Five Surefire Ways to Make This Your Best Year Yet

How can you baby boomers make this your best year yet?

Aren’t we old and wise enough to dump the silly tradition of making a bunch of New Year’s resolutions that make you feel like a failure at the end of the year when things don’t go according to plan?

Instead of making an endless list of lofty ambitions, why not take some simple, realistic steps to improve your life in significant ways?

Are your ready? I certainly am! I’m ready to move forward and make the most of the next 361 days, 8,664 hours of precious time that I can never get back. quote-oprah-year-endI’m ready to continue on my spiritual path. I’m ready to set new goals and create attainable steps to achieve them. I’m ready for new adventures. I’m ready to make my body healthier and stronger.

Want to join me? Here are five simple but effective ways we can all make this an incredible year:

Reflect and Learn

Before jumping into the New Year, take a moment to think about what worked and didn’t work for you last year. What were the highlights? The low points? What were your successes and failures? What made you feel happy and joyful? What made you downright miserable? What life lessons did you learn that you can take into the new year? What changes do you need to make this year even better?

Focus on the Present

Okay, now that you’ve looked over the past year, it’s time to move forward. Forgive and let go of any anger or resentment you’re still carrying over from last year. Resolve to learn from your mistakes and move on. Make the necessary changes to eliminate whatever was making you miserable. Take time to be grateful for all the good things that last year granted you. Then, focus on the present. When you wake up in the morning, ask yourself, what would bring me joy and make my day great? Then do your best to make sure it happens. At the end of the day, ask yourself, what could have made my day better? Then make the necessary adjustments. This daily practice will help you create the life you want to live. Another way to live in the present is to savor, appreciate, and revel in seemingly small, ordinary moments that make the day special. Did you feel the warmth of sunshine on your face or enjoy the refreshing smell after a rainstorm today?  Did you hear a bird singing its heart out or enjoy the sound of a child’s laughter? Did you receive a compliment at work or did a stranger say or do something kind? Did your loved one give you a big hug? Take notice and cherish each moment.

write-goalsWrite Down Attainable Goals

According to studies, about half of Americans make New Year’s resolutions but less than 10 percent of people achieve them. I’m not a believer in New Year resolutions which tend to be overwhelming and unrealistic. However, I do think it helps to periodically write down a few specific and realistic goals throughout the year and review them regularly. Doing so will help you remember what you want out of life and set priorities. You can include spiritual goals, health goals, career goals, or personal goals. So you won’t feel overwhelmed, list no more than three at a time in order of importance. Make sure the objectives are attainable. Then write small steps you need to take to achieve those goals. Focus on one goal at a time and give yourself deadlines – as a writer I know this works. Celebrate milestones along the way. Don’t give up too easily and believe in yourself. Start right now. Think of one specific goal you would like to accomplish this year. Okay, now what’s one thing you can do today, right now, to work towards your goal? No excuses – just do it!

Make Your Body Stronger One Month at a Time

Weight loss and going to the gym are popular New Years resolutions that often fail by time February hits and the excitement wears off. So why not take a different tack? Instead of vowing to lose 20 pounds at the beginning of the year, make it a goal to do one simple thing each month to make your body healthier. Need some ideas?  In January, find a workout buddy. In February, walk 100 more steps each day. In March, drink less alcohol and more water. In April, get more sleep. In May, eliminate sugar from your diet. In June, sit less and stand more.  In June, explore a new hiking trail. In July, touch your toes every day. In August, try out one new sport or workout. In September, download a free fitness app. In October, eat less meat and more vegetables. In November, try a new healthy recipe each week. In December, take a daily time out and practice deep breathing. You can use these goals or make up your own list. The idea is to practice each goal for one month to make lifestyle changes that will hopefully stick and become good habits.

try-something-newTry Something New 

While it’s good to break free of your comfortable but boring routine, New Year’s resolutions often include intimidating goals like learning a new language, running a marathon, or skydiving. Why not use the method above and promise yourself to try something new each month. You don’t have to choose something difficult, arduous, or life-threatening. Sign up for a class, visit a new city, try a new cuisine or restaurant, change your hairstyle, make a new friend, learn ten phrases in a different language, listen to a different type of music, write a poem or start a journal. Even the smallest change can inspire more adventure and joy.

There you go – five simple steps to make this your best year yet. In addition to the suggestions above, resolve to take time to nurture your spiritual side, to spend time with your loved ones, to laugh and smile, to be generous and help others, and be kind to yourself. Do so and you’ll feel happier throughout the year.

Images in order of appearance courtesy of nuttakit and Stuart Miles at


Julie A. Gorges is the author of two young adult novels, Just Call Me Goody Two Shoes and Time to Cast Away and co-author of Residential Steel Design and Construction published by McGraw Hill. In addition, hundreds of her articles and short stories have been published in national and regional magazines, and she received three journalism awards from the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association while working as a newspaper reporter. Julie currently lives in southern California with her husband, Scott, and has two grown children and three grandchildren.

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12 Responses

  1. Cat Michaels says:

    I love your suggestion of waking every morning to reflect and find joy in life for that day. Way easier to chunk out daily, attainable goals than to make grand plans that fall by the wayside. Thanks for the pep talk, Julie!

  2. Well said Julie! I’ve never been a fan of New Year’s Resolutions either, however I do set goals and I totally buy into setting a theme for the year because I’ve found it helps to keep me focused.

    My theme for this year is “Freedom” and all of my goals are aligned with that theme. Of course, what freedom means will be different for each of us, but for me, it’s the ability to live my life my own way and that is a goal I’ve been working toward for awhile now and I’m already there in most ways that matter (to me), and this year I’m locked on to finances and I’m feeling the energy and momentum. 🙂 Wishing you all the best for this beautiful New Year my friend!

  3. Sue Kearney says:

    I’m down with everything you said, Julie, and in fact, am inviting the women in my tribe to do a review / release / get quiet and listen / set intentions working with me seasonally or as often as they are called to do so. Because, as you so beautifully say, once a year is just not enough, because circumstances change much more often than that, because course correction should be an everyday — not once a year — tool.

    Like Marquita above, I too have a word/theme for the year and mine is ease/easy.

    If it isn’t easy, it isn’t happening. Scary and liberating all at once.

  4. Start the year with baby steps and succeeding rather than trying to take a leap with too many promises to oneself that can be overwhelming. Thanks for sharing these 5 tips and have a fabulous 2017.

    • juliegorges says:

      Yes, that was the idea of my blog. Take a month at a time – or a day at a time – to work at reaching your goals instead of making all these grand resolutions at the beginning of the year that never get achieved. I wish you all the best for 2017!

  5. I quit setting myself up for failure with resolutions a long time ago, Julie. I’d always choose something that I knew was good for me but couldn’t stick beyond February. 🙂

    Now I set myself a theme word for the year that encompasses the previous year’s learning and what I intend to achieve during the new year. My year in review indicates that I do a lot more than my original goals.

    • juliegorges says:

      Setting a theme for the year seems like a new trend – a few other readers have mentioned the same thing. Much better than New Year Resolutions and I’m glad you have had such great results. Great idea, thanks for sharing!

  6. Summer Price says:

    Such a good post. I couldn’t agree with you more, especially the “simple, realistic steps.” That is, in my opinion, why so many New Year Resolutions and just plain old goals fail. We aren’t being realistic with ourselves. We expect the unattainable in too short of a timeframe. Making us overwhelmed and we give up. We just need to take simple small steps each day. We can’t change overnight. Unfortunately, we often expect that of ourselves, though. Thanks for sharing.

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