The prevailing wisdom is that it doesn’t really matter what you’re doing, as long as you’re doing it regularly. But that’s not entirely true, is it. 🧐 It really DOES matter what you do…because consistently doing the WRONG activity isn’t going to get you to your ultimate goal.
So the first thing to figure out is: What is your ultimate goal? What, exactly, are you trying to accomplish in your life? Without a clear vision, you’re not going to be able to lay out the framework you need to follow. Whether you’ve spent much time thinking about it or not, you do have a goal in life. It may be as basic as “get through it” or as lofty as “change the world”…but you’ve got a goal. So you should probably figure out what it is.
(You might be wondering what this has to do with the ovearching topic BEYOND RETIREMENT…well, just read on…hopefully it will get clearer 😉 )
As you travel life’s highway, you’re obviously going to run into some bumps…carrying the metaphor along for a bit, there will be detours, maybe a breakdown or two where you need to find someone who can repair things for you…and there will be traffic, LOTS of traffic. Finding your way through the traffic and the detours is what life is all about. And having a plan for when you find yourself caught up in “life” will save you time and lower the inevitable stress level.
As you get closer to retirement, the need for a plan becomes vital. Without that plan as a guide, you’ll soon find yourself staring at a void. Where you once had hours filled with whatever work you did, and whatever people were involved in that work, you now have empty hours. This can be devastating to your self-worth, your self-confidence, and your overall well-being.
So figure out what retirement is going to look like…I’ve talked about this before…are you going to spend your whole day on the sofa with your feet up, watching TV? I hope not…your health and your mind will deteriorate quickly! There needs to be SOMETHING that gives you the push you need to get up and get moving each day. It could be a couple of hours of volunteering for a cause you feel strongly about, or learning a new skill you’ve always wanted to try, or picking up an old hobby that got dropped when life got busy. Whatever it is, you need to identify it and make a plan. If you don’t, you’ll start to find it more difficult to get out of bed on each consecutive day.
I’m not saying that as soon as you’ve retired, you have to start doing something else! You’ve just finished a big stage of your life; enjoy the break! Relax, put your feet up, savour the change that has happened. But remember that whatever you do consistently for a period of time will become habitual. So pay attention to what you’re doing…is it benefitting you or someone else? If it’s not, maybe consider altering it.
Once you figure out the direction you want your life to go, it’ll be easier to make a plan for how to get there. There are many ways to go about creating the plan, but one way is to sit down with a pen and paper and brainstorm ways to fulfill your goal. Give yourself 15-20 min for this. For example, if your goal is to travel the world, you would brainstorm ways to achieve that – like take up international house sitting, become a travel agent, get a freelance job writing for travel magazines, become a nomad…sell off everything and just travel full-time, become a flight attendant, etc. Don’t limit yourself to what is really possible…just write down all the things that come to mind.
Once you’ve got the list of ways to achieve your goal, assess each suggestion carefully: Is it possible (Y/N), is it feasible (Y/N), do you have the skills (Y/N), can you get them (Y/N). Three Y answers from those four questions will give you a starting point.
If you’ve already moved into the Beyond Retirement stage without doing the goal planning, it’s not too late! Spend some time now thinking about what your typical day looks like…and what you’d like it to look like. Can you picture yourself doing what you’re doing now, for the next 20+ years? If not, it’s time to change it up. 🤔
Bottom line: Figure out your goal in life and make a plan to achieve it.