New Year, New You: How Seniors Can Stick to Their Resolutions
What do losing weight, saving money, and exercising have in common? They’re among the most common New Year’s resolutions in the U.S. for all age groups, including seniors. Unfortunately, they’re also the most commonly broken New Year’s resolutions. Despite good intentions, less than half of those who seek a change in the new year make good on that promise. In fact, a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology found that only 46 percent were continuously successful after six months in.
So, what’s the secret to keeping those resolutions? There are numerous approaches out there, most of which involve a bit of mental effort. One of the most important for seniors to recognize is that effective, long-term change can’t be made overnight. Rather, New Year’s resolutions should be a culmination of positive lifestyle changes. Here are some suggestions:
Start small. It’s one thing to commit to losing 100 pounds. It’s another to commit to losing 5 pounds. Starting with small, achievable goals can give you the confidence needed to keep going. And those little achievements will soon add up.
Use SMART goals. Many researchers swear by the SMART approach: goals should be simple, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time bound. So, instead of promising to simply “lose weight,” the goal should be “I will lose five pounds by the end of January.”
Plan ahead. Goals are difficult to reach without the right preparation. For example, changing your diet would require going to the grocery store and stocking up on healthy choices. Saving money would require you to budget and prioritize spending. Think of your resolution as a start-up business. A well-devised plan helps you move forward. Jumping into a major life change without a strategy to accomplish it, though, is a recipe for failure.
Rephrase your resolution. Researchers in Sweden found that how you phrase your goal is crucial in predicting its achievability. Those who took a positive approach (I will eat more vegetables) were far more successful than those who took a negative approach (I will quit eating sugar).
Plan for temptation. Giving up unhealthy habits—such as watching too much television—is easy at the beginning. But after a few months, novelty wears off and the deprivation sets in. Accepting that there will be moments of temptation, and learning how to respond to them (or not respond at all) can help you stick to your guns. In many cases, treating yourself in a controlled manner (for example, I will allow myself to watch one 30-minute program) can be the boost you need to re-up your motivation.
Cumberland Village Can Help Seniors Stick to Their New Year’s Resolutions
Whether exercising more, learning a skill, or making new friends, Cumberland Village can help you achieve your goals for 2021. Our wellness program offers regular classes like yoga and Zumba to keep your body moving, while our life enrichment program includes instruction in skills like painting and other crafts. With so many options, you can’t help but meet new people, some of whom are sure to become lifelong friends.
Start planning your future of health and wellness with the Cumberland Village team. No matter your resolution, we can help you achieve your goals. Call (803) 373-1056 to discuss our living options and thriving community today!