Single Baby Boomers-Do You Still Make New Year's Resolutions?

Thoughts on New Year’s Resolutions for Single Baby Boomers

I scoured the internet to find New Year’s Resolutions for single Baby Boomers and there wasn’t much there for just us, so I found the resolutions that were most often made and tailored them to fit our generation.  Of course, at our age most have been tried for many years with some success and a lot of failure or they look like they should be part of a Bucket List.  I chose the resolutions made most often by all ages and added a few of my own.  Feel free to let us all know if you have some others

According to http://www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/  the top 10 New Year’s resolutions for 2015 were:

  1. Lose Weight
  2. Getting Organized
  3. Spend Less, Save More
  4. Enjoy Life to the Fullest
  5. Staying Fit and Healthy
  6. Learn Something Exciting
  7. Quit Smoking
  8. Help Others in Their Dreams
  9. Fall in Love
  10. Spend More Time with Family

45% of Americans usually make New Year’s Resolutions.

8% of Americans successfully achieve their resolutions.

14% of people over 50 achieve their resolution each year.

46% maintain them past 6 months.

“Baby Boomers’ Top 5 New Year’s Resolutions” from http://www.55places.com/ , which was written by Susan Quilty, reported that “Becoming more active and staying healthy is a top New Year’s resolution for baby boomers.”  She said that most of our other resolutions are very similar to those of other ages with more emphasis on retirement plans and travel.  Susan and other bloggers suggest that we shouldn’t make them too vague and have a plan designed on how to achieve them.  This makes a great deal of sense and can apply to anything you wish to accomplish throughout the year.  However, how many times have you done this and really followed through?

On the website https://www.psychologytoday.com/  Ray Williams posted on Dec. 30, 2014 the following information in his blog titled, “6 Reasons You Probably Won’t Achieve Your Resolutions… and 8 ways that you actually could next time around”.  Researchers have looked at success rates of peoples’ resolutions: The first two weeks usually go along beautifully, but by February people are backsliding.  And by the following December most people are back where they started—often even further behind.”  In the same blog he quoted Timothy Pychyl, a professor of psychology at Carleton University in Canada, who said that “resolutions are a form of “cultural procrastination,” an effort to reinvent oneself. People make resolutions as a way of motivating themselves.”  Pychyl argues that “People aren’t ready to change their habits, particularly bad habits, and that accounts for the high failure rate.”

Making resolutions work involves changing behaviors.  To do this you need to make a life style change.  Losing weight is a great goal, but it you don’t change your food plan and reduce portions, it’ll never work.  In Ray William’s blog he notes that “Brain scientists such as Antonio Damasio, Joseph LeDoux, and psychotherapist Stephen Hayes have discovered, through the use of MRIs, that habitual behavior is created by thinking patterns that create neural pathways and memories, which become the default basis for your behavior when you’re faced with a choice or decision. Trying to change that default thinking by “not trying to do it,” in effect just strengthens it. Change requires creating new neural pathways from new thinking.”

Psychology professor Peter Herman and his colleagues have identified what they call the “false hope syndrome”.  This means that if your resolution is significantly unrealistic and out of alignment with your internal view of yourself and you make positive affirmations about yourself that you don’t really believe, they not only don’t work, they can be damaging to your self-worth.

Success with your New Year’s resolutions can be achieved, according to Peter Bregman in his blog for the Harvard Business Review Blog Network.  He wrote that, “When we set goals, we’re taught to make them specific and measurable and time-bound.  But it turns out that those characteristics are precisely the reasons goals can backfire.  A specific, measurable, time-bound goal drives behavior that’s narrowly focused and often leads to either cheating or myopia. Yes, we often reach the goal, but at what cost?”  Bregman advocates creating an area of focus rather than goals, and goes on to say that “An area of focus taps into your intrinsic motivation, offers no stimulus or incentive to cheat or take unnecessary risks, leaves every positive possibility and opportunity open, and encourages collaboration while reducing corrosive competition.”

These tips were suggested by Bregman if you decide to make New Year’s resolutions:

  • Focus on one resolution, rather several and set realistic, specific goals.
  • Don’t wait till New Year’s Eve to make resolutions. Make it a year long process, every day.
  • Take small steps.
  • Have an accountability buddy, someone close to you to whom you have to report.
  • Celebrate your success between milestones.
  • Focus your thinking on new behaviors and thought patterns. You have to create new neural pathways in your brain to change habits.
  • Focus on the present. What’s the one thing you can do today, right now, towards your goal?
  • Be mindful. Become physically, emotionally and mentally aware of your inner state as each external event happens, moment-by-moment, rather than living in the past or future.
  • Don’t take yourself so seriously. Have fun and laugh at yourself when you slip, but don’t let the slip hold you back from working at your goal.

Now you’ve seen the research.  I’ve found that resolutions that involve me investing money usually happen.  That’s probably because I’m a frugal individual, especially now that I’m retired.  If I pay to join a gym or buy a pass to walk on the pier I’m more motivated to exercise, so get my money’s worth.  That’s also one of the reasons I paid to join a weight loss group.  Weighing in every week keeps me on track.  I have to admit that I became a member initially, because I was invited to join by some very nice ladies.  I realize now that you can’t put a monetary value on the wonderful friendships I’ve formed there.

Traveling more is a no brainer for me.  Money is always a factor, but to me experiences are more important than material things.  I realize that not everyone wants to or is able to travel like I can, so shorter trips may be something you want to try.  Spending more time with my family and friends is always a goal and it fits nicely with my desire to travel.

Going to more movies in a theater, even if it’s alone, is something I really enjoy.  This year Redbox and T.V. will lose some of my business and I’m going to see my favorite adventure and comedy films on the big screen.  Those genres make me the happiest.  You can choose what interests you.  One tip-Make sure the popcorn is fresh and don’t go crazy with the butter.  I was reminded of that when I was up most of Christmas night with a major belly ache.

These resolutions and methods for achieving them aren’t very profound, but I can probably make them happen and they’ll make me happy and hopefully healthy.  In the spirit of leaving you with a smile, I offer you this resolution:

My goal for 2016:

Achieve the goals of 2015,

Which I should have done in 2014,

Like I promised in 2013,

And planned in 2012.

I hope you have a fulfilling new year.

Linda Lea

 

 

2 thoughts on “Single Baby Boomers-Do You Still Make New Year's Resolutions?

    1. I fully understand. That wasn’t my suggestion though, it was just part of a survey. I’m not doing that one either. I like being single. 🙂

      Like

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