A new year, a fresh start. We share our New Year’s resolutions for 2020

woman writing in notebook

It’s the start of a new year and the start of a new decade. What better time to commit to a few New Year’s resolutions? Here are 14 resolutions we’re making that will help us make the most of 2020. And yes, we plan to keep every one of them.

  1. Eat sustainably. We’re pretty healthy eaters to begin with, but this year we resolve to eat sustainably, not only for health reasons but because it can help mitigate climate change. That means a greater emphasis on plant-based foods, preferably seasonal fresh vegetables and fruits, as well as healthy grains and legumes, sustainably fished fish, and less meat and dairy. Of course, meals must be easy to prepare as well as appealing, so we’ll search for dishes that we want to make again and again.
  2. Shed some pounds. Frankly, this resolution is for only one person on our editorial team, but she probably has plenty of company among our readers. A new book, How Not to Diet, looks promising. (Its sister book, How Not to Die, was a New York Times bestseller, so we figure the author knows a thing or two.) Class reunion, here we come.
  3. Get a minimum of 8 hours of sleep. We’re going to work on our sleep habits this year because we know how important sleep is to our age group. Among other benefits, our bodies rebuild muscles we’ve worn down during the day and cleans away harmful plaques and waste produced in the brain. We can begin by setting a regular time to go to bed at night and wake in the morning. This will undoubtedly put a dent in our binge-watching habit, but the aforementioned is more important. Trackers like Fitbit record sleep patterns; we find ours to be indispensable.
  4. Declutter at least one room. Kitchen drawers, the bedroom closet, overflowing bookshelves. Many of us are guilty of saving the trappings of our lives over six plus decades. We may not go total Marie Kondo (because everything gives us joy) but it probably is time to pass on The Bobbsey Twins to a new generation. The prospect of decluttering the whole house can be overwhelming so our resolution is to clean out one room—the messiest room—this year. Then on to the next. That way, when we feel as if we can’t make headway, we can stand in that one organized room and feel encouraged and motivated.
  5. Choose exercises that answer our needs now. A bone density test that hints at osteopenia means we need to modify our exercise routines to include those that prevent osteoporosis (strength training and weight bearing) and improve flexibility, stability, and balance. Walking, yoga, and Tai Chi top our lists this year.
  6. Try a new sport/physical activity. Doing activities that get us moving has always made us feel happier. Now’s the time to get back out there and be adventurous. Last year one of our editors (age 60+) learned to scuba dive and earned her certification. (You can do scuba and winter skiing well into your seventies and eighties–depending on your overall health.) So whether we’ll hike part of the Appalachian Trail or master the tango or polka, this year we’re going to try a new activity, meet new people, and be happy.
  7. Update our look. This is a tough one. On one hand we’re committed to reeling in our spending. But we realize that our hair, clothes, and makeup need to achieve a balance between our age and current fashion—or we risk looking ridiculous, or old. That doesn’t mean trendy. Just little ways to bring our look up to date. Who What Wear is a good place to start. It’s geared for a younger audience but the author’s mother is 60 so she throws in a few things for our kind.
  8. Visit a new place. This is the year we’re going to visit somewhere we haven’t been before. One dream is to see the Northern Lights. Another is to dive deep into history, walking in the steps of artists, statesmen, and warriors. Or to explore the cuisine of another culture, going to the weekly markets, taking a cooking class. We find that travel is one of the best ways to open our minds and return home refreshed and energized—even if that trip was close to home.
  9. Read a new genre of book. We tend to read books that are similar to other books we’ve liked. This year we’re going to stretch our minds by reading a book or two in completely different genres from our usual choices. We’re joining Goodreads 2020 READING CHALLENGE to record our progress. (We’ll be in good company: to date 1,633,052 people have signed on and pledged to read 72,265,634 books.)
  10. Learn something new. Being a lifelong learner is one way we keep our brains sharp and our thinking open. MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), like Coursera, are a great place to begin. Participate in any course for free and you will learn from professors at some of the most respected universities in the world. Recent courses that caught our eye include Roman Art and Archaeology, What is Contemporary Art?, and Learning How to Learn.
  11. Manage stress. Stress seems to follow us wherever we go, so we need tools to help us manage it. Our toolbox includes taking a peaceful walk (listen to the birds and rustle of leaves), meditation (alone or with a group), and listening to calming music.
  12. Get our finances in order. Adjusting to living on a fixed income is not easy, so we’re writing and recording financial goals for the year: pay down debt; track expenses to see where we can cut back, consider downsizing; and look into cutting our cable/streaming services bills.
  13. Drink more (water). Did you know that as we age our sense of thirst decreases? We need to drink water to give us energy, flush out toxins, and help balance our systems. Plus, it’s great for our skin. To meet our eight-glasses-a-day goal we’ll start by drinking a glass of water with each meal and between each meal, and before, during and after exercise. Fitbit and other apps have water logs that can help us keep track.
  14. Embrace being our age. We resolve to love being the age we are.  As Nora Ephron said, “It’s great to be wise and sage and mellow: it’s great to be at the point where you understand just what matters in life.”

Here’s to getting the most out of 2020!

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