Unless you’ve spent the last year circling the globe (or disc, for you Flat Earthers) in an enclosed space capsule (please save me a spot), you may have noticed we’re heading into a new decade.
Yup, another 10 years gone. Now we get to hear, “I can’t believe how fast time flies!” – only 10x more annoying.
I read a recent blog where the writer suggested ending the year by reflecting back on your life a decade ago to see “how far you’ve come!”
It was meant to spark motivation and good feelings.
A quick computer search of my history from 10 years ago sent me back to bed, pulling a comforter over my head, wondering how hard it would be to create a working time machine without ending up in a volcano.
Because seriously. Where DID the years go??
Plus, I could not find anything from 10 years ago, which I believe was the paleolithic era.
But this much I know: A lot has changed.
In 2010 I was a mere child of 50, for one. From the precipice of 61 (next month), 50 looks younger than ever to me.
Which brings me to my point.
A recent article in the New York Times talked about how merely feeling younger than your chronological age invoked all kinds of positive health benefits.
Younger-feeling people were usually healthier and more psychologically resilient than those who felt older.
So not only is “50 the new 40,” but adopting that outlook on its own may be enough to physiologically BE closer to 40 physiologically.
People who feel younger than their chronological age also had thicker brain matter (a good thing) and less age-related decline.
On an anecdotal level, I’ve witnessed huge differences in attitude and mindset in my years of working with women over 50.
Maybe you’ve seen this, too: Cranky people tend to look older than upbeat, optimistic people.
I’m not denying how much our bodies change — I’ve personally experienced health issues this year beyond my control.
From nosebleeds to bizarre finger bruises, dental problems, and weird eye issues, I could not control any of it.
And not everything can be resolved by doing more push-ups, either, I’ve discovered.
But the way you see yourself and your ability to adapt, change and carry on as best you can determines whether you’ll be miserable and bitter – or at peace — even happy.
Focusing on only the bad stuff is destined to put you in a less-than-pleasant mood.
The worst part?
When the main subject of every conversation is about the latest ache, pain, or unusual bowel movement, no one wants to hang out with you. So now you can add “loneliness” to your “why aging sucks” list.
Trust me, I’m just as tempted to do the same some days.
The good news is you can shift your attention and focus at any time and make yourself and the world a happier place.
So, here’s how to shift your mindset in 2020 to not only be happier, but feel younger and be healthier, smarter, and years younger than your chronological age.
YA — no counting calories! Just gripes. Make a note of how often you complain about anything: the weather, traffic, your neighbor’s barking dog, being on hold, standing in line, etc.
You may be unpleasantly surprised at how often you make negative comments throughout the day.
Then practice catching yourself and flipping the complaint to something positive.
For example, “I hate this rain!” can be changed to, “This humidity is great for plumping up my skin.”
Every time you think of something you can’t do that used to be easy (like walking in 4-inch heels, hello?), stop and think of what you CAN do.
So if you can’t do lunges anymore because your knee tells you you can’t, substitute bridges or modified squats.
Pretend lunges don’t even exist. You won’t miss them, I assure you.
If I had a dollar for everyone who wrote to me complaining they can’t lose “those last 5 lbs” I’d be writing this from my yacht moored next to my private island.
Such is not the case.
I know, it’s frustrating. But if you’ve been trying to lose those same pounds since 2010, it’s time to buy some Spanx and let it go.
NO ONE on their deathbed ever said, “If I have one regret in this lifetime, it’s not losing those 5 lbs.”
This may sound odd coming from a fitness person, but I’ve also beat myself up for years with an eating disorder.
I’ve spent WAY too much time worrying about pounds that in no way made me a better or worse person.
I have other, more important things to do.
And so do you.
I’m not saying give up, just don’t let those few pounds keep you from feeling good about yourself and enjoying life.
The solution: Do all the right things: avoid junk food and focus on unprocessed foods, weight train and do cardio, be consistent with all of it and see where you land.
The end result of making all the right choices is your happy weight. It may be a few pounds more than your self-imposed “ideal” weight, but it’ll be easy to maintain.
Now go enjoy life.
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You got this!
Your Ageless Body Coach,
Linda Melone is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, certified trainer and award-winning health and fitness writer. She specializes in helping women over 50 get in shape and lose weight.