Each year most people go through various levels of review, reflection, resolution, and planning for various facets of their lives. Here are a few thoughts on the matter.
I don’t believe in resolutions, sorry that is just me. In my experience most resolutions last until just after the Super Bowl, not because we don’t want to achieve our resolutions but in many cases because we really haven’t planned or committed to the change. I view life more as a book with one chapter ending and a new one starting. Hopefully we learn a little in the previous year and we can bring this knowledge into the new year.
In VLR learn about yourself, what you like, what you don’t like and how you want to live. At the end of each year reflect, reset, and plan. Taking time to reflect on our life is very important. It allows us time to be grateful for what we have, and proud of our accomplishments. Time to think about losses we experienced during the year, unfortunately something that happens all too frequently as we age. Finally time to learn and plan for an exciting new year. The turn of the calendar is a great point to look at various facets of our life and this year you can review the past and plan for 2019 in the context of the 9 Retirement Principles we shared with you before Christmas. So here we go
# 1 – Family & Friends
Hopefully coming out of the holiday season you feel blessed and you were surrounded by friends and family. If you did, try and keep those feelings and relationships going for the rest of the year. Friends and family are key to health and happiness in your VLR. My wife and I tend to be the ones that do the work staying in touch with friends and family. We are not the only ones in our circle of friends and family, but we do work the hardest at staying connected. We currently have more flexibility in our schedule so we are happy to lead the “charge”, each year look at your relationships. Which ones bring you joy, which ones are “a lot” of work and really not giving you value for the effort, which ones require some TLC. As principle #9 tell us Time is fleeting so make sure you spend and invest in people that bring you joy. Maybe you felt a little isolated in 2018, well plan to reach out to old friends and meet new people in 2019.
# 2 – Health
This is probably the most common principle people focus on for resolutions. Start a diet, go to the gym, lose weight, etc.. If you made plans last year and they did not work out, look at why, maybe it was the type of exercise you tried, or the diet was too extreme. You learned something about yourself, reset, plan something new. Maybe focus on your lifestyle, be a little more active, eat more vegetables, maybe listen to a podcast on a walk or a bike ride, instead of watching Netflix or if you need your Netflix why not watch you shows at the gym or on the treadmill. If getting more active leads to a goal of a 5 k run or a group bike ride, or meeting a new tribe (#6) wonderful. Health goals do not have to be BHAG set some manageable goals maybe one less dessert a week, or a walk 3 days a week, etc. Incremental changes can lead to a sustainable new and healthy lifestyle.
# 3 – Financial Security
Year end tax season is a great time to look at your financial plan. Less than 50% of Canadians have a financial plan, even fewer look at or understand their plan. Have a goal of reviewing your financial plan annually with your financial advisor. Does your financial plan still align with your lifestyle plan? What is your portfolio size, what is the asset mix, what were your expenses and revenues? We won’t spend a lot of time on this principle even though it is one of the most important. Our advice work with your Financial Advisor to ensure continued Financial Independence.
# 4 – Purpose
Unlike our working career where many of us operated almost in automatic, wake up , commute to work, do our job, go home, rinse and repeat. In retirement you need to put in a little more effort. When you review this aspect of your life look at what got you out of bed over the last year? Was there enough excitement, challenge, learning? Do you have capacity for more? Is there something that you are doing, working, volunteering, maybe a hobby that is not bringing you fulfillment? Time to reset, maybe try a new hobby, volunteer somewhere else, etc. Learning what we like and don’t like is a valuable learning.
# 5 – Reigniting A Sense Of Adventure
This is a great principle for planning, find a special trip, try something that makes you uncomfortable? Challenge yourself to get those butterflies back in your stomach in 2019. Maybe try rock climbing, take a dance lesson, or a yoga class, learn a new language, get out of your comfort zone. Having something to look forward to is a great way of sparking that sense of adventure.
# 6 – Find Your Tribe(s)
Hopefully you continue to look for tribes that challenge you, that bring you joy, that simply bring out the best in you. Maybe a running club, a book club, painting classes, golf leagues, wood working coops, what ever it is hopefully you are meeting new and interesting people that motivate and challenge you. If you tried a club and it was really not for you, good for you for trying. Don’t stick around, live is short, reset and try something new.
#7 – Spiritual
As we have shared this is an important aspect of life it allows us time to slow down, reflect and appreciate what we have. If you have a formal religion you practice wonderful if not find time for reflection, meditation, prayer, or quiet time in your day. Maybe at first you need to schedule or set a reminder to get you into the routine. Maybe all it takes is an app on your phone or if you need a little more of a challenge join a yoga class. What ever it is take some time to slow down reflect and appreciate what blessings we all have.
# 8 – Attitude
Some times it is tough to have a positive attitude, a down turn in the stock market, many of us may have seen a real hit to our investment portfolios over the last few months. Unrest around the world, and major weather events impacting millions of people around the world. There are lots of reasons to feel a little down, but being negative about all that is wrong in the world won’t help us or the people we love. If you are feeling this way use your time in #7 to count your blessings, reset, refresh and put a smile back on your face. Maybe find ways to give back volunteer or donate to a worthy cause know that you are trying to be part of the change. In 2019 and beyond lets all focus a little more on the good things in life by being positive, caring, thankful for what we have and giving back to help change our little piece of the world.
# 9 – Time
How did you spend your time last year? Look where you were spending your time, do you look back with a smile or think , I wish I had spent more time…? It is ok to have down time to dream, to plan, to slow down. However after the chores and responsibilities try and maximize the time you spend each day creating joy for you, the ones you love, and the world around you.
Happy New Year.