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01.05.23 | Sage Advice

Goal-Making: How to Set Yourself Up for the New Year

Say this affirmation out loud:


“I will live within my purpose and make smarter decisions that lead to my own vibrant living!


Setting goals doesn’t have to be rocket science, just well thought out. They should be designed to be SMART. Here are 5 ways toward smarter goal making that will set you up for the rest of the year:












Specific Goal Making

First, any goal you have should be clear and defined. You need them to show you the way. Make it as easy as you can by defining precisely where you want to end up.


Measurable Goal Making

In addition to your specific goal, try using precise statements that measure your success. Instead of saying, “Maybe I’ll go to the gym sometime this month,” say to yourself, “I will go to the gym starting today!”  Without a way to measure your success you miss out on the celebration that comes with having achieved something.


Attainable Goal Making

Above all, it is crucial that you set goals that are attainable with reasonable resistance. By setting realistic yet challenging ones, you hit the balance needed for your own personal development.


Relevant Goal Making

Now for a little perspective, where do you want to be 3 months, 5 months from now? Goals should be relevant to the direction you want your life and career to take. Keeping this in mind, you develop the focus needed to get ahead of the curve and stay motivated!


Timed Goal Making

One word, deadline. Despite whether you love them or hate them, deadlines work to increase sense of urgency and achievement will only come that much quicker when you set one in stone. 


In the end, by de-mystifying goal setting it no longer feels like rocket science. And you begin to make smarter and more informed decisions about your life and wellbeing.


Meditating on New Years Resolutions
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05.12.22 | Uncategorized

Moderation is Key to a Healthier Life

Moderation is key. We’re sure you’ve heard that phrase at least a couple of times throughout your life. And although it may be bothersome at the moment, some truth exists behind the famous saying. Finding the middle ground between excess and frugality is difficult, but once found, living in moderation welcomes a healthy balance into life.  

The exercise of moderation looks different for everyone. One person may practice moderation within their life completely differently than someone else. It’s the way that you perceive moderation that is most important. 

Moderation is often immediately associated with following strict diets, losing weight, etc., but it involves much more than what many believe. The key to moderation is learning from your experience and applying that knowledge to your lifestyle. Sure, changing your diet to plant-based foods and being active daily is outstanding for your health and wellbeing, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re learning how to live in moderation on your own. 

In order to live a vibrant life, including those aspects of healthy living, is essential, but doing so with moderation in mind, so deprivation doesn’t occur, is critical. Just because you’re living a healthier lifestyle does not mean that you have to cut aspects of your life that might not traditionally be seen as ‘healthy’. Have a cookie and drink wine, but do so in moderation. 

Staying true to yourself and keeping mental health in mind is imperative when practicing moderation. Moderation is key, but not necessarily in the traditional way it’s viewed. Address your bad habits, uphold your good ones, and find the perfect balance between the two to be a better and healthier you!

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04.07.22 | Uncategorized

The Importance of Knowing Your Family History

For many, digging into family histories may sound like a wholly worthwhile experience, while others may find it too time-consuming and extensive of a process – a common misconception. However, it’s more important than ever for all of us to learn, record and preserve the rich history connected to each of our lineages for our well-being and the well-being of future generations.

Our family histories are more than just birthdates and family tree charts; they’re full of rich information that helps each of us gain a stronger understanding of who we are. The information tied to family history has the ability to empower identities and build self-worth, especially for those who might not currently have access to information tied to their family’s past. 

As we collaborate with family, community members and other resources that may help us discover our family history, we not only build connections with people in the present but also from the past and into the future. 

Along with empowering identities, family history knowledge can have dramatic effects on your health and others in your family. Have you ever had a blank mind when the doctor asks if certain health conditions run in your family? Taking the time to reach out to family, and learn more about their medical history, is the best way to avoid this and discover what you might be at risk for. Knowing this history can help you make informed choices concerning your health to live a more vibrant life

There are countless resources online and in-person that you should take advantage of when starting your genealogical journey. The first resources everyone should look to are the ones you might already have, like family trees, scrapbooks and other family history basics. If you don’t have any yourself, connect with distant relatives to gather materials that you believe would be helpful to you. 

