When making New Year Resolutions, do not be too ambitious.  Make resolutions that are achievable and have not more than three.  Why?  It's easier to take small bites and small successes encourage us to push on.  Having too many resolutions diffuse our attention and when we lose focus, chances are we are not going to achieve anything.  Beside, many good things come in three, but this is the subject of another blog.  Here are my three new year resolutions:

1. Spend More Time with Family & Friends
The top new year resolutions in recent polls by General Nutrition Centers, Quicken, and others shows that more than 50% of Americans want to spend more time with family and friends this year. [1]  I agree with this one especially if your spouse is still around.  Sooner or later, one of you will check-out first.  If you are already a Sehalif, i.e. pass 50 years, the time left is ticking away.
What about friends?  I recall that in 1965, 40 young men took up a 5-year apprenticeship in aircraft maintenance engineering and I was one of them.  After graduation, they went different paths--some change career, others went for further studies etc. but by and large, the group still remained in contact meeting once a year.  So far, two of this group had already checked out of planet Earth.  Another one is fighting cancer.  One by one, those remaining would join the queue to the other side.  As this fact dawn on us, we treasure the yearly reunion get-together more and more. 
Meeting up with other old friends whether it be over lunch or just over a cup of coffee (or wine) is just as important.  Is it not better to talk to the person when he or she is alive than to attend the funeral?  Talking about death does not seem appropriate for a new year resolution but a saying comes to mind.  Death is a great equalizer; kings and paupers have to bite the dust eventually.

2. Fitness
In my blog Healthy Aging and Living Longer on December 07. 2009, one of the advices from centenarians is to exercise at least 45 minutes or more a day.  Last year, I was only doing twice a weekly Yoga of 1 1/2 hour duration, obviously not enough. I have enrolled in another Yoga class on Mondays starting January 11.  This will make up thrice a week--Monday, Wednesday and Saturday for my Yoga sessions--at different Yoga centers with different teachers.  Yes, I like variety.  I intend to go to the Gymnasium on Friday too, because the credit card I am holding enables me to go to that particular gymnasium free on Fridays. 

3. Learn something New.
This is another advice from centenarians.  There are evidences that if the brain stays active and learns new things, it would reconnect the cells within.  Some even suggest that playing Mahjong would delay the onset of Dementia, but this is only true of you are still an amateur, or if you are already a Mahjong expert, you have not played for the last six months. [2]  If you are an expert player and have been playing consistently, you are not learning new things; so it would do you little good.  In that case, learn to play Bridge or some other games. You have to be like a toddler, learning and discovering new things each day, and your brain will become alive.
In my case, I like free online courses.  I will take up another course.  Why?  Firstly, there is no time pressure and I can take my time. Secondly, it is free. Call me a cheapskate if you like.  I don't care.  At my age, I am carefree.

You do not need to pick the same resolutions, visit the blog mentioned earlier and pick from the advices of the centenarians.  Frankly, I almost picked the one "Drink a glass or two of wine a day" but my spouse does not seem to like that idea very much.

Someone once said that resolutions are made to be broken.  So be it.  My take is that some resolutions are better than no resolution.  At least there are some chances of some success if we try. Good luck.

Sources:
1. Albrecht Powell, Top Ten New Year's Resolutions, About.com Guide
2. Sheung-Tak Cheng, Alfred C. M. Chan and Edwin C. S. Yu, An exploratory study of the effect of Mahjong on cognitive functioning of persons suffering from dementia, Geriatic Psychiatry

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