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Do Older People Really Need Less Sleep?

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Do Older People Really Need Less Sleep?

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20 Questions to ask Yourself when Deciding to leave a Full-Time Role and Career

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20 Questions to ask Yourself when Deciding to leave a Full-Time Role and Career

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What Family Traditions do you hope stay around long into the future?

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What Family Traditions do you hope stay around long into the future?

What traditions exist in your family?

Could it be a recipe handed down over the years?  A friend recently posted a photo of an ancient, handwritten recipe she was cooking from – written out by her great grandmother many years ago.

Do you do takeout and movie night once a week?  Or a family camping every Easter?  Do you buy an annual Christmas decoration for the tree?  A friend of mine does that and the 2020 decoration had toilet rolls and face masks on it! 

Whatever you do, the benefits can be great for a multigenerational family.

How to Sustain Traditions for the future

In thinking about how to sustain them, here’s a few tips.  If traditions are time consuming or overly complex, they may fall to the wayside in our busy lives.  Here are a couple of tips for continuity in your family traditions:

  • Try to keep them simple as they are more likely to be repeated.
  • Be willing to try things and then scrap them if they don’t work out. I hope to create a new tradition in my family, that as each of my nieces and nephews graduate from high school, we do some volunteer work somewhere in the world together.  Let’s see if we can make that stick for a few years as they all grow up. 
  • Assess how inclusive and fun the activity is – if it feels like a chore for everyone it may not stick.
  • If you are a new grandparent, think about some new traditions you can evolve as your grandkids grow up.
  • If you are creating a new tradition, think about what your family enjoys and build upon that. The Covid-19 pandemic may have made it hard to stick to some family traditions, so start some new ones in their place. 

Enjoy making cross generational memories through your family traditions!

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Is Healthspan or Lifespan more Important?

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Is Healthspan or Lifespan more Important?

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What is working for and against increasing healthspan?

Sadly, many of our health structures do not support positive preventative healthcare.  Our health insurers often cover only when you are actually ill, rather than helping an individual avoid the illness, if possible, in the first place.  Also baby boomers consider themselves a tough bunch, and many don’t see the need for preventative health checks, soldiering on until it becomes too serious to keep going.  Additionally, getting in home support is often woefully underfunded or not available, pushing more people into care than perhaps need to be there.

However, there are regions of the world that are focused on increasing healthspan and are transforming their communities.  They are doing this by promoting facilities such as walking paths, bike lanes and attractive scenery; food markets featuring fruit and vegetables, as well as restaurants with healthy choices; societies and clubs with active members.  All of these can contribute to increased healthspan.

As Dr Allen Weiss, CMO of the Blue Zones Project shared, “Southwest Florida’s Collier County metropolitan statistical area added 0.6 years of life expectancy over the past five years. This positive result, due in large measure to the Blue Zones Project, is in contradistinction to the rest of the nation which lost 0.2 years from 2015 to 2017. Additionally, Southwest Florida’s cardiac mortality declined 8.1 percent during the same time period.” 

For those who are unaware, the Blue Zones Project is based on nine principles — moving naturally, having purpose, downshifting, consuming a plant-slant diet (little to no meat), eating until 80 percent full, having wine at five, putting family first, have a positive group of friends, and participating in a faith based organisation.  These principles were learned from five locales around the world where more people live to age 100 than other places globally.

Are we ready to move on from talking about extending lifespan? Is healthspan worth a bit more understanding about how we can influence it?  What can you do to increase your own healthspan, and those you love? What can you contribute to your community to influence it also?

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Need Some Ideas for Setting your 2021 Goals?

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Need Some Ideas for Setting your 2021 Goals?

As you edge closer to retirement, or if you are already in your Third Age*, where do you get your ideas for your goals? Where does that internal motivation come from that drives your energy? What encourages your forward momentum, especially when that becomes harder as you age?

I would encourage you to include, as one source of inspiration, information that is coming out of the many relevant research projects happening across the globe. This work looks into what helps you live well, that is increasing your healthspan, along with what influences how long you live, your lifespan.

BUT I hear you say……Who is going to find, follow and read that research? We are! While it is evolving all the time, the important areas are relatively clear and we have captured them in our free questionnaire, the Wayfinder. While this diagnostic tool will continue to develop in line with the research, you can definitely use it as one input to developing personal and motivating goals in 2021.

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So what areas might you consider including:

The first key theme encourages you to set goals that help drive your forward Momentum.

1. What will bring purpose and meaning for you? What is your vision for your Third Age? How will you spend your time so that you feel like you are contributing and remain relevant?

  • e.g. you might set a goal around the contribution you want to make to your community, church or role as a grandparent. You might have a travel goal, or two! Or maybe you want to start a part-time business as a passion project?

2. How much energy are you bringing to the journey? What effort are you prepared to put in to help you achieve your goals? The act of setting goals that are important to you, action based and achievable, will provide an energy boost to keep you moving forward.

3. How curious are you to learn and grow in your Third Age? How open are you to new experiences? Continuous learning helps keep you cognitively stronger longer.

  • e.g. your goal here might be something like, ‘Learn to play three songs on the drums to be able to take part in the family band by the end of 2021.’

The second key theme focuses you on strengthening relationships in your close and broader Community. Sometimes when we leave the workplace, friends drift away and the relationship with our spouse changes.

To avoid the challenges that this brings you might set goals in some of these areas:

1. What are you keen to improve concerning your family and close friends? Are there relationships that need work? Have you discussed how retirement will impact the relationship you have with your spouse?

