As we head into the New Year – not to mention a new decade – it’s time once again to consider which New Year’s resolutions will do the most to improve and maintain our quality of life. By making New Year’s resolutions, we set goals and provide purpose to our lives. While this is important for everyone, it becomes even more beneficial as we age.
Studies have shown that people who see their life as having purpose as they age are up to four times less likely to develop Alzheimer’s. Writing our thoughts and wishes down on paper can make a huge difference in our lives and help keep us upbeat with a positive attitude.
One of the best ways to stay on track with your resolutions is to make them a shared activity. In other words, if your goal for 2020 is to walk a mile every day, do it with your spouse or find a walking buddy. This will help you maintain your enthusiasm while holding each other accountable. It’s much easier to skip your daily walk if you don’t have someone counting on you to walk with them.
As you look through the following suggested New Year’s resolutions, think about which ones would make you happiest to accomplish and feel most positive about.
See your doctor regularly.
It’s important to see your doctor at least once a year, and probably even more frequently if you have chronic conditions like diabetes or heart disease. That way, your physician will be able to conduct all the proper screenings and make sure you’re getting all your immunizations and booster shots. Also, it’s important to be completely honest about your health with your physician. Symptoms you may regard as trivial could indicate something more serious that needs to be treated.
Make health a priority this year.
When we’re younger, most of us take good health for granted. As we age, however, our bodies change. Our metabolism slows down and our immune systems weaken, among other changes. Your physician can help you manage these changes and still enjoy a high quality of life. Plus, when making health a priority, make sure you’re getting enough sleep every night. It’s a myth that older people don’t need as much sleep. You still need seven to eight hours a night.
Communicate openly with friends and family.
Depression and anxiety are huge problems that affect one out of every five seniors, and loneliness can contribute to that. In addition to talking to your doctor about your moods, make a point of reaching out to your friends and family. Spend time with your grandkids, and just enjoy their company.
Make new friends.
Connect with new people and make new friends, which you can do through your church, within your community, or at a local senior center. Also, consider reconnecting with an old friend you haven’t talked to in a while. There are plenty of ways to find friends from high school, college, for an old job. If you don’t have a lot of experience with social media, ask a friend who does.
Make a commitment to moderate exercise.
You don’t have to join a gym or overexert yourself in any way, but being active for 10 minutes a day will improve your quality of life tremendously. Start by walking, even if you can only walk a short distance at first. Check at your church or a local senior center for fitness programs designed for the aging. You’ll notice pretty quickly that your balance will improve, along with your stamina and a general sense of well-being.
Every new year is a fresh start, an opportunity to improve your quality of life. But you can only enjoy it if you commit to making it happen. Start small with an activity you enjoy and build from there. And make it a happy, healthy 2020!