How to Keep Your Resolutions After Retirement

New Year’s resolutions are a time-honored tradition, but statistics show that most resolutions are abandoned within a few weeks. In fact, one study showed only 9% of Americans felt they successfully accomplished their resolutions. Retirement is a great time to make goals, since you might actually have the time and bandwidth to meet them. Still, retirement presents its own challenges. So how can you keep your resolutions after retirement? Check out these quick tips.


Set Smart Goals (that are Actually Smart)

You may have heard of SMART goals, a common term used in business and productivity. SMART is an acronym for:

  • Specific (or simple, sensible, significant).
  • Measurable (or meaningful, motivating).
  • Achievable (or attainable).
  • Relevant (or reasonable, realistic, results-based).
  • Time-sensitive (or time-based, time limited, time-bound).


These considerations can help you set goals that you’ll actually be able to achieve. Many people set goals that are very abstract, like “get healthier.” What does “healthier” mean? What would “getting healthier” look like? 


Instead, a SMART goal might be, “15 minutes of movement 5 or more times a week.” This goal is:

  • Specific–It describes a specific aspect of health
  • Measurable–You can measure how long and how many times a week you exercise
  • Achievable–It’s not too difficult to meet this goal; it will fit into your current lifestyle
  • Relevant–It will improve your physical and mental health
  • Time sensitive–It includes a length of time and number of times per week


Make Resolutions that Mean Something

Sometimes when people make New Year’s resolutions, they choose goals for things they think they should do. News programs keep telling us we need to eat more kale, for example, so you set a goal to eat more vegetables. But does this goal actually matter to you? Do you actually want to eat more vegetables? 

You’ll be most successful with your resolutions if they are personally meaningful for you. If you don’t care about vegetables, you don’t have to care about vegetables. You’re retired, you get to choose what you spend your time and energy on now! Instead, what matters to you personally? If relationships are an important priority in your life, you might want to set resolutions about things like charity work, spending more time with family, or making friends. At this point in your life, goals about mental health might matter more to you than running a 10 minute mile. 


Whatever your goals are, make sure they actually matter to you and are based on your own personal values. What do you want your retired life to look like? Make it happen with your goals.


Start Small

Goals that encompass an entire year can be overwhelming. Start off with baby steps. You don’t run 20 miles the first day of your marathon training! Make sure to begin your resolutions with smaller, achievable goals. The feeling of achievement that comes from small steps will help motivate you to continue working toward your resolutions.


If your goal is to read more, for example, start by adding a very small amount of reading to your day. You can also use a habit stacking trick to make it even easier–add reading a chapter of a book to part of your bedtime routine. You could also read after you brush your teeth, or while you eat your breakfast. 


With these tips, Stellar Living hopes you’ll have no trouble keeping your resolutions after retirement. And remember, even if you don’t hit all of your goals the way you had intended, you’ve still accomplished more than you would have otherwise!