging and increase longevity.
With independent living communities throughout The United States, HarborChase Senior Living has come up with a list of realistic New Year’s resolutions that promote healthy aging and celebrate senior living!
1. Start a Gratitude Journal
The power of positivity has long been recognized for promoting physical and mental wellness. And while many people strive to be more positive, the idea of “positive thinking” is vague and hard to implement into daily life.
For a more specific approach, try starting a gratitude journal. It doesn’t need to be a fancy notebook; you can use a legal pad, scratch paper, or even the Notes app on your phone. The point is that each day, you write down 1-3 things that you are grateful for.
They don’t need to be deep or overly detailed—one day, you could be thankful for your health, and the next day you could be grateful for a delicious meal. Physically writing down your gratitudes can help you readjust your life and focus on the things you truly appreciate.
2. Drink More Water
Adequate hydration is vital in ensuring wellness and healthy aging, but for many reasons, older adults do not drink as much water as they should. An easy, specific, and beneficial New Year’s resolution is to drink one more glass of water each day.
Start by placing a glass of water by your bed at night and drinking it first thing in the morning. By starting with just one extra glass a day, you will get into the habit of hydrating regularly.
3. Make Healthier Swaps
One of the most popular New Year’s resolutions—“eat healthy”—is failed by so many people because it’s simply too general. Between fad diets and misleading food labels, it can be difficult to even know what is considered “healthy.”
For a more realistic resolution, consider swapping some of your food choices for more nutritious ones. Here are a few examples that you can easily start with:
- Instead of soda → try flavored seltzer water
- Instead of potato chips → try stovetop popcorn, nuts, or trail mix
- Instead of cereal → try oatmeal or a yogurt parfait
- Instead of white bread and pasta → try whole-grain options
Starting with small swaps can put less pressure on the concept of “eating healthy” while still offering nutritious changes!
4. Try Something New
“Learn something new” is on many people’s list of New Year’s resolutions, but, like the others, it is vague and creates unrealistic pressure to become fluent in Spanish or master woodworking. However, much research shows that learning a new skill can be valuable in healthy aging and slowing cognitive decline.
Instead of pressuring yourself to learn or master a new skill, start by just trying something new. Many fun and unique winter hobbies [link to Dec 22 blog] promote healthy aging and increase skill sets.
This year, choose to try something you’ve always wanted to do, whether it’s learning a new language, taking a pottery course, or even something completely unique like taking improv classes!
5. Move Your Body for 30 Minutes a Day
To make exercise a more achievable resolution, set a goal of doing some form of physical activity for at least 30 minutes each day. This could be taking three 10-minute walks, cleaning the house for half an hour, or participating in a yoga class online.
Getting enough exercise has countless benefits to overall health and wellness and is easier to do than you might realize!
Happy New Year from HarborChase
Today, many people choose to forgo New Year’s resolutions entirely, having the mindset of, “I don’t do New Year’s resolutions because I can never keep them!” Fortunately, setting specific goals with realistic increments makes resolutions easier to keep, encouraging wellness and healthy aging all year long—not just through February.
HarborChase Senior Living celebrates senior living in our independent living, assisted living, and memory care communities. If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to share it with a friend or visit our blog for more helpful resources.
Here’s to a Happy New Year with successful resolutions!