  • e.g. you might set a goal around spending time with your grandchildren once a month, or restarting weekly date night with your significant other.

2. How wide are your connections beyond your close family and friends? Who provides information, community and support in your life? Would it be beneficial to set some goals in this space?

  • e.g. you might aim to develop five contacts outside the workplace in the area of sports, hobbies or other community groups. Think through your strategies for maintaining these connections in the future.

3. Consider any goals you might create about developing you. How self-aware are you? How well do you deal with transition and change? Do you consider yourself fairly resilient?

  • an example here might be to learn some strategies to manage any anxiety that comes with the unknowns of your Third Age, or you might want to take a chunk of time to just relax and unwind if you have recently left a full-time role.

The third key theme encourages you to set goals to build and maintain your Assets

1. Perhaps the easiest is to outline a wellbeing goal! This can be anything about your mental, physical, emotional or spiritual wellbeing.

  • e.g. for the first six months of 2021 I am taking a deep dive into intermittent fasting. As more and more supporting evidence is published, I am interested to see how beneficial it could be for me.

2. Do you want to set any goals around your finances?

  • e.g. achieve zero debt by Dec 2021, or something around what budget you are working with, particularly if this has changed recently.  

3. Finally consider what skills and experiences you have which can be usefully repurposed in your Third Age, or new ones you would like to learn.

  • one example is that you might like to learn to use a DSLR camera now that you have the time to practice.

To summarize, when you are looking for ideas and inspiration for your goals for 2021, consider some of the following areas

Maintain your momentum through being clearer on your purpose, what drives your energy and how curious you want to be.  Review your community by looking at your relationships with family and close friends, your wider connections and yourself.  And finally, determine what you want to achieve with respect to your assets – either wellbeing, finances or skills and experiences.

*Third Age – that time post leaving full-time employment when you have the most flexibility and freedom as compared to when in education or working and possibly raising a family or contributing to elder care. 

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Avoid Making New Year’s Resolutions at all Costs!

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Avoid Making New Year’s Resolutions at all Costs!

I am not a big fan of New Year’s Resolutions. Research by Strava, found that most people gave up their New Year’s Resolutions by Jan 19th!!!  Yet, I do believe in goal setting as one key to the energy and motivation we draw upon to move forward each year. Goals enable you to create the world you want to live in, to design the life you want to lead – in short help you be the best version of you this year.

 

But aren’t goals only for the workplace? What if I have retired? It’s just as important to set goals around retirement or planning for retirement – otherwise what happens? Life gets in the way and time flies past. In 2020 I was in awe of, now 100 year old, Captain Sir Tom Moore, who had a goal to walk 100 laps of his garden to raise GBP1000 for the NHS. An obvious over achiever, he raised more than GBP39 million and became the sweetheart of the UK at a very challenging time.

 

In January 2020 I wrote my 20 goals for 2020. It seemed like a good idea at the time! But, like many, my 2020 was a bit of a write off. So I had a major rewrite mid year – and that’s OK too. But I had a place to begin with that revision, rather than a blank sheet of paper.

 

When reflecting on all the best tips on goal setting I offer these six to focus on when writing your goals for 2021:

1.List all your accomplishments in 2020 and review what you learned.

Look for themes – What did you find you enjoyed more this year than you expected to? What new skills did you learn or discover? e.g. Did you learn that you like the remote connection of Zoom we all learnt to use in 2020? Or did you discover that you felt too isolated without so much in person interaction? Take these learnings and build more of the positives into your 2021 goals.

2.Be holistic in setting goals.

Develop 2021 goals for each aspect of your life (check out our Wayfinder questionnaire which will give you several ideas on topics). Some examples include goals around:

  • improving your wellbeing – physical health, mental health or cognitive health
  • achieving a financial target – two friends of mine have a goal to pay off their property this year and I am confident they will!
  • learning something new – a skill or take on board new knowledge
  • having an experience, perhaps one from your bucket list. One of my mottos is the old Emirates tagline – ‘When was the last time you did something for the first time?’
  • investing time in closer relationships with your family and friends
  • broadening your network and circle of acquaintances – as an introvert I need to actively focus here. I find when traveling alone I can go for days or weeks living in my own little world, so making new connections is a non-negotiable goal on my agenda
  • achieving a travel goal – that may need to be mostly local in 2021 but may still be possible
  • giving back to your community or a more global cause.
  • changing some behaviors’ that aren’t working for you e.g. becoming more forgiving or developing your assertiveness skills or your listening skills.

3.Be clear on why you want this as a goal.

I love the quote from Dr. Peter Fuda, who works in the leadership and transformation space, he says “Your ‘why’ is the most important part of ‘how’ you achieve anything.” Test your reason for wanting to include each goal in your 2021 list. This will also help you narrow down your goals and hold you to the most important ones.

4.Don’t limit yourself - dream big!

An ambitious aim is inspirational, stretching and definitely something that can get you out of bed in the morning. People will cheer you on and help you stay accountable.

5.Break your goals into bite sized pieces

Small steps move you forward to your ultimate goal and small steps are easier to measure. And we’ve all heard that old adage – what gets measured get’s done! So break your big, hairy, audacious goals down.

6.Celebrate!!!!

Review your goals regularly through the year to see if you are on track, or if circumstances need you to change them. But most of all review them so you can pause to acknowledge success as you tick off big and small milestones on the way to the end goal. I like the celebrations best – usually mine are chocolate related! Oh and try not to beat yourself up over those you did not achieve. I know, harder said than done!

Goals are relevant no matter what stage of your life journey you are in. So what’s next for you in 2021?

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