The new year is a great time to set new goals. It provides a fresh start and gives some people the motivation to cross items off their list that have been lingering for a while. While goal setting, try to be realistic so that your goals are attainable. It’s important to not set goals that are too lofty but to focus on keeping them SMART. SMART goals are:
Specific – Be as specific and direct as possible when defining your goal. The narrower the goal, the greater chance you have of achieving it.
Measurable – Measurable goals can be tracked which allow you to know if you are progressing toward it. How will you track your progress?
Attainable – Is your goal genuinely achievable? Is it too large or too unrealistic for your skillset or ability?
Relevant – Does your goal make sense in relation to your long-term values? Does your goal align with your beliefs and what you want for yourself?
Time-sensitive – Goals are more likely to be achieved when you set a deadline.
If you are an older adult who is looking to set new goals this year, keep reading for ideas to becoming a healthier you.
- Exercise daily. Staying active is the key to healthy aging. It doesn’t matter if you have a disability, a heart condition, or haven’t been active in a long time. Daily exercise or activity is good for everyone, and studies have shown that daily movement leads to longer lives. Resolve to find an activity you enjoy that you can commit to for just ten minutes and gradually increase.
- Quit smoking. If you are a smoker, make this your year to quit. Cigarette smokers are twice as likely to develop heart disease as non-smokers. Although it can be daunting to think about quitting, don’t give up. It can take several tries and different methods to quit for good.
- Drink less alcohol. Alcohol in moderation is ok, but excessive alcohol intake can cause trouble falling and staying asleep, negatively interact with your medications, and can increase your chances of falling.
- Make better dietary choices. Be more conscious of your dietary choices. Nutritional needs vary as you age, but eating a nutrient-dense diet helps with preventing deficiencies that can lead to decreased quality of life and poor health outcomes. Meals for One: Nutrition for Older Adults talks about the importance of a balanced diet and provides recipes older adults may enjoy.
- Commit to mind-stimulating activities. Reading, playing games with kids or grandkids, joining a sports club or other social club are all great ways to stimulate your mind.
- Maintain or reestablish meaningful relationships. If there are relationships that you want to rekindle, the new year is a great time to rebuild those. Reach out to those friends virtually or in-person and make plans to catch up.
- Visit your healthcare provider regularly. Annual visits with healthcare providers are important to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Keep an up-to-date medication list, stay current with immunizations, and maintain health screenings.
- Get enough sleep. Make sure you get enough sleep at night. If you have trouble falling or staying asleep, try to be more active during the day so you’re tired at night and avoid daytime naps. Maintaining a bedtime routine can also help with getting enough sleep.