The votes are in, and the top New Year’s resolution for 2018 across all age groups is “to enjoy life to the fullest”.
New Year’s resolutions aren’t just for the young. There’s plenty of scope for older people to set themselves achievable New Year’s resolutions, from getting fitter and eating better, to learning a new skill, reconnecting with an old friend or just finding more time for themselves.
If you’re a retiree and grandparent who spends their days minding grandchildren you can resolve to improve the balance in your life – for example, by committing to taking some time out to revitalise and refuel. Reading, listening to music, taking up a craft project or doing a yoga class is something you can fit into an hour or two each day and will deliver physical, intellectual and emotional benefits.
Similarly, if you are caring for an ageing loved one, don’t forget your own needs. Resolve to ask for help – there are people who can help you, give you respite and ease your daily caregiving responsibilities. You may want to join a support group, where you can share your challenges and frustrations with others walking the same path, and also make new friends.
If you are retired, footloose and fancy free, this is the perfect opportunity to explore new passions, interests, hobbies and experiences. Make a resolution to use your new-found independence to try something new, learn something you’ve always wanted to learn or visit a place you’ve always want to visit each month. Indulge in a little self-expression through travel, meditation, art, cooking, swimming or yoga. Learn a language, start writing a journal, or reignite your passion for a pastime you once loved but never had time for. By the end of the year, you will have had at least 12 new experiences and invested some time into your own self-development.
If you want to use your retirement to give back to your community, you could resolve to become a volunteer. Volunteering at your local aged care centre, serving meals to the homeless at a charity van or soup kitchen, providing Lifeline phone counselling once a week or walking dogs for the local RSPCA are just some of the volunteer activities available in most communities that are consistently looking for help. Volunteering gives you a sense of accomplishment, increases self-confidence and connects you with like-minded individuals, which is great for your mental well-being.
If your goal is to get back into better shape, make it more achievable by breaking your resolutions down into bite-size pieces. “Eat more green vegetables”, “have a piece of fruit with every lunch” or “walk for 10 minutes each day” can make getting healthier less overwhelming. Over the course of a month you can increase your exercise time by a few minutes a day. Just 20 minutes of daily physical activity can help reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and other diseases. Set yourself a goal to keep you on track, like training for a fun run or charity walk. Get friends or family involved if that helps motivate you!
You might resolve to reconnect with an old friend who you have lost contact with as life has pulled you in different directions. Make this happen by committing to learn how to use new technology and, instead of making a telephone call or writing a letter, send an email or reach out via Facebook or another social media platform. Resolve to keep in touch and possibly schedule a get-together in the near future.
Even if your priorities and lifestyle might have changed as you’ve aged, it’s easy to adjust your New Year’s resolutions to suit your circumstances. After years of working and giving to others, make your resolutions all about you this year. Even if you break all or some of them, you will reap the benefits from those you manage to keep.