Each new year provides us with exciting opportunities to try new things and build new habits. But here’s a fun little secret: We don’t actually need a new year to try something new. Every new day is a new chance to be, do, try, or start something amazing!
Not sure where to start? Here are 20 fun new year’s resolutions to try at any time this year. However, be warned, they may be powerfully and wonderfully lifechanging!
Try a new healthy food each week
Do you think you have tasted every food on the planet? Think again! There are 250,000 to 300,000 species of edible plants on earth, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. You do not have to eat them all – of all the edible plants, farmers only grow 150 to 200 species. You can find many of them at your local farmers’ market.
Learn something new every day
Learning can help reduce cognitive decline associated with aging, according to Psychology Today. It can also help older adults deal with depression and poor self-image.
Learn more about a topic or hobby you already enjoy or try something totally new! Join a local club or bowling league or learn a new board game with friends. Buy (or borrow from the library) a new book about a topic that interests you. Order a magazine subscription on a topic you’ve always wanted to explore.
Pick up a hobby
Participating in hobbies can lower the risk for developing dementia and other mental health problems, according to the National Institutes on Aging. A recent survey of older adults found that the most popular hobbies for people ages 65 and older are walking and jogging, outdoor maintenance, and playing sports.
Find a new favorite dessert
Have you ever had kuchen or kolackies? How about a salted caramel chocolate tart? Try out some new desserts to find your new favorite or revisit an old treat, like natural molasses cookies or gingerbread cake.
Bonus points if you learn to make it yourself. And after you learn to make it, invite people over to try it and discover new friends! Win/win.
You have seen and learned so much in life – why not put it down on paper? Writing can be a fun, fulfilling experience. Research shows that writing about your life can even help you avoid depression. Write a book, pen a poem, or jot down a joke!
Even better, write down some of the stories from your life. Some topics you may want to explore include:
- What are the experiences that have made you who you are?
- What are your favorite memories?
Journaling can be an enjoyable and healthy experience. Pick up a pen and give it a try!
In the immortal words of George Bernard Shaw, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”
Playing boosts your energy and vitality, and can even improve your body’s resistance to disease.
A couple fun ways to enjoy your time spent with family and friends include investing in a Wii game console or joining a Bunco or Bridge group. If you can’t find a group that interests you, start one! Spread the word that you’d like to host a game night, and you might be surprised how popular it becomes.
At Medford Leas, each resident is a member of the Medford Leas Residents Association, which plans and sponsors over 90 self-directed groups. Get involved and start “playing” today!
Take up a dance or exercise class
Older adults need 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise each week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). They also need to engage in muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days each week. A dance or exercise class can help you get all the exercise you need in a safe and fun environment.
Read more books
Reading enhances memory, sharpens decision-making skills, reduces stress, and can even help you sleep better.
If you need recommendations for what to read, look for well-known book clubs such as Oprah’s Book Club or The History Book Club (aptly named for history lovers). Also, if you want to add reading and socializing to your resolutions this year, consider creating a book club. You can keep it low key and still read some great books this year.
Set aside one hour a day to achieve a dream
Write the Great American Novel, paint your own portrait, learn a new language – it’s all up to you!
The good news—even if you only spend one hour a day on your dream, by the end of this year, you’ll have contributed a healthy amount of time on your project. 365 hours is roughly nine weeks of working full time. So, don’t delay! Identify your dream project and start working on it. You won’t regret it.
Be more grateful – count your blessings
Gratitude improves physical health and psychological health, enhances empathy, reduces aggression, boosts self-esteem, bolsters mental strength, and it can even help you sleep.
One easy way to nurture gratitude and count your blessings is to keep a basic gratitude journal. Even something as simple as writing down one thing you are grateful for every day can go a long way in helping you see things all around you for which to be grateful. If you want to take it a step further, write down one thing you are thankful for daily and include one thing you want to become more thankful for. If you’re consistent, it won’t take long for your outlook on life to improve.
Spend more time in nature
Getting outdoors helps you get the fresh air and exercise you need to stay healthy. Spending time in nature also helps you connect with the world around you.
Luckily, if you are a resident at Medford Leas, the great outdoors is just steps from your front door! Explore the numerous nature paths that our campus, which is located on more than 250 beautiful acres of The Barton Arboretum & Nature Preserve, has to offer.
Enjoy the little things in life
Sometimes the smallest things can bring about the greatest pleasures. Embrace the smell of coffee in the morning, the hug of someone you love, or the sound of a favorite tune.
Make a resolution to be more charismatic this year. How? Stand tall, have confidence, look people in the eye, and smile more often.
Confident people will often admit that they acted confident long before they felt confident. If you want to try new things this year or meet new people, don’t let a lack of confidence stand in your way. Raise your chin, straighten your back and walk confidently into whatever new endeavor you want to try. If the confidence isn’t there, it’ll catch up. Remember, the only thing worse than failure is regret. Don’t regret not trying something this year!
Boost your brain
One of the healthiest decisions you can make for your brain is to continually learn new things. Forge new pathways in your brain. Keep your mind fresh. Play brain games, listen to the news, take a class, and talk to people who have expertise in interesting and timely subjects.
You can also add brain boosting food to your diet, such as blueberries, broccoli, pumpkin seeds, and nuts. You may be glad to know dark chocolate is a brain boosting food as well!
Volunteer to read to children
Reading to children is just about as much fun as you will ever have! Reading to kids gives you an opportunity to connect with children in your community.
Volunteer at your local museum, theater, or church
Older adults who volunteer in their communities report lower mortality rates, lower rates of depression, fewer physical limitations, and greater well-being.
It really is better to give than to receive! Give your time to causes and communities you love, and the benefits will be extraordinary.
Treat yourself to a new wellness activity once a month
Schedule your first massage, try tai chi, or trade your coffee for green tea. Don’t put pressure on yourself to like the first thing you do. If you try an activity and decide it isn’t for you, try another (and another!) until you discover something you love. Many people who give up on wellness activities simply stop too soon. Be patient and stay determined.
Embrace your roots with a DNA ancestry test
DNA testing can help you discover your family roots. There are many services available (often at a cost) to receive a comprehensive report of your genealogy, ethnicity, family tree, and more! A couple examples of these services include:
Who knows? You may be descended from royalty!
Along the same line, maybe this is the year you should reach out to a distant relative or family member with whom you have always wanted to connect. Send an email or make a phone call. Work on your family tree or work on documenting your family history. This can become a fun project of its own.
Make a new friend once a month
Friendships can have greater effects on our health and well-being than can our relationships with our families.
If you’re nervous about doing this one-on-one, consider starting a dinners-for-six club or agree to meet someone in a public place. If you are feeling lonely, someone else in your community is feeling lonely, too. Find each other and start a friendship! Hint: Don’t limit new friendships to people who look or act just like you. Some of the greatest friendships are formed by opposites!
Listen to live music at least once during the year
You can fulfill several fun New Year’s resolutions right at home at Medford Leas. The heart of the Medford campus is located near numerous area attractions on 250 acres of the beautiful Barton Arboretum and Nature Preserve, which is a perfect place to go for nature walks and identify your favorite plants and animals. The Medford Leas Resident Association directs more than 90 activities, events, committees, and interest groups. Residents frequently plan outings to attend concerts, go sightseeing or birding, and volunteer. Other fitness activities at Medford Leas include balance training, Tai Chi, yoga, and water aerobics.
Make a resolution to have more fun this year at Medford Leas! Contact us for more information today.