[Portions reprinted from the PMEA Retired Member Network eNEWS, January 3, 2019]
Twas the morning after Christmas, and all through the house.
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse…
Wouldn’t this be the perfect time to make a New Year’s Resolution?
Many do believe that ushering in the New Year is all about pursuing new directions, a sort of “rebirth,” analyzing and revising our personal goals/visions, and making promises for self-improvements… perhaps a little like the personal renaissance of retirement.
However, it is likely that after all the festive celebrations and squarely facing the first several weeks in January, if you had made New Year’s resolutions, you may have forgotten them or fell short of even starting your 2019 aspirations. My new approach is to examine and expand on what I was planning to do anyway… not to propose lofty ambitions like losing 30 pounds or exercising an hour a day (both not likely to ever happen, no matter my best intentions). What I have learned about setting personal goals (and I taught these concepts during student leadership training sessions) is that you need to “keep them simple,” “write them down,” “make them measurable,” “revisit and revise your plans often” and “publish or announce them” somehow. Tell your spouse, “This is what I am going to accomplish in the New Year.” A great place to post your “promises” for everyone to see is where you get up in the morning… perhaps on or near your bedroom or bathroom mirror.
The last time I wrote an article about New Year’s resolutions for retirees was back in December 2015. You can see it here (also printed in a Retired Member Network eNEWS): https://paulkfoxusc.wordpress.com/2015/12/22/random-acts-and-other-resolutions/.
Well, I suppose I better sketch out a “new plan!” Let’s see if any of these “strike a chord” with you… possible your own considerations for 2019? (I admit this is a little self-serving like the Peanuts cartoon character Lucy van Pelt dictating New Year’s resolutions for Charlie Brown. Well, as they say, if the shoe fits…)
- Read at least one new book each month.
- Take time for regular physical exercise.
- “Keep around young people and you will stay forever young!”
- Enjoy travel and “see the world,” and go on trips while the kids you used to teach are still in school.
- Do something creative every day: make/create music, art, dance, drama, photography, writing, etc.
- Complete one new “random act of kindness” every week (but don’t call attention or take any credit for it!).
- Continue to be an advocate for music education.* (see last link below)
The American Psychological Association at https://www.apa.org/helpcenter/resolution.aspx recommends these tips on “making your New Year’s resolution stick.”
- Start small.
- Change one behavior at a time.
- Talk about it.
- Don’t beat yourself up.
- Ask for support.
The online Self magazine has even more suggestions: https://www.self.com/story/new-year-resolution-handbook.
Some even say, skip the formal process of adopting a New Year’s resolution altogether: https://www.rd.com/advice/quitting-new-years-resolutions/ or https://www.pocketmindfulness.com/why-you-shouldnt-set-new-years-resolution/ or https://www.lifehack.org/articles/featured/new-years-resolutions-dont-work-heres-why.html.
Here are additional links to “inspire” your own “pursuit of self-reinvention,” that is, if you decide you are willing to truly commit the time and energy for a “growth-spurring” exercise. My apologies for the multiple references to the term “seniors” below. I don’t know about you, but I don’t consider myself a senior until I hit a hundred years old!
The final bullet above is from Mike Blakeslee, our NAfME CEO/Executive Director. Even though most of us now have “less contact” with music students, his message is still timely and relevant. Many retired music teachers are still involved in supervising student teachers, conducting youth ensembles, performing in church or community groups, coaching sports, voice or instrumental sections, or teaching private lessons… so be an advocate and active supporter (leading by example) to help achieve diversity and inclusion in the profession… bringing quality music education for all!
Best wishes for a happy, healthy, prosperous, meaningful, and musical New Year!
© 2018 Paul K. Fox
Photo credits in order from Pixabay.com: “start-line” by mohamed_hassa, “hate” by cabrasjoan, “new-years-eve” by Gellinger, “idea” by geralt, and “doors” by qimono.