The start of a new year is an opportunity to hit the reset button or build off what you accomplished the previous year. No matter how you look at it, it’s hard to resist the urge to set goals and expectations for the coming year. If you’re looking to set New Year’s resolutions for yourself, we can help you figure out what they could be and how you can see them through.
Why We Make New Year’s Resolutions
Have you ever wondered who made the first New Year’s resolution? While we have no one way of knowing what that first resolution might have been, the origins of New Year’s resolutions can be traced back to the early Christians. Designating the end of the year as a time for spiritual reflection, Christians were expected to think about the ways in which they had failed to live up to the expectations of their faith and commit to doing better in the coming year.
Today, resolutions are a much more secular practice. It’s a cultural tradition that has roots in neuroscience, as the act of planning for success prepares us psychologically for building toward success. Additionally, planning for success triggers a dopamine release that provides us with the first taste of success itself. We’re all chasing success, and making resolutions is our starting line.
Though you may not feel as motivated to make resolutions in your retirement years, these are some of the best reasons to make — and even keep — New Year’s resolutions.
Popular New Year’s Resolutions for Retirees
It doesn’t matter whether you’re starting out in your career or settling down into retirement. Most people’s New Year’s resolutions tend to fall into the same general categories.
“Getting healthier” is one of the most popular resolutions across the board, whether you are trying to eat healthier, regularly exercise more, get more sleep at night or all of the above. In retirement, prioritizing your health and well-being is a resolution worth making — and keeping.
There is so much in this world worth exploring. Most of us have only ever scratched the surface. “Travel more” is a popular New Year’s resolution for obvious reasons, but try to be specific about where you want to go. It’ll be easier to hold yourself accountable if you have a place in mind.
Learning a New Skill
For many people, a successful year is one in which they learned something new. It’s a worthy goal rooted in self-improvement, and a reasonable one considering you have 365 days to achieve it. The skill you learn doesn’t have to be ambitious, either. It can be as simple as honing your culinary skills, dabbling in woodworking or learning how to use a new technology.
As we get older, we become more self-conscious about our mental acuity. Physical exercise is often a point of emphasis for seniors, but keeping your mind sharp is as important as taking care of your body. This is why more older adults are embracing meditation and incorporating mental puzzles, like a crossword, into their daily routine. No matter the means, practicing mindfulness has been scientifically proven to lower stress and contribute to living a longer life.
Having Hard Conversations
As you may well know, self-improvement is easier said than done. The things we ask of ourselves aren’t always easy. For many seniors, one of the toughest challenges is speaking up when you’re having struggles. 1 in 5 older adults experience anxiety or depression but many don’t talk about it. Getting the most out of your retirement years means asking for help when you need it. It may not be the most fun New Year’s resolution, but it’s the one that could lead to a more fulfilling life.
What Makes New Year’s Resolutions Most Successful
Making resolutions is only half the battle. The rest of it is keeping your resolutions. If you need help following through on your resolutions, we have tips to help keep you on track.
The SMART Method
Do you know what the acronym SMART stands for? Specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based. Five essential elements to consider when setting goals or making resolutions. Specificity makes it more difficult to miss your mark, measurability provides a clear metric for measuring progress, attainability gives you a realistic goal, relevancy keeps your reason for the resolution front of mind and time-based forces you to set a deadline.
Involve Your Loved Ones
Accountability is always easier when you have help. Leaning on your support system of friends and family to help make sure you follow through on your resolutions improves your chances of achieving them and can even make them more fun.
It’s a lot easier to put the work in when you know there will be a reward at the end, but that doesn’t mean you can’t also put rewards in place along the way. Our brains crave dopamine and endorphins, and one of the best ways to satisfy that need is with a reward. Set time-based or completion-based milestones and designate a reward for yourself ahead of time. Knowing that you’ve made progress and rewarding yourself for it will help you stay motivated.
Start the New Year at Beacon Hill
Beacon Hill is a vibrant, connected senior living community in Lombard, Illinois. If you’re considering a move to a community like ours this year, we invite you to join us for a tour, or explore our bespoke amenities and services. Our residents were once just like you, nervous but excited for the changes ahead. Now they enjoy all the benefits and personal serenity of knowing their needs are cared for today and every day forward. Contact us to learn more about what makes Beacon Hill such an exceptional place to live.