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  • Writer's pictureDrDavanaPilczuk

Keep long-term future in mind

Holy smokes. Another year gone and tomorrow starts a new one.

Before you decide on your resolutions that will make you happier, healthier and richer, take some advice from the people who have already been in your shoes: the grandparents. Our attempts to make ourselves better may possibly fall short simply because we have our eyes on the wrong prize. So before you decide that this is the year you’re going to get that promotion or get your beach body back, listen to some advice that might open your eyes.

I spoke with several retirees regarding their lives and asked if they had the chance to do things over, what would they do? Shockingly, get richer and look sexy didn’t make it into their top 10. Here are the ones that did:

Play with your kids

There was an overwhelming number of regrets that the now retired grandparents focused too much on their jobs, housework and everything in between.

“I wish I had spent more time playing dolls and just sitting with my daughter when she was a little girl. I was always working and cleaning the house, that once that window passed, I realized I hadn’t made the most of it,” said one grandmother. Childhood goes by fast and most children start to pull away from mom and dad around the age of 12. School and peers become their main focus, so the time to play is only available for a blink of an eye.

Leave that awful job

“Had I known they were going to work me to the bone year after year, I would have left. I never thought I could do something else, so I stayed out of fear of losing money and a stable job,” stated one regretful grandmother. Toxic or hard jobs pull more than just our energy from us. They affect our families, our finances and self-worth.

Maybe this is the year you plan your exit strategy and find that career that will satisfy you versus drain you. It’s always better to find a job when you have a job, and it can easily take up to a year to get your resume ready, interview, and check out other options. Start slow, but switching jobs might be the very best thing you can do for you. Plus if you’re wanting to lose weight, know that stress increases weight gain, so dropping that bad job might also help you drop a pants size or two!

Save up sooner

One of the top resolutions each year is to travel more or to do something lavish, for fun. However, an overwhelming majority of retirees are faced with the hard truth that they didn’t save enough for when their working years ended. Although you definitely need fun time and must make a point of doing things that bring you joy, consider that your choices all come with a cost. When you get older, you may not be so happy that you went on all those cruises.

End a bad relationship

More often than not, we tend to stay in marriages and relationship way past their expiration date. “I stayed in my marriage for the kids, but now, looking back, I wish I had had the courage to leave sooner,” said one grandfather.

Let’s face it. Leaving bad relationships, like leaving bad jobs, is such a hard decision to make. However, who we marry is easily the most influential decision on our happiness and our health. If leaving feels scary, start this year to build a stronger support network. Read books or see a therapist; either way, make a step to fix it or move on.

Take today to reflect on your life and, before jumping into the same resolutions you made last year and didn’t keep, talk to your parents and listen to their wisdom. Remember, life is short. Your kids are only little for so long, then it’s gone. Money becomes more important as we age and our health often gets worse, which means money will be needed for medical care.

Resolve to be the best you, but remember: there’s the today you and there’s the tomorrow you. Live for today, but do it in a way that makes your future life better. Now go call mom and dad and wish them a Happy New Year!

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