I want to have kinder and gentler resolutions this year…not the predictable lose 10 pounds or break 90 on the golf course. Sure, I’d like both of those but I got inspired to find a new path from some unlikely sources – Oprah, our increasing hate-filled world, my Jewish heritage, and a study on “superagers”. Oprah, the very visible face and body of Weight Watchers (and its heavyweight investor), is talking a lot about “intention”, i.e., what’s the aim behind the goal, as she continues to impress with her new slimmer self. Many of us can relate to setting a goal - exercising five days a week for example - only to fall off the wagon quickly. Oprah’s focus on intention reminds me to think about what the real motivation is in changing a behavior, e.g., to feel more alert and have more energy. It’s a subtle thing but I’m going to work hard to keep her mantra top of mind.
Many of us are worn down and depleted by the alarming rising in intolerance, discrimination, and violence worldwide. It can be a helpless feeling but I’ve strengthened my resolve to be kinder to myself and to others. Like the word “intention”, I’m thinking a lot more about “random acts of kindness” as the healthiest antidote to skyrocketing negativity, racism, and anti-Semitism. Which leads me back to my heritage and the growing importance of our shared code of Jewish ethics, e.g., kindness, strong morals, tikkun olam, i.e., repairing the world.
As I circle back to my intentions, I’m hoping to take a page from a recent NY Times story on how to become a “superager”. We know how important it is to stay active as we age but it turns out we need to do a lot more. Enjoying a “pleasant” pastime like Sudoku or a gentle 30-minute walk won’t cut it. The study says it’s good to feel some unpleasantness or discomfort along the way, i.e., no pain, no gain. Which means we need to take up a challenging activity like bridge, a new language, or a high-intensity workout regularly. We need to be more physically and mentally fit to keep our brains in top form…now more than ever.
Faced with some daunting challenges that we can’t control, I’m hopeful these kinder and gentler approaches will offer a way to not just survive…but thrive…in 2017.