Author Alex Morritt has written: “New year – a new chapter, new verse, or just the same old story? Ultimately, we write it. The choice is yours.”
The calendar page has turned and the New Year’s resolutions are off to a strong start – hopefully not broken yet. Since you’re eager to create a better you in 2020, here’s a plan that will help you succeed. From starting with bite-sized goals and setting realistic expectations to creating a habit and fundamentally accomplishing your promises to yourself, let’s take a quarter-by-quarter look at the plan to make you flourish.
Quarter One: Set realistic goals for the upcoming year. If your focus is shedding a few pounds, create a number for yourself that you want to see by the end of March – and then June, September and December – so that you have something to look forward to. Be sure to give yourself the necessary amount of time to succeed. Plan for how many days a week you want to exercise. Many Capital Senior Living communities offer exercise and fitness classes that you can join. Make a list of your resources. This time is crucial for laying out a schedule so that you’re more tempted to follow it. Even if you have limited mobility or a chronic ailment, you can still work out.
Treat yourself to items that might push you to work harder. Purchase new workout gear so you’re excited about what you’re going to wear to your first fitness class. If you’re trying to live a healthier life in the kitchen, buy yourself a new smoothie maker. These incentives will help kick-start your journey for the year to come. Be sure to take pictures of yourself now so you can see your changes later down the road.
Quarter Two: You now already have three months under your belt. You spent the first quarter getting into a routine, so now it’s time to reflect. You could be happy with the progress, but you feel as though your trajectory is a little off. No worries here! Take this time to reset any goals you might feel are necessary. Start a journal and jot down some notes from the past quarter. From here on out, keep track of your progress, emotions, recipes, new workouts and daily thoughts in this journal. This will keep you focused while also giving you the necessary time to reflect on the beginning of your journey.
Don’t forget to take a picture of your progress at the end of this quarter because it will pay off in quarter three.
Quarter Three: It’s the beginning of quarter three, and that means you have been on your health journey for six whole months. You’ll want to combine the practices of the first two quarters while adding something else into the mix. Realign your goals to fit the demand that you feel necessary. Stay active with your journal and also re-read the entries to see if there are any common themes. You could be getting bored about the new recipes you’re cooking, so let’s change it up.
Begin working on a scrapbook of your experience so far. Cut out pictures of your progress and glue them in. Cut and paste inspirational quotes, important lessons you’ve learned and memories from a cooking class or fitness class that you took. Cutting out pictures of inspirational people will also help. This is a fun and creative way to really appreciate how much you have accomplished. Make sure to snap photos and get ready for the final lap.
Quarter Four: You are close to the end of the year. Now is the time to hunker down on your goals, whether it be trying a new class you’ve been putting off or really diving into healthy eating. You will want to revisit your journal and scrapbook. Take note of your biggest struggle and your hardest lesson. Take note of what made you the happiest and when you felt the strongest.
Take pictures in the final months of your progress and complete your scrapbooks. The best part of this quarter? You get to reward yourself. Start working on what to do for next year’s goals based on how good you’re feeling at the end of this quarter. But first, treat yourself to a delicious banana split!
Quarter One: Spending more time with family is something that is often easier said than done. However, if you take small steps to get there, it will be worthwhile. If you have relatives, friends or loved ones who live in other cities, decide which months it might be feasible to fly out, drive out or have them come and see you. Some Capital Senior Living communities have on-site guest apartments that can be reserved for special visitors. In the meantime, start by mapping out a schedule for your loved ones on when they are available, so you can plan around that. Maybe you decide that Saturday is a designated day for family visits. This is your time to feel out what the next few months are going to look like.
Quarter Two: Did you make more of an effort to see family like you intended in quarter one? If not, this is your second chance. Start thinking about new, fun things you want to try and invite the grandkids, your kids or the whole family to do them with you. From reading more and sharing resolutions to grabbing breakfast every other weekend, this time is all about enacting the plan you made in the first quarter.
Quarter Three: OK, so, you haven’t quite fulfilled your ambitions of spending more time with family. Schedules might be off, traveling could be difficult or plans just keep falling through. Challenge yourself by writing letters, typing emails or sending messages to your family. Sometimes life gets in the way, but putting pen to paper can bring people closer together with the right words. Send updates of your time at your Capital Senior Living community, share photos and check in with those who matter most by texting. There are plenty of devices and apps out there where you can stream and video chat with your loved ones. On Sunday evenings, connect via live video and watch your favorite movie together. The effort in this one goes a long way.
Quarter Four: This time is reserved for a big trip. It’s around the holidays, so it’s the perfect time for you and your family to make the effort to see each other. If you don’t have the desire to travel, plan a big weekend for your family to visit you. If they live in the same city, make some new traditions by adding a few holiday activities. Go trick-or-treating with the grandkids or offer to host Thanksgiving. If it was difficult to make plans in the earlier months, this quarter makes it easy to push for bonding before yet another new year.
Quarter One: No matter what new skill or hobby you’re trying to tackle, you want to spend the first quarter researching. If you want to read more, browse books that people are loving lately. Many Capital Senior Living communities feature fully stocked libraries where you can check out a new book regularly. If you’re interested in learning a new language, research the subject matter and see what kind of programs your neighborhood senior center offers. If you’re wanting to get more involved in the tech world, look up the many popular devices that are beneficial to you. If you’re trying to stay connected to family, research different tablets. Whether you’re eager to finally learn how to master the iPhone or become a swift reader, you always want to begin with thorough research.
Quarter Two: It’s time to put your desired skill or hobby into practice. You’ll want to spend these three months homing in on your craft, skill or technique – whatever it may be. This is where discipline matters most. For the avid reader, try reviewing a chapter a day in these three months. Learning a new language? Try recording yourself every single day while also taking tests and practicing as much as you can. If technology is your thing, try FaceTiming a loved one. Install smart lightbulbs or learn something new about your computer. You can even download one app a week on your cell phone that could benefit your everyday life. These three months are all about doing.
Quarter Three: Now that you’re six months into the year, you want to spend this time putting your new skill into practice while also doing an evaluation. You may have to add new techniques, replace old ones or get rid of them altogether. Reading one chapter a day may be too slow for you, so take it up a notch and read a couple more. Begin trying your new language skills out in public. This time is all about reflection and action. Keep working at keeping your resolution while fine-tuning what works for you.
Quarter Four: Are you an official wordsmith? Can you talk in tongues like a pro? Are your grandkids jealous of your tech-savvy ways? If you answered yes, then pat yourself on the back and continue to perfect these skills that you have so precisely mastered. If you answered no, there are two things you’ll want to do now. First, decide if you’re happy doing/using these new skills. Sometimes, they just aren’t for you. Second, figure out where you stand with your goals and reevaluate what you want to do in the upcoming year. If you decide you want to keep at it, research a few ways in which you can really master your new hobby. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
***This blog post, originally published Jan. 2, 2019, has been edited and updated.
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