Websites like FamilySearch.org are perfect for those of us who want to dive even deeper into their identity and background, and it’s free to use. Another way to stay involved online is by joining the family history conversation online. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and blogs are perfect for making connections and expanding your resources through a network of family historians. 

Whether you already have a great deal of knowledge related to your family history or you’re new to the ancestry trend, having access to genealogy can change your life. Try taking an hour out of the day to poke around and see what you can discover for yourself.

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02.17.22 | Uncategorized

How to Manage Your Health With Mobile Technology

Today, thanks to the continued advancement of technology, it’s easier than ever to take care of yourself and regulate your wellbeing. Because of their various affordances, from the ease of a phone, tablet or computer, anyone can manage their health and live vibrantly. Here are a handful of the countless ways you can take advantage of your device to take charge of your health: 

Improve Your Sleep

Managing our sleep is often something we look over when we think of our health, but it can be one of the most important things to focus on if you’re looking to improve your wellbeing. Luckily, you can find a myriad of helpful tools to help measure, track and evaluate how you sleep throughout the night from almost any mobile device. These amazing resources can help you take control of your nighttime habits – good and bad – and increase awareness around what is best for your routine. 

Stay on Schedule

One of the most difficult aspects of creating a plan to champion a healthy lifestyle can be staying motivated and sticking to a schedule, but there are plenty of ways to help with this! Calendars and applications that help set reminders are great ways to prompt you to be consistent with things like taking medication or planning a time to exercise. 

Most devices also have access to timers which is great for those of us who have time management issues. Timers can also be used to manage how long an exercise or walk around the block is or for other actions like brushing teeth and meditating.  

Track Your Progress

Making decisions to eat better and exercise more are critical steps to living a vibrant life, but it’s almost just as important to record your progress. Tracking your progress is a great way to see how close you are reaching your goals and, there are a plethora of resources you can find on your device to document your growth. 

Some applications help track things like distance and the number of steps you take throughout the day, while others simply act as a home for your goals. These resources act as a powerful way to continue to stay accountable and informed about your actions.

Eat Better

Other than having access to the endless resources that anyone can find on the web, many tools exist to assist and inspire us to eat better. Whether you want to find more tasty plant-based recipes or simply learn how much water you should be drinking in a day, countless applications will be sure to fill a need on your health journey. Some applications, like Fooducate, have the technology to help decipher the complicated language on food labels.

Whether you are looking to find a tool to help you manage your sleep schedule or track your fitness progress, there are an endless amount of resources and tools you can utilize from your phone, tablet or computer.

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10.12.21 | Uncategorized

Benefits of Owning a Pet

Living a vibrant life includes everything from engaging in activities that reduce stress to spending time with friends and family. One effective way to encourage vibrant living and invite joy into your life is by adopting a pet. 

The bond between humans and animals is mutually beneficial and dynamic; while humans provide shelter, food, love and much more to pets, they give back to us in so many ways. Pets offer the kind of companionship that many older adults are looking for, which helps offset feelings of loneliness and other negative emotions.

Research published by Harvard Health found that pet ownership prompts people to live a more active lifestyle and even improves their social skills. Sometimes, it can be hard to find the physical or mental motivation to leave the couch or your house. That’s where dogs and other animals that require outdoor time come in — they keep you active and can lead you to discovering new interests, people and places in your community. The responsibility and routines that come with pets can be very advantageous to vibrant living, especially for older adults.

Pets can also alleviate mental health issues such as depression and anxiety by offering valuable emotional support. A study published by the National Library of Medicine found that exposure to pets dramatically decreased participants’ blood pressure and heart rate, along with other therapeutic benefits such as stress reduction.

This October during Adopt a Shelter Dog Month, consider welcoming a four legged companion into your life. Learn more about pet adoption and animal care from Chicago’s Anti-Cruelty Society and PAWS Chicago.

