With 2020 thankfully fizzling to a close, we’re all hoping 2021 will be better. If you haven’t thought about New Year’s resolutions yet, here are our 5 suggestions to make next year better for you and yours—and the planet. Bonus: we asked experts for stick-with-it tips.
1-Demand Better Health Care for All
It’s no secret that people of color have worse health outcomes, are more likely to be uninsured and pay more out-of-pocket costs. We can all make a difference in less than five minutes. Greater Good, a charitable organization devoted to improving the health and wellbeing of people, pets and the planet, is seeking 40,000 signatures on its new petition to End Inequality in Healthcare before sending it to the U.S. Congress.
2-Lose Weight—For a New Reason
Yes, we know weight loss is among the most worn-out of New Year’s resolutions. But now, we know that excess weight bodes poorly if you become infected with coronavirus. Being obese triples the rate of hospitalization with COVID. As the research accumulates, the CDC continues to warn about the risk of excess weight. Yes, vaccines are being rolled out. But meanwhile, getting to a healthy weight can’t hurt.
3-Stop Whining about Colonoscopies
Yes, prep is awful. Even so, vow to look up the CDC guidelines explaining all the options for screening for colorectal cancer, then ask your doctor what’s best for you. More than 53,000 people in the U.S. died from colorectal cancer in 2020. Regular screenings save lives.
4-Connect with Nature
Spending time outdoors can reduce stress. Researchers from the United Kingdom recently tracked the outdoor habits of nearly 20,000 people. Those spending at least 2 hours outside in nature weekly reported better health and wellbeing.
5-Step Up Your Oral Health Hygiene
Good oral health—the use of fluoride, regular dental care and appropriate use of antibiotics—can reduce mouth infections, experts say. Oral infections can lead to body-wide infections, potentially affecting artificial joints and implants such as pacemakers.
Making Them Stick
Because the oomph behind New Year’s resolutions is notoriously short-lived, we asked two experts how to make them stick.
“People need to break [the resolution] down into manageable chunks and monitor themselves along the way,” says Kaitlin Woolley, PhD, assistant professor of marketing at Cornell University, who has researched how to stick to long-term goals. Not: “I’ll read 50 books this year,” but “I’ll try for a book a week and see how that goes. I may need to adjust.”
If you’re having a hard time adopting a habit you know you need, Tanya Unkovich, a life strategist in Auckland, New Zealand, suggests asking yourself: “What is it going to cost me if I don’t do this?” Poorer health? Less mobility? Once you decide to adopt a resolution, commit. “You know there will be speed bumps along the way,” Unkovich says. “But you don’t give up.”
Have you made any resolutions? Let us know in the comments!
And don’t forget, there’s a full set of exercise, meditation, stretch and other fitness classes available to you at Senior Planet virtually – just visit here.