By Beth Dow, Senior Living Columnist

Happy February.

The month of February has a lot of great holidays in it. Valentine’s Day – the holiday of love. It also has President’s Day, which often means a day of no school and no work. It has Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent which marks 40 days of fasting in preparation of Easter. It has it all, including my favorite – Groundhog Day!

Now Groundhog Day is my favorite for two reasons: No. 1, it is my birthday. And as someone once said, “I don’t look at it as growing old. I think of it as ripening.” And I, like many of you, still have a lot of ripening to do. The No. 2 reason is because Groundhog Day is the mulligan of all days. It is the “do over” day. If you didn’t get something right, you can have a redo.

According to statistics of the 40-45 percent of American adults who make an annual New Year’s resolution, only 64 percent of those maintain their resolutions after the first month. So, for the 36 percent who have fallen by the wayside, or for those who didn’t make a resolution, February is Your month!

The top 3 resolutions – by a long shot – are: weight loss, starting an 
exercise program and stop smoking. But if you listed all three on your list, you are almost destined to fail.

Research has shown that the more items on your list, the more likely you are to fail at all of them. So, this year if you want to get healthier – and you should all want to get healthier – pick something. Pick one thing that will help you be healthier this time next year.

And within that resolution keep it simple, obtainable and measurable, instead of “I’m going to lose weight.” Resolve that for 30 days you will not eat any potato chips, ice cream or candy. Take that small step, accomplish it, and then for the next 30 days pick something else that you can eliminate. I have found that the best way to lose weight is a simple calorie counter. You can download one, free, on your phone. You just put in what you are eating, and the app tells you how many calories it contains and – based on your weight (where you want to be), height and age – how many calories you can have in a day. It is a great way of tracking calories and losing weight.

If you want to add an exercise program to your day, don’t start with an extreme fitness body building routine. Decide that you will walk to your mail box and instead of driving to it just down your driveway. Decide that for the month of February you will take the stairs or take a 30-minute walk three times a week. If you make your resolution singular, short-timed and obtainable, you are much more likely to obtain it.

Resolutions are not just for January. Resolve this year – every month this year – to end 2018 healthier than you began it and then plot how to do just that. Come on, you can do it!  Ripen this year. Like a fine wine, we can get better with time.

For more help on how to begin an active lifestyle as a senior, contact Beth at justaskbeth@gmail.com.