The start of another year and a new decade is a great opportunity to survey boomers to see what's on their list of resolutions — and what's not. We had a lot of fun in the process and, naturally, the generation that has always been full of surprises did not let us down.
Our first aha moment was learning that a significant number of boomers did not have any resolutions because they had resolved to do away with them. We talk often about how aging leads to an accumulation of experience and wisdom, and in this case, it would seem that too many years of good intentions that never materialized have had an impact. For these boomers, the act of setting resolutions that never happen has become a trivial folly that's best done away with.
For those boomers who are still motivated by resolutions, here's what's on their list:
Practical Wellness: For as long as people have been making resolutions, exercising more and losing weight have traditionally topped the list. While boomers continue to feel that these are worthy ambitions, they're taking a more practical approach to wellness. Instead of committing to specific targets, such as losing 10 pounds or exercising 30 more minutes each day, they're embracing more viable goals, such as eating in the healthy ways that actually work for them or exercising in reasonable ways that fit their daily routine. Many told us that once they had discovered a personal wellness routine that worked for them, there was no longer a need to resolve to do something that was already being done successfully.
There are some very real implications here for brands that typically market new diet programs or workout regimens in the aperture of the New Year. Boomers don't need a chronological prompt; instead, they're open to practical wellness advice on a year-round basis.
Purging Versus Splurging: After years of materialistic living and the accumulation of belongings, boomers are finding joy in simplifying and streamlining. They're noting that the younger generations are valuing experiences over tangible possessions and they're starting to question whether they still have a sentimental attachment to a whole bunch of stuff that's just taking up space. Near the top of their resolution list is the intention to get rid of their junk. Purging is the new splurging. At this age, getting rid of things is the most fun you can have without spending money.
More Naps: The same boomers who say that they would rather be tired than retired are discovering the restorative value of a few minutes of afternoon shut-eye. Although they once criticized older nap-devoted folks for being idle, now that they're the ones of age, they've redefined nap time as productivity time — i.e., a few minutes of well-timed rest buys you hours of energy throughout the rest of the day. If that helps you feel better for more of your day, then go for it. There's a good reason it's being said that nap time is the new happy hour.
Being More Involved: While aging and retirement used to be a mostly sedentary stage of life, many boomers are now embracing an energetic orientation to life. It's widely held that the more active you are (even if that requires a nap), the more likely it is that you will lead a better life longer. Boomers are resolving to get more actively involved in the world around them, and that's manifesting itself physically, socially, and intellectually. This isn't simply about being active, it's about being involved in activities that allow you to take action on your life and that of others.
Less Connectivity: Boomers love the convenience of technology, but they're also telling us that they're fatigued by constantly being connected. As such, more than a few of the boomers we spoke to have resolved to spend less time being dependent on their mobile phone to help free up more solitude space. As boomers' quantity of life remaining decreases, they're placing a corresponding increase on quality of life to help get more better days. They want to unplug more often so they can stay fully wired to the precious moments at hand.
Going Someplace They've Never Been: As much as boomers claim they're not living their lives with a bucket list mentality, they do seem much more intentioned about pursuing the experiences that they've given lip service to all these years. It's widely accepted that boomers have the time, money, and interest to travel, but now there's the new criteria of visiting a virgin destination. If I'm a boomer, I'm surely on the lookout for a travel operator that's promising to get me someplace I've never been to, to do something I've never done. Nothing makes you feel younger than still having a lot of firsts in your life.
Reducing Box Waste: Though we didn't hear this from most boomers, and it feels random on this list, it's interesting enough to pass along. There's no disagreement that the ease of Internet shopping and home delivery is fantastic, but it's coming at the expense of increased cardboard waste in our lives. As the boxes pile up, it's easy for boomers to remember how we managed to survive just fine before we had Internet-enabled convenience. This has at least a few of them rethinking their shopping choices while eagerly awaiting Amazon's promise of more "naked shipping." It may take a drone, but it may just be worth it.
After years of realizing that most of their New Year's resolutions didn't even last until February, many boomers are wising up and opting for a more successful approach to positive change. With age, you come to appreciate that change is a good thing because it keeps life interesting and dynamic. If change has so much to offer, then it sure seems foolish to limit your commitment to a periodic and arbitrary date on the calendar. Instead, boomers seem to be embracing a spirit of continuous change and improvement with the goal of getting to a better life sooner so it can last longer.
So, in the end, maybe the best resolution is to resolve to not have resolutions. Who said age isn't liberating?
Photo courtesy of BoomAgers.
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