With the start of the pandemic in 2020 and stay-at-home orders forcing people to stay in their houses, there was a surge of online learning. Sites like skillshare, Duolingo, and Coursera saw extraordinary growth and it is just the beginning. Cultivating new skills and habits can be challenging, as old habits are hard to shake, especially when we are older. Despite common thoughts of “I’m too old” or “I missed my chance”, it is never too late to begin.
New Year’s Eve is behind us, but it is never too late for a New Year’s resolution. Resolutions are about starting the year off with goals, and the idea of New Year’s resolutions have become a superstition over the past couple of years. People tend to make silly goals not met by year’s end. However, resolutions are still important for the upcoming year, as they harness the energy to change life direction. Becoming a beginner allows yourself to be pushed further and helps the brain become goal-oriented.
Being a beginner is hard, as it feels better to succeed than to fail. However, every step is worth the effort because becoming a beginner is a life-enhancing experience. For example, taking up the skill of juggling and throwing balls into the air has been found to alter the brain. “Action-dependent structural activity” appears within seven days and changes the brain’s processing centers and network connections.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Tobias Schmidt-Wilcke, a neuroscientist and juggler, says “learning a new skill requires the neutral tissue to function in a new way.”
After the burst of activity, the brain settles down, and the brain’s processing center declines. After the activity is mastered and can be done without thinking, it is important to attempt a new skill in order to help with brain density. These changes happen for young and old alike, although older people may have a harder time and need to put in more effort. As people age, the brain changes, and more skills need to be learned in order to maintain abilities. The more learning older adults partake in, the faster their learning abilities become like younger adults.
The saying “new year, new me” is a phrase most people roll their eyes at, but it is actually true in the context of brain activity. Enabling the brain to create goals and achieving them, allows the brain to function at a pace younger individuals’ brains do. So seek out to achieve new goals and skills every day in order to exercise the brain. Keeping up with the cognitive patterns of the brain helps with functionality.
Achieving mastery does not have to be the goal. Partaking in engaging activity proves to have improvements in the cognitive areas helping with memory and processing speeds. For those in the age range of 60 to 90, simply meeting up and socializing has been proven to boost brain activity.
Boosting one’s brain activity is not the only reason people become a beginner. Instead, it gives them a new sense of self and pride. Achieving new skills and making milestones on goals improves one’s mental health and brings on excitement to continue forward. It is never too late to be a beginner and start a new New Year’s resolution.
Here are 6 New Year’s resolutions it is never too late for.
Being aware of yourself and the decisions being made applies to all areas of life. Mindfulness helps keep yourself accountable. It provides a realistic and simple resolution to follow. Enabling it to prosper the whole year instead of fizzling out by February.
Reading helps to expand the mind. Reading allows one to stay informed and learn something new. By reading the newspaper every day, you are able to stay informed about the world around you. Books transport an individual to a different reality and help unwind after a long day by escaping into a story with fascinating characters.
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The beginning of the year is the perfect time to get control over your financial future. However, there is no such this as too late. Getting a grasp on savings and dedicating a set amount of income to a savings account each month adds up quickly. Now is the time to practice staying within your budget and being disciplined about spending habits.
It is understandable life has a way of creating unforeseeable expenses. Tires blow out, houses catch on fire, employees suffer layoffs… Saving money can be difficult at times. Starting somewhere does not have to be painful. Saving a penny every day for a year allows you to have saved $3.60. I know it does not seem like much, but you were still able to save $3.60 more than if you had not put a penny away every day.
Goals can start off small and gradually increase as the year goes on. They are not meant to be overwhelming or achievable. Make goals small and accomplishable, and then work your way up to the bigger goals. Small goals leading up to the bigger goals allow for the biggest goal imaginable to turn from a mountain to a hill because you have actually been working at it with each activity achieved. Starting somewhere is the hardest step to achieve, but once it is complete, the others are sure to follow.
Improve your Health
Everyone believes they are going to get back to shape at the beginning of the year, and gym memberships surge only to fizzle out after months. Starting small and taking control over your health and fitness does not have to be miserable. Going for walks every day, watching what you eat, and getting enough rest proves to be great ways to improve both mental and physical health. Whether you want to go to the gym for a dramatic change or starting off small, just remember to be patient with yourself. It is about consistency and dedication in order to see self-improvement.
Go Back to Your Passions
As adults, it is easy to pick up a busy schedule with financial responsibilities. They tend to get in the way of doing activities we love to do. This year, making time for hobbies and the people you love is a great self-care practice. Finding time to do something for yourself has mental health benefits and can provide stress relief.
It is easy to get caught up in the negativity the world has to offer right now. Taking time to find something to be grateful for each day can put life into perspective, as the little things tend to matter most. Even if you only can be grateful for making it through the day, or waking up, or having air in your lungs, positive thinking breeds positivity. The more you work on finding the positives in life, the easier it will become to find them.
Make each action, word, or thought count. As humans, it is important to understand everyone is busy. There is not enough time to mess around and waste time. By putting intent behind each action it adds meaning. Intent can be as simple as trying to reach out and call friends or family members not regularly talked to because of distance. It may seem silly or like a weak goal, but it provides a big impact on others’ lives as well. Having someone intentionally put in effort brings a sense of appreciation and compassion into the world.
Even though these resolutions may be hard to achieve due to the uncertainty of life’s struggles, it is never too late to pick them back up again. These resolutions do not rely on the time of year or the age of the person completing them. Being a better version of yourself than you were yesterday is an achievement in itself and something you should be proud of. Celebrating little victories is a way to help achieve bigger goals and provide motivation. Be happy with the person you are and are becoming.
With the Covid-19 virus keeping us indoors and away from others, it is important to continue our resolutions and learn new skills. Each new skill learned or attempted helps with cognitive power within our brains. Older folk learning new skills can achieve the brain activity of a younger adult by exercising the brain with simple tasks. Exercising the brain provides a framework for better mental and physical health. Therefore, it is never too late for a New Year’s Resolution.
I encourage everyone to take time to sit and write out specific and intentional goals for yourself. Small goals instead of big goals in order to ensure doability and accountability. “SMART” goals (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) are a way to ensure you are about to attack your personal goals and complete them to the best of your ability.
The pandemic turned us all into beginners. Suddenly, the usual ways of doing things were no longer an option. Online learning sites like Skillshare, Duolingo and Coursera saw extraordinary growth. But cultivating new skills and habits is a challenge. Even as we commit to new activities, we struggle to shake off the stasis of familiar routines, especially if we are older.
It is never too late to try something new and to set new goals. Learning is a part of life, and striving to have goals for the best life possible is a year-round task not a beginning of the year trend. Without goals, we lack motivation, pleasure, and success. Without resolutions, we lack purpose in life. Set goals for yourself, and do not be afraid to change how you are perceived. New Year’s resolutions are the first step to changing who you are and who you want to be, but carrying them out and partaking in your goals, is a year-to-year achievement.