The beginning of a new year is a natural time to take stock of our lives and resolve to make positive changes. However, many of us fall short of achieving those changes, and the resolutions just get added to our list again next year.
According to Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist and Harvard Business School professor, we fail to achieve our resolutions because we tend to set unreasonable goals for ourselves, thereby setting ourselves up for failure.
The Mayo Clinic advises that, in order to be successful in achieving our goals, we need to make a specific plan for achieving them. It offers this five-step approach:
- Aspire: List your goals.
- Effort: Think about the effort it will take to reach each goal, and decide practically whether you are able to make that effort.
- Plan: Write down the steps you will take daily or weekly to reach each goal, as well as how you will handle barriers and setbacks.
- Prepare: Take the action needed to get started.
- Work: Follow your plan and make it happen.
Forbes magazine recommends keeping your list simple (making it short and attainable), tracking your accomplishments (making a chart or list and posting it where you can see it), and continuing to believe in yourself (don’t let failures derail your efforts).
According to the AARP’s 2014 New Year Goals and Resolutions Poll, getting more exercise was at the top of the list of resolutions that senior adults made last year.
The Huffington Post reports that as we age our exercise achievement drops. While 1 in 1.7 people age 18–24 get the recommended amount of weekly exercise, that number drops to 1 in 2.5 people for those age 65 and older.
If getting more exercise is on your list, take advantage of the many opportunities in our area to do just that. The Cleveland Heights Senior Activity Center (216-691-7377) offers numerous exercise programs, including yoga, line dancing and strength training. The Hillcrest YMCA in Lyndhurst (216-382-4300) offers senior exercise programs, including Zumba Gold, yoga stretching and aerobics.
Whatever your self-improvement goals are for this year, resolve to break the cycle of resolving. Right now, before you turn the page, write down three action items you are going to take within the next week to begin achieving your resolutions. If you should fall short, remember that failing today does not mean you can’t try again tomorrow. Keep trying and eventually that resolution will be a new lifestyle rather than a number on a list.
Happy New Year to all of our readers!