A year ago we shared what we called “Five Resolutions for 2017.” Because the New Year is about to begin, we felt it was time to update and re-issue this list as a challenge to our radio listeners, seminar guests and AgingOptions clients. Why not make this year, 2018, a breakthrough year – the year you set plans in motion that will give you the retirement future you’ve always hope for and dreamed about?
But before we share our list of resolutions for 2018, we did a bit of homework and found this interesting article published a few years ago in Psychology Today. There we discovered that the practice of making New Year’s Resolutions is quite common, especially in our western culture, where about half of all adults say they make plans for personal change when the calendar flips from December to January. But there are several problems with the way we make resolutions and set goals that almost guarantee we’re going to fail. Can New Year’s Resolutions really bring about the change in habits and behaviors that we hope for? The answer is yes, if we take the proper approach. Fortunately there is a better way, according to Psychology Today.
First, the article says we tend to bite off far more than we can chew when it comes to setting goals for the New Year. It’s far better to pick one or two specific and realistic goals and focus on them. Example: don’t assume you’re going to change your sedentary lifestyle in January and be ready to run a marathon in July! You’re setting yourself up for disappointment, or worse.
Second, we tend to set goals that are general and vague. In reality, if you want to achieve real change, the more specific the goal the better. A good example is that familiar resolution that usually tops everyone’s list, losing weight. “Losing weight is not a specific goal,” says Psychology Today. “Losing 10 pounds in 90 days would be.”
Remember, too, says the article, that it’s not necessary to focus all your self-improvement energy on the month of January. Self-improvement and goal-setting should be a year-long process, and you can begin any day of the year. Instead of cramming all your goals into the first few weeks of the year, take small manageable steps, and have an accountability partner to keep you focused. That way, if you slip up, it’s easier to get back on track, and you have someone to help you do it. Make sure you build in milestones along the way, and celebrate every time you achieve one, not just when you reach the end of the road: acknowledging little achievements is a great motivator. And if you slip up on a resolution, relax! “Have fun and laugh at yourself when you slip,” say the authors, “but don’t let the slip hold you back from working at your goal.”
Lately we’ve been thinking about some New Year’s Resolutions we would suggest for our radio listeners and seminar attendees, based on some of the research we’ve encountered and articles we’ve read in the past year. We’ve come up with this list of Five Big Goals for 2018 for retirees and those planning for retirement. Note that these aren’t intended to be overly specific: you’ll need to “fill in the blanks” for yourself. Our list:
- Learn something new in 2018. We recommend that the New Year should be a year of stimulation, especially for retirees. Make it a goal to learn a specific new skill this year – a language, an ability, a hobby. Read some new books, or sign up for a class. Keeping your mind active and engaged helps keep you young and vital, and can help you break out of a rut.
- Make new friends and invest time in the ones you have. 2018 can be the year you really decide to socialize. Research says that seniors can avoid a whole host of physical, emotional, and cognitive problems, or at least hold them off, by engaging actively with others in regular social interaction. Make the choice to avoid isolation and join a group at your residence, church, library or senior center.
- Get moving. Maybe 2018 is the year to start to exercise. Recent studies have shown that exercise doesn’t have to be rigorous to be effective: even modest exercise improves your life physically and mentally. Check with your doctor first, and then make it a goal to get moving by making specific goals you can achieve every day or several times each week. The benefits will amaze you.
- Take charge of your medical care. This means you decide to become an active consumer, not a passive patient. Our strongest recommendation for most seniors is to hire a geriatric physician as your healthcare manager, someone who really understands a senior’s health care needs. Call our office and we’ll gladly refer you to the right person in your area.
- Make 2018 the year you get serious about retirement planning. Without a plan, your retirement future will be like a ship without a rudder, tossed and turned in ways you can’t control. But with a LifePlan in place – a comprehensive and multi-faceted retirement plan only offered through AgingOptions – you’re in control of your retirement destiny. You can face the future with greater confidence than you imagined.
If this is your goal, we urge you to make plans now to attend a free LifePlanning Seminar near you. You’ve probably been hearing about these popular seminars for months if not years. There’s no cost, and no obligation, and we’re not trying to sell you anything. Our goal is to demonstrate how your finances, legal affairs, housing choices, family dynamics and health care needs all fit together into one comprehensive plan to guide you into the future. We have several LifePlanning Seminars planned for January in locations throughout the area, so you can select the date you want. Why wait? To find out more, click here for upcoming Seminar dates and times, and register online, or contact us during the week and we’ll gladly assist you.
You can indeed make 2018 your retirement breakthrough year – with the help of AgingOptions. Let us guide you into an exciting New Year for your future plans. As we like to say – “Age on!”