You’ve heard it: New Year’s resolutions don’t last! This doesn’t mean that you can’t take stock of what you want in life. The still dark, shorter days of January in the Northern hemisphere are the perfect time for taking stock.
If you are in your 60s or 70s, retirement and aging loom big. Images of couples bicycling along beach fronts, of women hanging out with grandchildren in sunny breakfast nooks, or grandfathers taking their grandkids fishing fill commercials of financial companies who want to sell you their products.
Your reality may not be so picture perfect. If you’re lucky, you can retire (or have retired) from work for a pay-check. If you’re not so lucky, you need to figure out ways you can reduce your spending so you can make what little you have, last.
Planning is the key to aging healthy and without financial worries. If you’ve planned for financial security, now is the time to plan for healthy aging. If you‘re healthy but not financially secure, the opposite is true.
These changes mean you may have to move your body in more ways than one. No wonder many women over 60 are worried and in a late life crisis.
In one of his bestsellers, When, The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, Daniel Pink talks about the psychological alarm clock that goes off when people reach the midpoint of a pursuit, like a career midpoint or a life midpoint, or as many women over 60 experience a “late life point.”
This psychological alarm tells you it‘s too late to achieve certain things in life. Pink, however, states this is the time when instead of going into a life slump it’s a time to reinvent yourself.
Pink provides a formula centered on Warren Buffett’s 5/25 rule, for how to reinvent yourself in later life:
Numbers 1 and 2 on this list are something you’ve consciously or unconsciously done in your life already. More interesting are Numbers 3 and 4, which require you to avoid indulging in things or activities that deter you from your goals.
Family, friends, and media can easily pull you into activities that don’t serve your top five goals. If financial independence is one to those top five, you need to ignore the pull to give your money away, to buy unnecessary gifts for your grandchildren, to have that latte three times a week.
When health is your top goal, buy those new walking shoes and sign up for the gym. Get moving with your partner, family, or friends. Make activity dates instead of sitting around drinking coffee! To write your memoir, put a limit on your screen time and use the time to write!
Instead of making new year resolutions of what you will do, make resolutions of what you will not do anymore based on your 5 top goals.
Do you like the sound of not doing?
This may sound easier than it is, though. We are creatures of habit. Not doing means changing habits. As Aristotle wisely said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence (read achievement) then is not an act, but a habit.”
My habit of endlessly storing pictures in my ever-expanding cloud has made a mess of my photo organization. I will stop doing this: I will file the pictures, delete the ones I don’t want and work toward reducing my iCloud stock. I will no longer pay a monthly fee for expanded iCloud storage. I feel better already!
I encourage you to sit down and make your list. Making the list can be an eye-opening experience. (I had trouble coming up with 25!)
Figure out what not to do in the new year. Find people who inspire you with their lifestyle as they age. Ask them how they got there and what habits they have dropped along the way. This will be your habit-downsizing project!
What habits do you want to change to achieve your goals? I look forward to comments on breaking habits that don’t serve you. Please join the conversation!