Did you know that there are over half a million people over the age of 100 in the world? And, that number is expected to be eight times that by 2050. While no one can know for sure if they will become a centenarian, it’s becoming more and more likely.
I recommend that people set a clear intention to live a long, happy life, even up to 120 years. Scientists once said that our maximum lifespan is 120 years and now new research suggests that humans could live up to 150 years.
One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned about longevity is to decide to live deliberately and with purpose as we get older. Remember the letters D-E-C-I-D-E to keep you on track for a very long and happy life:
- Dare to live longer.
First, believe you can live a long, healthy life. If you assume you can’t live past 75 or 80, you won’t have the right attitude as you age, no matter what age you live to be. Instead, assume that you still have a great future ahead of you with lots of time to fulfill your dreams and to grow as a person. That way, you will keep a youthful, positive attitude throughout later life.
- Exercise regularly.
No matter what, you need to keep your body moving. Unfortunately, we often slow down and move less as we age, which causes us to feel even worse. As a teacher of energy-based practices, I know that chi energy circulation is the key to feeling youthful and energetic, and energy cannot circulate unless you exercise. This does not mean you have to do strenuous, highly athletic activities, though. Simply stretching often and going for daily walks is enough to make a big difference in how you feel.
- Complete, instead of compete.
While you should always make big dreams for yourself, your goals should not necessarily be about gaining status in the world, as they might have been when you were younger. Instead, think about what will fulfill you as a human being. What can you do in the world that will leave you feeling like you are making a difference in people’s lives? What can you do to make yourself feel truly fulfilled and satisfied with your life?
- Inspire yourself and others.
How you relate to other people will be very important for your older years. Relationships make the difference between being a true elder—a person younger people can look up to for wisdom and guidance—and just another older person watching their last days pass by. If you find some way to interact with and serve others with positivity, you will find that every day is filled with meaning and significance.
- Dream for a better tomorrow.
If you plan to live a long life, you will have a sense that the future matters, both for yourself and for future generations. As you plan what to do during your remaining years, think about what kind of world you would like to leave as a legacy. In the years that remain after retirement, you may be freer than ever to contribute something important toward a better world.
- Engage in your community.
As you plan your life for your later years, think about how you plan to interact with others around you. Older people who are active within their communities are much healthier mentally and physically. So, make sure you plan to strengthen your friendships and make sure to get out and interact with others on a regular basis.
Whether you live to be the age of your goal or not, if you have the mindset that you will, you can create a very positive image of what your later years can be for you. You can actively DECIDE to live a life of meaning and purpose, growing as a person and enjoying life right to the very end.
Ilchi Lee is the author of I’ve Decided to Live 120 Years: The Ancient Secret to Longevity, Vitality, and Life Transformation. Purchase it on Amazon here.