You’re never too old to set new goals

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By For the Call

Last month I had lunch with my friends Tom and Judy. Tom asked me what plans I had for my upcoming birthday. As a reader of the Call, Tom knew that I had written a column about skydiving on my 70th birthday. I had crossed out a goal from my wish list. 

I am embarrassed to say that I was not planning to set any goals. I turned 85 on New Year’s Day. Why I may not live to achieve any goals that I set. Goal setting is for younger people. They are the ones to set goals as they pursue careers and raise families.   

However, upon further reflection I realized one is never too old to set goals. Everyone, no matter how old, needs something to focus on and stay motivated. Goals inspire us to accomplish new things. Goals provide us with a purpose in life. They give us direction and a sense of accomplishment. Working toward goals provides us with vitality and achieving goals gives us self-confidence.  

Goal setting and working toward goals helps seniors to have more structure in their lives, to be more active and engaged. Without goals seniors easily become bored. Working a goal plan encourages senior citizens to make decisions, forces them to monitor progress and gives them something to look forward to. 

At 85 I recognize that all my goals may not be achieved. But as Benjamin Mays, the American rights leader credited with laying the intellectual foundation of the civil rights movement, said, “The tragedy of life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goals. The tragedy lies in having no goals to reach.”

When one is younger there are various goals to pursue. There are the three Fs – family goals, financial goals and fitness goals. There also are educational goals and career goals.

As one ages some of these goals no longer are relevant. I believe goals to be pursued by seniors fall within four categories. There are goals for the mind, body, and spirit. These are the mental goals, the physical goals, and the spiritual goals, The fourth category of goals is the relationship goals.

There are activities that fall within these four categories. In next month’s column, I will provide suggestions for activities that fall within the various categories. I also will discuss the SMART methodology for establishing goals.  

If you have yet to set your New Year’s resolutions, perhaps the information in this column and next month’s column will prove helpful.      

Happy New Year!