Setting realistic New Year’s Resolutions can be a great way to start the New Year off right with a positive mind set.  Making resolutions to eat better, exercise, start practicing yoga, see your healthcare provider regularly, and keep your brain active (reading, socializing, taking an online course), are all ways for seniors to start off the Year right, with a sense of purpose.  Getting a great start in the New Year involves a combination of physical, mental, and emotional well-being.  Here are some tips for starting off the New Year in the best way possible:

  1. Health Check-Up:  Schedule a comprehensive health check-up to assess your overall well-being.  Bring up any concerns or goals you have with your healthcare provider, and create a plan for maintaining and improving your health.  Have he or she order any necessary tests, and discuss any medications you may be taking.  
  1. Set Appropriate, Realistic Fitness Goals:  Create realistic fitness goals that suit your lifestyle, based on your abilities and interests.  This could mean regular walks, gentle stretching, lifting light weights, yoga, gardening, or any activity you may enjoy.  Movement is movement, whatever that looks like for you.  Even 5 or 10 minutes can improve overall health.  You can gradually increase intensity as your fitness level improves.
  1. Eat A Healthy, Balanced  Diet:  Eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, low-fat dairy, and healthy fats.  In later life, you still need healthy foods, but fewer calories.  The USDA’s Choose My Plate program, and your healthcare provider, can help you make good choices.  Eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily.  Include nuts, beans, and or legumes in your daily diet.  Choose fiber-rich whole grain bread, brown rice, and whole grain pasta.  Pick less fatty meats like chicken or turkey, and have heart-healthy fish like tuna, salmon, or shrimp.  Include sources of calcium and Vitamin D to help keep your bones strong. Low-fat milk, yogurt, or cheese are a good way to incorporate these nutrients.  Use Olive Oil or Canola Oil when cooking instead of butter or lard to add a use of healthy fats.  Avocado is also an excellent source of healthy fat.  It is also important to stay hydrated, so drink plenty of fluids!
  1. Stay Socially Active:  Staying socially active helps keep the mind sharp, and helps to ward off depression.  Plan activities or meetings with friends and family.  Consider joining senior clubs, community groups, or classes to meet new people, and stay engaged socially.  
  1. Stay Mentally Active:  Keep your mind sharp by enjoying a daily puzzle or crossword.  Read more books, newspapers, or magazines.  Maybe join or start a book club. Learn a new skill or language.  Start a new hobby such as knitting, crochet, or gardening.  Play mind stretching games like Bingo, Bridge, Yahtzee or Scrabble.  Games also contribute to your social activity.
  2. Mindfulness And Relaxation Activities:  Practice Mindfulness and relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, guided meditation, gentle Yoga or Tai Chi.  These activities will help reduce stress levels and enhance your mental and physical well-being.  
  1. Embrace Technology:  Stay connected to loved ones using technology.  Learning how to navigate Social Media, texting, video calls, and the internet are fantastic ways to maintain relationships, and stay current with the news and latest trends.
  1. Explore Hobbies and Interests:  Use the New Year to explore or rediscover hobbies and interests.  Whether it’s art, music, travel, gardening, crafting, cooking, or photography, engaging in activities you love can bring a sense of joy and fulfillment.  

All of the above tips are wonderful ways to begin your New Year with a new lease on life.  Take care of yourself and treat your body and mind with kindness!  Set simple, realistic goals.  Even small changes can make a huge difference to your overall health and well-being.  You are worth the effort!