Whether we call them resolutions, goals, or 2019 to do list-it’s about wanting to do new things in a new year. But change can be difficult. This saying summed it up for me this week- “if nothing changes, nothing changes.” So, if we want to accomplish something new in 2019, something must change, difficult or not.
Welcome to 2019! The onset of a new year causes many of us to make a fresh start in some way or another. New projects, attitudes and goals abound. As our family discussed 2019 goals recently, our daughter reminded us to be specific in order to achieve them. I love how our children can be our best teachers!
Often, we have a great idea or desire to change but get stuck because we don’t know how to start, measure our progress, stay the course or finish well. This and other reasons cause many who make resolutions to never realize their goals. It’s said many will give up on a New Year’s resolution by mid-February. That’s not very inspiring.
My daughter’s comment reminded me of an acronym (you know how I love this memory technique) about goals. They should be SMART! For goals to be achieved, should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time Bound. Let’s break down this great way to think about goals.
Specific-I have one goal that’s big and a bit of a stretch. I’d love to jump in, but because it’s so new to me, I’m not exactly sure how to make it specific and can’t measure if it’s not specific. Often big goals like this have a series of smaller goals and/or projects which need to occur along the way. In order to make it specific, I’ll need to make a series of smaller, mini-goals around the projects needed to achieve the larger goal.
For example, if a “better memory” is your goal-it can be made more specific by breaking it into parts like “I’ll remember new people’s names the next time I see them.” This smaller mini-goal may also need steps to implement such as identifying key memory techniques to use, being prepared to write things down, or practicing focused attention. Writing down all the steps will help dissect any big goal into small parts to make it more specific. It also will create a doable list of action items which will be easier to focus on and implement toward progress.
Measurable-In order to see if we are making progress, we need to be able to measure how well we’re doing. If trying to lose weight, stepping on the scale once a week is an easy way to measure progress. But what about something a bit more global like that “better memory”? Breaking it into remembering new names is specific, but how will it be measured? Be creative and address the actual goal. For this, it could be daily writing down the names of anyone new. Review them, use memory techniques and see how many you can recall. Make it measurable by taking a few moments each day and week to track your progress-you’ll be motivated to continue working hard as you see some progress!
Even when we make our goals specific and measurable, we are only beginning. We can still get sidetracked and lose our focus. Next week, we’ll discuss the ART of SMART Goals and the “ART” of how to stay on track.
Goals are often personal but many times a little accountability goes a long way toward progress. It helps us stay the course and encourage one another. A personal goal of mine is to encourage others in my life and that includes you! I hope you set some SMART goals and if you need a little accountability along the way, feel free to reach out to me, I’d love to encourage you!
I’m also excited about a training I’m taking by my friend Christa which begins next week. Join us and let’s keep each other accountable to our goals! Check out the details on the Move Forward Mastermind training here.
Let’s be SMART and get moving on our goals to make 2019 our most memorable year yet!
*Disclosure: If you purchase from links that I send, I may receive some kind of affiliate commission. I will only promote products that I personally use or recommend without hesitation. Thanks for your support.
The holidays bring their own certain kind of stress. For a person experiencing memory issues and those who love them, it can ramp up to unforeseen levels. This stress only increases memory problems and the correlating domino effect that creates. Caregivers feel it too, even more so than their loved ones at times.
Loving and caring for someone with memory problems can be draining, especially at the holidays, but there are ways to help. Here are a few tips to help those with memory loss at holidays or anytime:
- Manage Expectations. Don’t expect loved ones to remember every family story, holiday tradition or great grandchild’s name. It’s not that they don’t want to, or can’t remember some part of it, it’s that in that moment they literally can’t or it may take some additional time. Which leads us to…
- Be Patient! Older adults and especially those with memory issues need additional time to process, function, and remember. They may be able to recall that same memory, but they won’t if stressed or pressed to do so. Be patient with them and yourself in all things.
- Pick and Choose. Some traditions are great and always appreciated at holiday time. Others may create more stress than is needed or wanted this time of year and season of life. It’s okay to pick and choose the people, events, and timing to best suit your loved one’s needs and abilities.
- Redirection Helps More than Correction. If a loved one can’t remember, it’s helpful to redirect to another subject if the recall is causing stress. Correcting them or being impatient only creates more stress and anxiety for everyone. Eventually they may remember, but maybe instead we ask ourselves which is more important the memory or the person.
- Be Present. This is helpful for everyone. Those with memory issues often have good moments as well as bad. Being present in the good will allow all to enjoy that precious time (and create more positive memories for the caregiver and family in the future). Being present in the bad moments will allow all to feel valued and assist in being aware of any limitations or progression of symptoms.
