Not having a good plan for what’s next is not the way to go. When I left work and retired, I thought that I’d be instantly happier but unfortunately that didn’t happen. What was missing for me was purpose and structure something that I had while working. Until I found a way to replace those two important ingredients, I felt that something was missing. Retirement success happens when you find ways to fill the “work routine void’ by doing something that is important and fulfilling. Successful people are clear on their purpose and create a good reason to get out of bed every morning, they will be are much happier, and live longer than most other retirees.
Take time off and review our nine retirement principles, by being methodical and thoughtful with out rushing into making changes you will be able to identify areas in your retirement that need attention. Maybe you’ve let your health slide and you get winded walking up a flight of stairs. Maybe you find yourself bored sitting on the couch watching tv for most of the day. Maybe do not have something fulfilling, maybe something you got from your career, an athletic or artistic pursuits. We are happiest when we are engaged in activities we find important, where we are passionate, provide a challenge and give us a sense of progress. You need to be clear on your purpose, on the “why”. It’s Important to know your “why” because when things get hard, and anything worthwhile will get hard trust me, you have a clear understanding to help you push through the rough patches.
You may remember when you were working having a why driving you. Getting up early, work long hours at work, then exercising, maybe going swimming or to the gym in the evening when it is -20 outside? Your why is the fuel that pushes you to show up when your mind is telling you that you are tired. When you know your why you will be less tempted to skip activities every morning, writing, painting, volunteering, etc. or miss your gym workout, or have that dessert. You’ll stay on track because you know what you need to do in order to be happy.
Figure out how you spend your time
All of us spend decades saving for retirement, but we often give little thought to what we’ll do with all that free time once we get there. One of the benefits of retirement is that it frees up 40 hours a week of time we can spend anyway that we want. The danger is that without structure we could end up wasting a lot of that time on social media, video games, TV, and other time wasters that don’t get us any closer to our goals or dreams. Keep track of a week and see where you spent your time. Where is your time wasted? What is using up most of your time? Where should you be investing more of your time? Once you have identified areas that require improvement you need to figure out how much time you need to invest improving things.
Your Weekly Plan
The main benefit of having a weekly plan is that you wake up each day knowing exactly what you need to do.
The first things to go on your weekly calendar are the important things, healthy eating, exercise, family times etc., your non-negotiables.
For me that means:
• Getting up at 6 am and working on my book or blog for two hours, five days a week.
• Working out six days a week for a minimum of two hours.
• Date night with the Contessa every Friday
Getting up that early to write allows me to accomplish my most important work first and get it out of the way before I have had my first cup of coffee. This leaves me with the rest of the day for the fun stuff that really lights me up like;
• Working out with my tribe
• Giving a retirement seminar
• Going fishing
• Doing something fun with the kids
• Learning to speak Spanish
• Learning how to use Instagram or some other technology.
• Hanging out with my family and friends
Mistakes to avoid
Exceeding your time limits for any one task. This is where I failed the first time, I became obsessed with write on my first book. You need to set time boundaries and make sure you don’t exceed them. Writing my book was exciting and I needed to finish it in order to get my new public speaking and coaching business going. However many days I spent too much time writing, resulting in me failing to achieve my exercise goals. Writing the book gave me a sense of purpose, but it was a big mistake to ignore my other equally important goals which also provided me joy and purpose and now give me a more balanced lifestyle.
Don’t be in a big rush
I think this is an unfortunate carry over from our work lives the need to get everything done right away. In retirement there is no longer a need for urgency, or a need to compete with others. I didn’t think about it at the time but because I was financially independent, I didn’t need the money from book sales in order to survive. I didn’t need to finish my book yesterday, I didn’t need to start my new coaching business, I didn’t need to start my public speaking business. It was a mistake rushing to complete the book, causing me to ignore everything else.
Understand that positive change takes time
Retirement success takes time. Getting healthy takes time. Making new friends takes time. Starting a new business especially one that you have never tried before will for most of us take years of hard work, patience, and pain before you will finally get to where you want to be. Consistency is the key:
Consistent daily exercise will make you fit.
Writing two hours daily will eventually turn into a book.
Practicing good nutrition daily will get you healthy.
Retirement is not a game that is played in weeks or months, but in years. Improvement takes time and the amount of time it takes to achieve your goals doesn’t matter. All that matters is that you show up every single day consistently doing the right things until you achieve the retirement life that you want.
Remember Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is your retirement.