A few weeks ago, I had a wonderful walking holiday in Croatia with the Ramblers organisation.

There were 15 of us on the trip, our ages ranged from late 50s to 79, and everyone was fit and more than capable of dealing with the demands of the schedule.  

As you know, I’m always going on about how exercise is vital in mid to later life; and how it helps prevent high blood pressure, dementia, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and various other so called “ageing illnesses”.

So, it was great to be with individuals who have heeded the health messages and who are well and sparky and look years younger than they are.   

I was also very heartened by their attitudes to life, and how one phrase kept cropping up in conversation, which was: “I’m doing this while I can”. 

This is a good mantra for living, isn’t it?  It’s positive – but realistic.

I doubt if anyone who was on that holiday believes they’ll be embarking on such challenging walks when they’re 100, but they’re determined to carry on for as long as they can.  

They know, as we all do, that anyone’s life can change dramatically for the worse in a heartbeat, but they’re focused on doing what they want to do right now, just in case tomorrow alters everything. 

Are you doing the same? If you’re not, ask yourself if you want to become a person who is doing activities you like while you can.

Then, if the answer is “yes”, let’s look at how best you can fulfil those ambitions and fuel your resolve. 

It’s a good idea to begin by establishing what it is that would make your life more fun, more productive and more meaningful.   

Are there places in the UK or abroad that you long to revisit, or see for the first time?

Do you want to move house to be somewhere you can walk to shops, a cinema, a doctor’s surgery, or be nearer your family?

Do you want to master playing the guitar which has been languishing in your loft for years?

Do you want to convert a hobby – like making waistcoats – into a small business? Have you always wanted to learn ballroom dancing, or speak French?

The possibilities are endless.  

Next, ask yourself what’s stopping you. Perhaps, as for a friend of mine, there are practical difficulties. 

She lives in rural Derbyshire and has decided she’d like to attend an art class.

It’s something she’s always wanted to do but never had the time or the opportunity.

Unfortunately, though she identified a class she’d like to join, she doesn’t drive and discovered there is no reliable bus service to get her to the town where it’s held. 

Such hurdles can prove taxing, but often there’s a way out.

After some research, she found a different art class, which is slightly further away but on a train route, and luckily she lives within walking distance of her nearest station.

So, take a leaf out of her book and if at first something seems impossible, look at it from a different angle, and refuse to believe that you can’t find an alternative. 

Secondly, make sure that your language is giving your brain the right messages.

When pondering future plans, I urge you to think or say: “I’m going to do this” rather than “I’ll try to do this”. You might think there is little difference. But actually, the difference is  significant. 

As a therapist, I learned when working with patients that if they said they were going to do something, they were much more likely to report success at the next consultation than those patients who muttered, somewhat vaguely, that they might “try”. 

Trying is not the same as doing.  

Next, allocate some time to think and progress your goals. I realise that finding time can be a problem. But most of us can earmark an hour on a couple of days a week – and that should be enough to get going. Think of this as your Action Hour.

And do your best to schedule it when you are pretty sure you’ll be feeling energetic. 

I, for example, have learned that if I want to do something important, I need to do it in the mornings.

After lunch, I flag a bit. You might be quite different. But my guess is that you know your own body and mind very well and will be able to ensure that your Action Hour is happening while you’re at your best.   

Finally, don’t let yourself be put off by your age.

We all have potential. As C S Lewis once said: “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream”.

I imagine he was very much a person who determinedly did what he wanted for as long as he could. His quote certainly inspires me.

I hope it works for you too.