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New habits for the new year

It’s time to set a new goal, make a life plan and move forward with dementia.

The New Year always provides the incentive to “turn over a new leaf”. And while we know it’s often hard to keep our New Year’s resolutions, 2022 will be different for most Australians.

The last two years have thrown up so many barriers due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many people became more socially isolated and slipped into unhealthy habits. We are now reaching impressive vaccination rates in Australia, and, despite new variants and outbreaks, 2022 will be the year we learn to live with COVID in our community and get on with our best lives.

It’s time to set a new goal, make a life plan and move forward with dementia.

Tips on goal setting

  • Don’t make too many goals and resolutions! It is easier and more manageable to change one thing at a time, so try to focus on the goal that is most important to you.
  • Set goals that are realistic and achievable.
  • If you think dementia will get in the way of you achieving your goals, read Managing your symptoms to achieve what’s most important. Use the My Life Plan worksheet to help you identify barriers and work out strategies to overcome them.
  • Keep track of how you are achieving your goal. Ask others to help you by checking-in with you to see how you are going. You can also use technology to help keep track of and achieve your goals, such as the Strides: Goal & Habit Tracker App or Way of Life App which you can use on a mobile phone.
  • Try to keep going for at least three months, because it usually takes this long for a new behaviour to become a habit.
  • Join a group or find a buddy. For example, if you goal is improving your diet, consider joining a healthy cooking class. If your goal is exercising more, consider joining an exercise or balance class, or find an exercise buddy who wants to achieve the same goal.

You might find the goal setting and planning workbook produced by people with dementia in collaboration with Alzheimer’s UK useful.

Being healthier, improving diet and exercising more continue to be the most popular goals. Here are some articles from the People with Dementia section that may help with your goals for 2022.

Similar articles, on health and wellbeing specifically tailored for carers can be found in section 4 of the carer portal on the website.

Planning for the year ahead

Writing a life plan for 2022 can help you prioritise what is important to you, and what steps and strategies you need to get there.

Having a life plan helps you to stay in control and have purpose. It also helps the people who support you (family and friends, professionals) to understand what you want, so they can help you achieve your plan.

Read the Forward with Dementia article 5.1 Make a plan for this year and use the My Life Plan worksheet.

Remember, your life plan is flexible. As things change in your life, your plan might need to change.

Planning for the future

While you’re getting organised, you can also consider planning for the future. Here are some articles from the People with Dementia section that may help:

Similar articles, on making plans and decisions specifically tailored for carers can be found in section 5 of the carer portal on the website.

The team at Forward with Dementia wish you the very best for a happy New Year in 2022.
We hope you achieve the life goals most important to you.