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The New Year Is All Yours

Story ID:6771
Written by:Nancy J. Kopp (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:Manhattan KS USA
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The New Year Is All Yours

Did you get a fancy 2011calendar for Christmas? Or did three funeral homes each send you one? Or perhaps your church provides a yearly calendar. The senior center where I live has a brand new one thatís circulating around town like wildfire. Twelve senior women on the twelve months of the year, and each one is posing on the seat of a shiny, accessory-packed motorcycle. No shrinking violets here. But fear not, they are fully clothed. Theyíve been around long enough to know where to draw the line.

So here you are with that brand new calendar before you. A whole year lies ahead with all those little squares pure white.. Will this year bring more joy than sorrow? Will it bring good health or poor? Will it bring record setting temperatures or be average? We donít have a crystal ball to peer into to see the months unfold, which may be both a good and bad thing.

But there is something we can do. We can set goals for ourselves. We can make New Yearís resolutions that we can keep. Too many of us make resolutions each January that are far beyond our ability to fulfill, so guess what happens? We break those resolutions by February or March and sometimes before the end of January.

The key is to make those goals in steps, not in leaps and bounds. Instead of vowing to lose seventy-five pounds in 2011, start more realistically. Try five pounds in January, then another five in February and keep going. If you lose five in January and only two in February, make your goal for March three pounds.

If you need to increase your social activities, donít try to do it all in one month. Do something outside your home with others at least once a week to start with. If that works out, next month aim for twice a week. We all have different needs for social outlets. Some people are content to spend most of their time alone, while others crave companionship most of the time. Work out a resolution that fits you. Whatís good for your neighbor might not work for you.

What about a resolution to either spend less or save more? Here again, take it slowly. Cut back a small amount or set aside a little bit to save that first month, If youíre happy with the way it works, try increasing it a little at a time. Save a little more each month, or perhaps cut back on your spending.

Some people vow to exercise more when January rolls around. Those extra bulges packed on over the holidays at the end of the last year need some attention. Thatís fine, but donít go overboard and try to do more than your body is ready for. A mostly sedentary person cannot suddenly exercise like Richard Simmons the first week of the year. If an exercise tape suggests doing twenty repetitions of an exercise, try five times instead. When youíve done five for a week or two, add a few more, but donít try to do twenty right off the bat. Youíll end up in the emergency room threatening to sue makers of the tape for what happened to your senior citizen body. Itís not worth overdoing in this department.

And what about a resolution to spend more time helping others? You donít have to become the volunteer of the year, but there are things you can do each month for others in your community. Read to pre-school children, help out in a school library or your public library, drive for Meals-On-Wheels or similar programs. Hospitals need volunteers in the gift shop, at information desks or surgery waiting rooms.

The new year is all yours. Make some plans and carry through. It could be your best year yet.

Published in January 2011 issue of Ozarks' Senior Living