It’s never too late to create a healthier, happier lifestyle. The New Year of 2021 brings an opportunity to start fresh and establish new, healthy habits. While it’s important for all age groups to set goals,the senior population can especially benefit from having healthy goals to enrich their lives and create a sense of purpose. One of the best ways to succeed is to create realistic, achievable goals.
Use the SMART format to stick with your resolutions:
Specific—Make sure your goal is specific. Set real numbers with real deadlines. Answer the questions Who, What, When, Where, and Why?
Measureable—Be sure your progress is measurable so you can easily track your progress. Include precise amounts, dates, etc. so you can measure your degree of success.
Achievable—Your goal should be attainable. Resist the urge to set goals that are too easy, but set goals that are reasonable to achieve for your specific situation.
Relevant—How does your goal align with your role? Goals should be relevant for the direction you want to take your life. By keeping your goals aligned with your vision, you’ll be able to focus on your priorities and the road ahead.
Timely—Every goal needs a timely deadline. Set a realistic time frame to ensure you don’t get discouraged. Working towards a deadline creates a sense of urgency and increases chances of success.
Need some inspiration?
Here are some achievable goals for the older adult population that can be applied to the SMART format:
- Exercise for 20 minutes a day. Physical activity is especially important for the senior population. This can be mild to moderate physical activity, such as tai chi, water aerobics, walking, and stretching.
- Exercise your brain. The brain is like a muscle: the more you use your mind, the better it will work. Reading, socializing, engaging in games like puzzles, and discovering a new educational experience will all help to keep your brain functioning and sharp.
- Keep up on your doctor’s appointments. Make a list of appointments you need to go to. Schedule an annual wellness visit with your primary care provider to discuss any necessary health screenings and changes in your advance directives.
- Give your time to a good cause. Volunteering can bring a sense of purpose and satisfaction to your life. Giving back to the community increases feelings of accomplishment. There are endless opportunities for volunteering.
- Develop good eating habits. The older adult population still needs to eat healthy foods, but requires fewer calories. Eat at least five servings of fruit and vegetables each day; choose whole grains, fish, low-fat dairy and healthy fats. Drink water throughout the day to stay hydrated, and keep up to date with your physician on foods you should avoid.
- Guard against falls. One in three older adults sustains a fall each year. Take precautions to protect yourself and get rid of throw rugs, keep night lights on so it’s easier to see at night, install grab bars in your shower, and keep walkways clear. Keeping up on your physical health by engaging in strength, balance and flexibility exercises can also help avoid falls.