Seniors forgo New Year's resolutions to focus on selfless long-term goals

It’s been almost two months since the start of the new year, and plenty of people have already either given up on their resolutions or forgotten about them completely. In fact, research from University of Scranton suggests that just 8 percent of people achieve their New Year's goals.

As you grow older, many look at things differently, which is why some residents at Baptist Retirement Community are not setting New Year’s resolutions for 2016, but are instead setting long-term goals and making lifestyle choices that give their lives a more meaningful purpose. Goals for residents Jerry Jefferson and Wanda Dews have moved beyond trying to accomplish something for themselves in a given year like losing weight, traveling, saving money or being more organized. They are focused on helping their families and making each day count.

“As you age, you begin to put more value on some things, and have less concern for others,” Jefferson said. “When we were younger, my husband and I wanted to travel, set ourselves up for retirement, raise our families and excel in our jobs. Now that I am older, I have a greater desire to be more spiritually connected with my faith. I am setting goals for myself now that I wasn’t setting in my 30s and 40s. Last year I decided I wanted to read more of the Bible, and read different variations of it. Now that I’ve developed a habit, a passion and a love for reading the Bible, I am working on my relationship with the Lord. I want to love Him more and use my talents to serve Him. I look at my children and hear about their resolutions and goals, all similar to mine at their age, and hope that they put more energy into spiritual goals.”

Jefferson said material things don’t really matter as much anymore. For her, it’s the people in her life that make it worthwhile, not the possessions, prosperity or her looks. Jefferson has made a lifestyle choice, not a resolution for just one year. Now, she and other, like-minded residents meet on Fridays for a Bible study so they can learn and grow together spiritually.

Fellow resident Wanda Dews has a goal to spend time with her husband while adjusting to the progression of his Alzheimer’s diagnosis. She is working hard to plan activities they can still do together, and her goal is to make each and every day count.

“Over time, your goals become deeper and more focused on love, not earthly things. So my focus for this year is to take care of my husband and shower him with love as we learn to live with the disease,” Dews said. “We have a lot of fun together, so I try to do things with him that we used to do all the time. It’s harder, but still worth a try. When you get older, your goals become less focused on yourself and more focused on the ones you love. My daily goals of having fun with and being here for my husband are all a part of the vows I made when we got married. I promised to take care and love him through sickness and health.”

“We have so much to learn from residents who have a wealth of wisdom, a lifetime of experiences and an understanding of where they are and what they want out of life,” said Quinda Feil-Duncan, executive director of Baptist Retirement Community. “I was not surprised when I found out they had not made any resolutions, as they are two very strong women who are wise, reflective and spiritual. Their long-term goals and their perspective on making lifestyle choices that make each day count inspire us all. It is rewarding to be able to see things from their point of view, and it helps me reflect differently on my own life.”

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