RETIREMENT COACHING – DEBBIE DRINKARD GROVUM-In my last blog I wrote about little changes that can make a big difference in how we age.  The “big four”-physical activity, social connection, diet and nutrition, and life purpose-are the key areas influencing positive aging.  But knowing something is not the same as doing something.  To benefit from information about aging well, we need to take action.  So, in this blog we are going to look at how to get started, make changes, and age well.

The first step is to decide where to start.  Don’t take on all four areas at once; decide which one is most important to you right now.  Even though some of us pay more attention to it than others, most of us have a little voice inside that guides our choices-intuition, gut feeling, whatever we call it.  Where does your inner voice tell you to start?  If you want to take an assessment to help you identify where to start, go to the Blue Zones Vitality Compass.

Next, set goals.  Sounds simple, but a Harvard Business School study found that eighty-four percent of adults have no goals.  The good news is that the sixteen percent who do have goals are ten times more likely to experience self-described success than those without goals.  Remember that SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely.

Plan to live the life you want.  Life planning is thinking purposefully about your future, understanding that things don’t have to stay the same unless you want them to.  By creating a road map for your life, you are able to live by design not default.

Explore your options and learn more about what you want to do.  One of the benefits of the large number of aging baby boomers is that opportunities to learn more about positive aging are all around us-newspaper and magazine articles, TV and radio shows, classes and seminars.

Take baby steps.  Make a little change that can easily be incorporated into your life, then make another little change.  Big change can seem overwhelming, but taking one step at a time can be manageable and over time much is accomplished.  Right now I am working on improving my diet by adding one fruit serving a day.  When that becomes a habit, I will add one more.

Choose your tribe carefully.  We are all affected by the people around us.  Research from the Framingham Studies documents that smoking, obesity, happiness, and even loneliness are contagious.   Who supports your positive lifestyle changes?  Who is living the changes you want to make.

Celebrate your success!  When you are making small, incremental changes, you may not notice what you are accomplishing.  It can be helpful to compare where you were six months ago with where you are now.

“If I’d known I was gonna live this long, I would have taken better care of myself”

Eubie Blake

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