A cat and dog cuddle in grass.
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09.14.21 | Uncategorized

What it means to be a disruptor: A Conversation with Donna Gaines

Oftentimes, we describe ourselves at Sage Collective as disruptors in our field, but we’ve seldom expanded on exactly what we mean by this. In the newest installment of our Interview with an Expert series, we talk to Sage Collective’s President, Donna Gaines, about what being a disruptor means to her and how you can be the voice for change in your everyday life.

You’ve described Sage Collective as a disruptor many times. What does that mean to you? 

In simple terms, something that is disruptive usually signifies a change or shift within an environment. Disruptors are the people who will come into an existing market, point out what is no longer working, and decide to alter and revise the space. As a disruptor in the older adult community, Sage Collective strives to change not only how our society views older adults, but how older adults perceive themselves, largely due to stereotypes associated with aging. We know that we must challenge the status quo and those systems that no longer optimally serve this population. 

Sage Collective focuses on bringing innovative ideas and strategies through our Social Innovation Lab so that we can produce measurable, scalable and sustainable solutions. In that regard, we operate as an “action tank” as opposed to a traditional think tank. We want to be at the forefront of change and we invite other organizations dedicated to advancing the interests of older adults to join us in this movement. 

With your extensive background and Certification in Change Management, you have a lot of expertise in making change happen. Can you break down what it takes to create change? 

That’s not a simple question to answer, because creating change is a process, and there are many factors to consider.  However, it’s important to be clear on your goals and create an environment where change can occur.  Presently, Sage Collective is in an interesting position for change. Not only are we experiencing internal change as we continue to expand our organization’s mission and programming, but we’ve also determined that we will pursue external change in the aging community.  In our role as disruptors, for example, we will continue to advocate for policies and practices that improve the quality of life for older adults. 

Creating change doesn’t always have to be a massive effort; it can be incremental, small, and continuously built over time. We’re focused on building a framework and foundation for change and it is our hope that our work will be replicated so that it can have an even greater impact. 

Is change a radical thing? 

Since change is often perceived as something that happens to someone, it is frequently met with trepidation or resistance. That can certainly make change feel “radical”, particularly for individuals who are uncomfortable with change of any kind, no matter the situation.  

When reflecting on my personal views of change, I often think of the Tony Robbins’ quote, “change is inevitable, but progress is optional.” I prefer to view change as a grand opportunity to experience something new and different as opposed to something that’s going to negatively impact me for the rest of my life.  Radical changes can be exciting!

Can people become disruptors in their daily lives? If so, how?

Being a disruptor doesn’t mean that you have to be actively engaged in a large organized effort.  You can make big changes happen in your life or in your community in simple, meaningful ways!  For example, you can mentor or tutor a child after school or get together with your neighbors to plant a community garden so that families can have access to fresh produce. 

The fact is, anyone can be a disruptor if they believe change is possible, and at Sage Collective, there is no doubt that we are creating a movement that will facilitate the disruption of outdated ideas, attitudes, and conversations about older adults and how we will live – and thrive.  It’s time.

A profile of Sage Collective's President, Donna Gaines
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07.15.21 | Uncategorized

Radical ways to repair harm: restorative vs. transformative justice

The last year and a half marked a breaking point in the status quo. The combined stresses of a global pandemic, as well as increased national awareness of police brutality and racial injustice in America, made one thing clear: we need to radically reimagine our communal approach to safety and care.

As we collectively look to create a future where all people feel safe, longtime organizers and activists are pushing for two solutions: a turn towards restorative justice or transformative justice. These human-centric methods for addressing harm dispel the idea that people are disposable beings, or that punishment should be carceral. Learn more about the concepts, and what makes them different from one another, below:

Restorative Justice

Restorative justice acknowledges that when crime occurs, it causes harm to those that are involved. Rather than focusing solely on punishing the perpetrator of the crime, restorative justice is concerned with addressing the harm caused and the impact of that harm.

This is addressed by facilitating dialogue between all parties involved. Ideally, a conversation will be collectively held by all parties, including: the person who has caused the harm, the person who has been directly harmed, and the community where the harm occurs.

