At the start of a season, many people begin to consider how they’d like to change their life for the better. To really make changes that improve your quality of life, it can be helpful to set concrete goals. 

Why Goal Setting Is Important for Seniors

As we progress through life, we often have goals laid out for us. We are expected to reach certain milestones, hit benchmarks at work, and make progress in various areas of life. After retirement, seniors may start to feel a bit lost or aimless. Setting goals late in life can add back in structure, bringing comfort along with it.

Goal setting is an effective method for encouraging progress. The very act of setting a goal makes it more likely that we will achieve what we want—especially when that goal is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time bound. This method of setting goals is referred to as SMART.

Seniors can use SMART goals to make progress in many realms, including recreation and health. Some SMART goal examples for elderly people include…

  • By next month, I will add an extra quarter mile to my daily walk
  • By the end of the week, I will call three different exercise centers about available classes
  • I will practice sitting down and standing up five times a day for the next two weeks

Compared to more general goals like “I will get in shape” or “I will start walking more,” SMART goals are more motivating and more likely to help you stay on track.

As you reach goals, you can set new ones. It is important not to set your goals too high all at once—this can lead to burnout and disappointment. Many achievable goals are better than one lofty one!

Read on below for a few ideas on goals for older adults and seniors. 

Health Goals 

Health can be a stressor for many older adults. Whether you want to lessen symptoms or prevent future aches and pains, setting health goals can help you feel in control of your wellness as you age.

To keep track of goals, you may even consider using a goal setting chart for seniors.

Physical Health Goals

Have pain you’d like to address? Want to be able to walk farther without getting winded? You can set physical health goals that address whatever health concerns you may have. If you get stuck, consider consulting with your doctor the next time you see them for health goal ideas.

Some ideas include…

  • I will add five minutes to my daily walk each month
  • I will add a green vegetable to my dinner every night this week
  • I will stretch each night as I watch a thirty-minute TV show

Mental Health Goals

As we age, it is also important to tend to our mental health and memory. Below are a few ideas that may help you feel your best. Of course, tailor your goals to your personality. What makes you feel happiest and healthiest?

  • I will complete a crossword puzzle each day
  • I will sign up for a book club this month
  • I will take a weekly class at a nearby college

Fun Goals

Retirement comes with a lot more free time—sometimes more free time than you know what to do with! That free time can be used to invest in your hobbies and other activities that bring you joy.


Now is a great time to set goals around hobbies. This can mean finding ways to dig deeper into hobbies you already enjoy, or putting feelers out for new activities. For example…

  • I will read one book per week this spring
  • I will follow along with YouTube videos about watercolor painting

Social Goals

Keeping up with social activities is a great way to ensure a healthy level of well-being. Social goals might look like…

  • I will attend the community mixer at the end of this month
  • I will call three family members and invite them to visit
  • I will volunteer once a week at the local pet shelter

Learn About Other New Year Goals

Looking for inspiration for goals for seniors? 

Click here for more ideas on making the most of this season’s fresh start.