Life with memory loss affects not only the person experiencing it, but all those who love and care for them. It’s not an easy road but still can be one full of memorable moments to be cherished. As a caregiver myself, I can testify to this truth. To that end, after a season of care giving and loss, I’ll be taking a brief break from the blog to fully be present with my loved ones this holiday season. I’ll be back in a few weeks with more memory wellness insights, tips and strategies.
Until then, I wish you all a blessed and very memorable holiday season full of love, hope, joy, and peace.
It happens earlier each year. The onslaught of Christmas shopping ads, music, and food begins in November. It’s even oozed into October and September. But let’s not get so excited for what’s next that we forget to remember thankfulness.
I can’t blame them. Unless you’re a retailer associated with food, Thanksgiving is not a very marketable holiday. It doesn’t involve much buying or selling (other than all that yummy food). No, Thanksgiving is and should be about a feeling, a sentiment, dare I say an attitude of thankfulness. Yet so often we miss this feeling in the the seasonal frantic, food, football, and yes, even family as we gather on Thanksgiving.
Thankful and grateful are often used interchangeably. But both depict an attitude, one that often gets overlooked. Yet it’s also one we can cultivate on a daily basis. I’ve completed gratitude journals and written daily notes of thankfulness-both wonderful exercises. But it was a choice to do this, just like our overall attitude is a choice.
Interestingly, many older adults who choose to have sunnier, thankful attitudes about life are often those who age well with better cognitive function. Could it be that their attitude helps them with their memory? Hmmm, seems this could be one more reason to choose a more thankful and positive attitude.
Maybe it’s because I host our Thanksgiving gathering, but the rush past thankfulness bothers me. In our haste to jump into the rest of the season, we miss the wonderful opportunity to share with those we care about how grateful we are for them, take stock of life and simply give thanks. Society has literally given us a day set apart from the hustle and bustle of the season, yet so many get caught up in Black Friday frenzy, focus on the food and forget thankfulness.
Instead, let’s choose to remember.
Remember the good, learn from the bad, and be thankful in and for it all. An attitude of thankfulness will serve us (and our memories) well, on Thanksgiving and all year long. But it’s a choice. Choosing a grateful attitude doesn’t dismiss what’s wrong or skip over hurt, anger or pain. It simply is a choice to be grateful for what we have and pause to honor it.
There’s plenty of time for the rest of the craziness, joy, and merriment of the holiday season. Take a few moments or the whole day this Thanksgiving. Let’s not jump ahead and forget, but pause and remember thankfulness.
Started planning yet? Thanksgiving lists have begun, invitations are out and I’m knee deep in recipe testing. Now that it’s November and our jack-o-lanterns have turned to mush, the holidays are officially upon us. That typically means more gatherings with friends, family, and new or old acquaintances. It also means having to remember so much more.
This can be a good or a not so good thing. It’s good to exercise our minds and memories as we meet and gather with new and old friends and family. We use different parts of our brain as we engage with others and it’s a way to exercise our brains we cannot do alone. On the other hand, as memory issues slowly or dramatically make their appearance, social gatherings tend to highlight the problem. Often as family and friends, we tend to make excuses for those we love and chalk up memory lapses to many things, least of all an official problem.
Now this isn’t if Great Aunt Nellie can’t remember every great niece and nephew. All of us have some trouble with names, and when pressed, it can be difficult to remember everyone’s vital information. But if Aunt Nellie seems to have a hard time remembering even the simplest things, especially her favorite things and people, it may be time to seek some professional help.
So often, memory loss occurs for years before anyone seeks help. We explain it away as stress, grief, or old age. All of these can contribute to episodic memory loss. It’s also difficult to point out to our loved ones that their memory doesn’t seem to be what it once was. But the longer we put off the conversation, the more damage is done. The sooner it’s addressed, the sooner treatments and strategies can be implemented to improve memory and quality of life.
The holidays are busy and paying attention to our elder loved ones can seem like one more thing to do. But one way to truly honor them and their importance in our lives is to really pay attention to their memory and overall wellness. A fantastic resource to review before the holidays is the Know the Ten Signs resource by the Alzheimer’s Association. It can provide some vital background information to have on hand to help anyone with memory challenges.
Socializing with those we care about is one of the best parts of the holiday season. Engaging with others stimulates all of our memories and brains in a healthy way. But if any troubling signs are noticed in our loved ones, let’s not hesitate to begin a discussion. Early detection can save precious moments and make them more meaningful and memorable.