One of the joys of retirement is having the time and mental space to make and develop any new year resolutions. The key to success is to turn an intention into a habit – and that’s when life can get in the way.
It’s been estimated that 90% of people who sign up to a gym in January no longer attend three months later. These ‘no-shows’ may make the gym owners money in the short term, but as one owner explained:
“People that are training frequently, reach success and then enthusiastically tell their friends about it – these are our true value customers.”
Training to do nothing
Notice the order – frequent training leads to success leads to enthusiasm. Enthusiasm isn’t the driver, repetition is. In his book “Atomic Habits” author James Clear asked an elite weightlifting coach, what did really successful athletes do that most people don’t. The coach’s reply surprised him:
“At some point it comes down to who can handle the boredom of training every day, doing the same lifts over and over and over.”
So, if in retirement you haven’t planned what you want to do and let each day just happen, you’ll in effect be practicing doing nothing much. The more you practice, the better you’ll be at it, even if it is a bit boring.
Why set New Year resolutions
New Year resolutions are a reminder of what we’d like to do, and perhaps what we need to do too. I don’t think many of us would got so far as to make the 65 resolutions listed in a Good Housekeeping article, but the sub-header sums up why we might like to consider them:
“The best resolutions often enrich your emotional health and spirit.”
7 resolutions to consider
I originally entitled this section “The top 7 resolutions” but hey, my resolutions won’t necessarily be yours! Instead, here are seven resolution ideas that I found thought-provoking AND attainable too. And no, they don’t include joining a gym!
1. “Build a better budget”
Top of the Good Housekeeping list, and I love the way it’s phrased. It assumes you already have a budget, which most of us do in one form or another. The key, according to GH, is “rethinking when and how you buy things for your home and family.” This also applies to how you fund your retirement too. Make a resolution to look at how you can budget to get more from what you have, as well as saving on what you spend.
2. Create a healthier sleep routine
We all know how a bad night’s sleep can ruin the next day, but less so how consistently poor sleep can have a cumulative draining effect. A good sleep routine isn’t just about going to bed early, but how to prepare to sleep, making your bedroom conducive to good sleep, and tailoring your sleep routine to your daytime activity requirements. For more info, see The Sleep Charity
3. Join a club
Retirement is an opportunity to take up a new hobby. However, that doesn’t always mean you will meet new people as a result. By joining a club, you’ll meet others who share your passion, and you can learn new skills, pick up tips and swap information too. You’ll never know who you might meet either. Our archer team member spent her New Year practice shoot talking to an ex Royal Marine who instructed soldiers in survival skills in the Arctic Circle!
4. Give your brain a regular workout
One way to keep cognitive decline at bay is to use our brains – and it doesn’t need to be hard work. A study by Duke University found that solving simple maths problems gave people a boost of happiness endorphins, which in turn helped improve their resilience to cognitive decline.
5. Get a plant
If gardening is your idea of purgatory with added dirt, relax, I’m talking house plants here. Indoor plants can lower your stress levels, calm your nervous system and lower blood pressure. Houseplants can also help keep the air in your home cleaner. English Ivy, for example, is highly efficient at absorbing formaldehyde found in glued wood products such as MDF, and also in some carpets, paints and varnishes.
6. Become a regular volunteer
Many retirees volunteer to give back to their community, and to give their retirement more purpose. By committing to helping on a regular basis, you give structure to your week/month, and give the charity or organisation more certainty in their planning. You will be more useful too, as you build your skills, relationships and become part of the community too. Check out this Gov site on how to volunteer in your local community and give your time to help others.
7. Cook a new dish each week
One of our social media team picked this one after a post-Christmas kitchen tidy. They counted no less than 54 different spices and herbs in their spice racks, cupboards and countertop. They have set a resolution to make one dish a week using at least one of the lesser-used spices, before the spices go past their best by date! (Sound familiar? Check out Michael McIntyre’s “5 spice” routine)
Need a little help with balancing your retirement time?
Retirement doesn’t come with a manual, so you might find yourself struggling to work out the best retirement for you. Why not invest in my 1 to 1 coaching to help plan a fulfilling and rewarding retirement that balances on eight key pillars, only one of which is financial.