Every time you tear a leaf off a calendar, you present a new place for new ideas and progress.
– Charles F. Kettering, inventor, engineer, and businessman

Roughly half of Americans admit to usually making some kind of New Year’s resolution. Yet despite their good intentions for self-improvement, only about 8 percent of people are successful in achieving their resolution, according to statisticbrain.com, often because they set a goal that is simply too lofty. Healthy habits for older adults are just as important as they are for any age, so this got me thinking about some realistic ways that seniors can improve their lives and wellbeing as we enter the new year. Here are seven potential New Year’s resolutions for seniors that are easily attainable with just a little effort…

Update (or create) your legal documents

The very nature of many legal documents is that you don’t need them until you need them, and this is especially true of wills, advance directives (also called a living will), and power of attorney documents. If you haven’t already created each of these, contact your attorney and set up an appointment to get the ball rolling. You can even find simple templates on the internet using sites like legalzoom.com or get low-cost computer software (such as Quicken WillMaker) if your personal and financial situation is not very complex.

And if you already created these documents many years ago, it is a good idea to review them periodically to ensure nothing about your wishes has dramatically changed.

>> Related: Power of Attorney Documents Can Alleviate Problems Later

Clean out your attic, garage, and/or closets

You open the door, and inside are behemoth stacks of STUFF–discarded toys, outdated clothes, boxes of old papers. Whether this describes your attic, garage, or closet, 2017 is the year to tackle the task of cleaning it out. It sounds daunting, but here are some simple tips on how to turn this chore into a…dare I say, fun?…task.

  >> Related: Trash or Treasure: Why Seniors Should Declutter Their Homes…Today

Eat healthier

Want to live to be 100? There are some excellent examples of healthy habits for older adults around the world. The people in the Blue Zones (the cities and countries that have the most centenarians) seem to have it figured out, and following some of their diet and lifestyle choices can put you on the path to a longer, healthier life. But eating healthy doesn’t have to mean sacrificing flavor. Try incorporating these “super foods” into your meals; it is another easy way to up your chances of living to 100.

Get a check-up

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. That’s why you should have an annual check-up with your primary care doctor. He or she will be able to spot any issues early, before they become major health crises. Your insurance or Medicare should pay for it at no cost to you, so why not take advantage? Yes, laughter is good medicine, but preventive care may just be the best medicine.

>> Related: Seniors’ Relationship with Their Primary Care Doctor is Key

Learn how to use technology

Staying connected to friends and family has many mental health benefits for seniors. And the internet and social media make it simpler than ever to keep in touch, even for the elderly who might otherwise become socially isolated. That’s probably why seniors are one of the faster growing demographics on Facebook. If you aren’t currently using social media–maybe you just aren’t sure how to “Facebook”–ask a friend or loved one for a lesson and make 2017 the year you start connecting with loved ones virtually.

>> Seniors and Technology-Embracing the Digital Age

Begin to explore senior living options for the long-term

If you are approaching retirement age, you probably have already thought about where you would like to live as you grow old (and hopefully you’ve been saving your money accordingly). If you are considering a continuing care retirement community (CCRC, also known as a life plan community) or another senior living community, there’s no time like the present to start exploring the options. My LifeSite has information on CCRCs across the country to help you get the process started.

>> Related: When to Get on the Wait List at a Retirement Community

Get more exercise

This is a popular resolution, and often, it is also one that quickly gets abandoned. Yet exercise has countless health benefits, especially as we age–increasing cardiovascular health, strengthening bones, improving balance, and managing weight. A research study conducted earlier this year found that as little as 1 minute of exercise can have tangible health benefits, improving blood sugar regulation, and increasing endurance and muscle. So, no more excuses that you “don’t have time” to exercise in 2017! Take the stairs, park further from the mall entrance, or just get up from the sofa and do some jumping jacks or pushups. A little exercise is always better than none!

>> Related: Strike a Pose: The Benefits of Yoga for Seniors

While the list above is targeted to seniors, most of the ideas can apply to any adult, so pick one…or seven!…and then set your goals for 2017. Happy New Year!

>> Learn more about CCRCs in your area and the amenities they offer.

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