During this conversation, the person who has caused the harm should take accountability for their actions and make amends. The person who has been directly harmed may outline what they need in order to heal.

The community is an integral part of this process as well, because as the process of restorative justice seeks to route a path towards forgiveness and healing, its end goal is ultimately to reintegrate the person who has caused harm back into society, where they will have a second chance.

Transformative justice

In an article from Novel Hand examining the difference between restorative and transformative justice, and how transformative justice digs one step deeper, writing:

“…restorative justice attempts to restore to the condition before the harm took place. However, usually, that original condition is itself one that has a number of injustices built into it. Transformative justice aims to dig deeper: how can we also address the root causes of injustice and move toward an even stronger community?”

Essentially, restorative justice acknowledges the failings of our current carceral state, where the prison industrial complex puts people away for crime in a way that feels disposable rather than healing. But furthermore, transformative justice takes its critique of current systems further and acknowledges the failings of our current system to also address racism, sexism, ableism, and classism – and how these conditions contribute to where crime occurs, from whom it occurs, and how treatment/punishment differs across the spectrum.

Peace and Conflict scholar Anthony Nocella says on this subject: “Transformative justice…is about looking for the good within others while also being aware of complex systems of domination.”

This cursory overview of restorative and transformative justice is just the tip of what’s been said and what there is to learn about radically reimagining the ways we repair harm in our society. To learn more, we recommend reading the full article by Novel Hand and conducting your own research from there!


Illustration of outstretched hands
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03.16.21 | Uncategorized

Our Guide to Spring Cleaning

With spring just around the corner, it’s time to talk about that dreaded annual task: spring cleaning. Luckily, spring cleaning doesn’t have to be something you dread. With the right planning and strategy — and the right people to help lend a hand and brighten the task — spring cleaning can be a breeze. To get you started on the right path, we present: Sage Collective’s guide to spring cleaning.

Partner Up and Plan

Spring cleaning is a much easier — and much more fun — task when you have someone else to do it with you. Whether it’s a neighbor, friend or family member, invite someone over to take on the job with you. Start off by boiling a fresh kettle of tea and putting on a favorite record to set the mood. Together, work to create a checklist of everything that has to be done and to dole out responsibilities accordingly. That way, you can tackle the challenge together, and maybe even sing along as you go.

Choosing the Right Cleaning Supplies

First and foremost, you should always consider your safety when going about cleaning the house. That’s why choosing the right cleaning supplies is essential to getting the job done right, and done without incident. Things like long-handled brooms and stand-up dust pans ensure that you won’t have to constantly bend down when sweeping. Meanwhile, when it comes to those hard-to-reach places, an extendable duster will help make getting to every nook and cranny much easier!

Not Just Cleaning — But Decluttering

In addition to getting your home spotless, sparkling and shining, spring cleaning is the perfect time to tackle decluttering. From cleaning out the medicine cabinet to remove clutter and the safety hazards posed by expired medications, to cleaning out the pantry and refrigerator of any expired or unused food objects, to tackling those piled up stacks of bills, you’ll thank yourself later! These things stack up throughout the year, but by tackling declutter each spring, you can ensure a home where what you want and need most is easy to store and find later. 

Thinking About Safety

Spring cleaning is also a great time to check-in on the safety initiatives you have in place in your home. Plan to check smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms to make sure their batteries are still good and everything is in working order. And did you know fire extinguishers have an expiration date? Be sure to add checking those to the list! Because checking these things often requires climbing a ladder, consider enlisting a younger neighbor, caregiver or loved one to traverse the ladder for you in order to avoid fall risks. 

Other safety considerations to add to your spring cleaning checklist: check in on, or put together, a simple emergency kit. This can include first-aid kits, flashlights with spare batteries, and an easily-accessible list of numbers to call in case of an emergency. 

With these tips in mind, and with the right helping hands, spring cleaning might even become something you look forward to each year! 

A clear plastic spray bottle filled with yellow fluid. Lemons sit on the countertop next to the bottle
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