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Perhaps it’s too strong of a statement to say that we’ve been hard-wired to spend time considering New Year’s resolutions. Predictably conditioned is probably a more accurate description. “Unlocking Your Best Year Yet with Proven Techniques for Goal Setting.” Does this sound familiar? 

It’s easy to poke fun at New Year’s resolutions because there’s fundamentally so little resolve. According to a predictive 2023 study of 800 million activities by the fitness app Strava, nearly 80% of those making a New Year’s resolution will abandon it with impunity by January 19th. Yikes – the clock is ticking! 

If failure is so decisively predictable, why even bother? Most experts who study human behavior say it’s because we all like the idea of controlling ourselves and improving the quality of our lives. We respond to the concept that the New Year offers a blank slate or that we can metaphorically turn the page from our old selves to a new and better version – that’s who we used to be; this is who we are now! 

Despite disappointing data that overwhelmingly points to the failure of resolutions, studies show that some people are successful.  Dr. Per Carlbring, professor of psychology at Stockholm University, states, “New Year’s resolutions are important and have gotten an undeserved reputation when they might be an incentive to positive and important changes in people’s lives.”  

Wisdom Comes with Age

Seniors have been around the block a time or two. By the time you’ve reached the “golden years,” it’s likely that many previous New Year’s resolutions were total duds. But, with age, one knows more about themselves and has developed the ability to optimize their “to-dos.” 

As seniors embark on a new year, they understand that prioritizing health and planning becomes crucial for a fulfilling, well-prepared, and engaged life. So, here’s a guide to help with New Year’s resolutions tailored for seniors, emphasizing health and practical considerations. 

Maintain Physical Health

  • Incorporate regular exercise suitable for your fitness level to promote wellness. Consult your doctor first, but these activities can lead to a healthier life: Aerobic activities are heart-healthy and include walking or swimming. Strength training maintains bone density and can consist of training with light weights or resistance bands. Stretching exercises improve flexibility and can reduce injuries. Balance and stability training, like yoga, mitigate the risks of falls. 
  • Maintain a balanced diet rich in nutrients (low in saturated fats, added sugars, and sodium) to support overall health. 
  • Schedule routine check-ups and screenings to detect and address health issues early. 

Maintain Mental Well-Being: 

  • Engage in activities stimulating the mind, such as reading, working puzzles, or learning new skills. 
  • Pursue social connections to prevent isolation and promote mental resilience. 
  • Consider mindfulness practices like meditation for stress reduction. 

Establish Medical Plans: 

  • Review and update advance care directives, clearly documenting your healthcare preferences. 
  • Communicate with healthcare providers about long-term care options and potential future needs. 

Evaluate Financial Plans: 

  • Game out your financial goals, review and evaluate your financial resources, and consider consulting a financial advisor to remove guesswork. 
  • Ensure legal documents, such as wills and powers of attorney, are up-to-date and reflect your current wishes. 

Pre-plan Funeral or Cremation 

  • Initiate open conversations with your family about end-of-life preferences to provide clarity and ease of decision-making. 
  • Explore funeral or cremation options, considering personal preferences and financial considerations. 
  • Document funeral wishes and share this information with trusted family members or friends. 

Appraise Planning Legacy: 

  • Reflect on the legacy you want to leave behind, including personal values and memories.
  • Consider creating a “legacy document” that captures your life story, values, and essential life lessons. 

Seek Emotional Well-Being: 

  • Nurture emotional well-being by maintaining strong connections with loved ones and friends while maintaining an active social life. 
  • Don’t hesitate to seek support through friends, family, or professional counseling. 

Wrapping Things Up

Combining a focus on health with proactive planning empowers seniors to approach a new year with a holistic perspective. Prioritizing physical and mental well-being, addressing medical and financial aspects, and engaging in open conversations about end-of-life preferences contribute to a fulfilling and prepared life journey. These resolutions help seniors navigate their later years gracefully, ensuring a longer and well-lived life. At Arlington, we make it a priority to assist families with the best resources. If you’re ready to begin the pre-planning process, contact our Cincinnati team today.

Now, on to those New Year’s resolutions!