Every January, millions of Canadians commit to New Year’s resolutions — and have given up by February. Why don’t we make New Year’s resolutions that stick? For most people, it’s one of two things: they picked an unrealistic/unattainable goal, or they didn’t actually set a goal at all but instead committed to a vague idea. If you’re tired of the same old cycle, we have ten suggestions for SMART New Year’s resolutions for seniors.
What are SMART goals? SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-oriented. For example, “get in shape” is not SMART; in fact, it only meets one of the requirements! Instead, try something like “do 30 minutes of physical activity three times per week until April.” In this example, it is specific (30 min of activity), measurable (it can be tracked), attainable (it’s a reasonable commitment), relevant (presumably), and time-oriented (30 min, 3 times per week, for 3 months). At the end of the time limit, you can evaluate your progress and set a new goal. Setting SMART goals is the key to making resolutions that stick.
So, what are some great resolutions for seniors? Here are our top ten suggestions.
1. Move 10 min more each day
Canadians spend too much time sitting and not enough time being active. If you’re new to physical activity, adding 10 minutes per day is a reasonable goal.
2. Join a social club
Social clubs are perfect resolutions for seniors battling loneliness. Whatever your interests (from religious groups to coffee clubs), there’s probably a group out there for you!
3. Try a new activity
When was the last time that you did something for the first time? Sign up for a lifestyle course or learn a new language. It’s fun and a great way to keep your mind active.
4. Add an extra serving of veggies
Vegetables have a myriad of health benefits. Have pre-cut veggies in your fridge for lunch or add a different coloured vegetable for dinner. Try some vegetables you don’t recognize — maybe they’ll be a new favourite.
5. Stay on top of medical checkups
Book your follow-ups or annual physical while you’re at the doctor’s office and add it to your calendar. Don’t let your health go unchecked this year.
6. Drink an extra glass of water each day
Instead of trying to make the jump to eight glasses per day, start by adding one extra glass of water. Maybe have it before your morning coffee or drink a full glass when you take your medication, instead of just having little sips.
7. Eat with family or friends once a week
There’s something comforting about sharing a meal with the people we love. Commit to sitting down with friends or family once a week or even just once a month. Remember, the goal is to make resolutions that stick, not ones that seem like a huge burden.
8. Go to bed half an hour earlier five nights per week
Nearly all Canadians are sleep deprived. Going to bed 30 minutes earlier (or get up 30 minutes later) is one of the best resolutions for seniors’ health.
9. Exercise your brain 10 min per day
Want to help keep Alzheimer’s at bay? Keep your mind active every day. Work on a crossword or sudoku puzzle; learn to knit; or learn to use a tablet or smartphone.
10. Limit yourself to seven drinks per week
Heavy drinking affects your health. Try limiting yourself to seven standard drinks per week. Moderation is what makes resolutions that stick.
Do you have a resolution this year? What are the best resolutions for seniors? Share with us in the comments below.