While on the George at some point I always start thinking about how many good years I have left. I’m sure this is triggered while thinking about Bill who at age 84 has been making the annual pilgrimage to the George for the past 35 years. One year I know his string of visits will be broken and the thought of going there and not seeing him saddens me but that unfortunately is how life works.
I don’t want to sound morbid but age catches up to all of us and we only have so many good years left. There is no time to waste, we need to start doing the things that will make us happy now and maintain that state of happiness. Turn off the TV you have more important things to do!
You can accomplish a lot during your Victory Lap
On average people will spend about 20 years in retirement which gives us lots of runway to do some really interesting things. The most important investment you will ever make is an investment in yourself. Learn what makes you happy and invest time and maybe money in being the best you can be. In Victory Lap if you have planned things properly you will have the benefit of time and money to do what makes you happy. You will derive joy from learning how best to invest these assets in your awesome lifestyle. Develop new relationships, try new things and take risks that you may have avoided in your working life. Make a plan and work towards fulfilling it.
We should all be on the journey to happiness, but we will all take a different path. Some people when they leave their first career maybe tempted to slow down and orient their lives around comfort and security rather than purpose and meaning. There’s nothing wrong with taking a little break after leaving your primary career but twenty years is a little long time to coast don’t you think?
Designing Your Victory Lap Roadmap – Be Guided By Your Values
Think of your VL roadmap as your personal path towards a “life well lived”. Your roadmap will guide you on a culmination of all the things you plan to accomplish and experience in the years ahead. Your roadmap does not need a defined end as none of us knows how long we will live or be healthy enough to do the things we love. Pick a path that is aligned with your values, and will make you happy. When you move in a valued direction, you benefit from the intrinsic motivation to make things happen and your journey becomes meaningful and enjoyable. Living by your values gives you satisfaction and makes you happy and that is what we are after, it’s not complicated.
Your roadmap will give you direction, you will have a vision for the key areas of your life, family, health, purpose (work) and tell you where you want to go. You will be more productive, and more fulfilled than the people who continue to drift with no plan playing it safe. Use your roadmap to squeeze every drop out of life, stay fit, keep your mind challenged and your heart filled with joy.
Things that you might consider putting on your roadmap:
• Learning a new skill
• Trying a new hobby
• Charity work – going to Africa to help drill some water wells
• Ways to connect with family
• Starting a new business/blog
• Learning a new language
• Helping others
• Chasing old dreams – doing a triathlon
• Finding an awesome part-time job
• Taking on a new challenge – ballroom dancing-the Contessa would love that one
The quality of your Victory Lap is driven by your quality of engagement. Following your roadmap will provide opportunities to have new experiences, spend time with the people you love, learn new things and do work that you enjoy. It doesn’t get much better than that!
Goal Setting and Milestones
When was the last time that you set goals? Bet you thought when you left your career that you would never have to do this again but in Victory Lap it is still important. Goals keep you focused on the things that really matter and help you avoid wasting time. Setting appropriate goals will give you direction and purpose to all that you do. Establishing goals will get you excited. Set up milestones to support your goals, milestones are actions, events or achievements necessary to make progress towards our goals. Milestones serve as signposts on our roadmap. When we pass one we have a sense of satisfaction and joy. We know that we are winning and as we continue to pass more milestones our confidence grows and we become stronger. There is no stopping us now and we just keep adding new milestones that are aligned with who we are and where we want to go. As you follow your roadmap and hit your goals you will discover that you are becoming a different better person.
Example of Goal Setting:
As I mentioned back in Part 2 one of my key values my health & fitness is offside causing me a lot of stress at the moment. To get back in alignment I have established a big goal of completing a half ironman when I turn 65 on Oct 15 2019. Like I said before I have a tendency to go “all in” on things.
In the context of that goal I have defined a number of clear milestones that have been included within my roadmap such as:
• Swimming across the lake at the cottage on August 18th 2018
• Completing a half marathon in Oct 2018
• Riding a 100k by July 2018
• To be 200 lbs and have a BMI index of 26 by May 1st 2018
You want to create short term milestones so that you can measure progress and take any required corrective action before it is too late. Training for a half ironman can not be rushed it is a gradual process that takes time. A positive benefit of achieving that goal means that I will be much healthier and that gives me all the motivation that I need.
Setting milestones for weight loss and hitting them will give me a great sense of pride. My clothes will fit better, I’ll feel stronger, I’ll sleep better, my self esteem will be higher all because my health is improving. If I’m lucky maybe I’ll be able to get off some of the medication that I’m currently taking.
What will your map look like to you?
We Need A Detailed Action Plan
What steps do I need to take so I will hit the milestones on my roadmap? I need to be specific.
For me I plan to:
• Join the community recreation centre.
• Run for 30-minutes, 3 times per week on the treadmill.
• Do three long swims a week at the community pool.
• Do three weekly bike sessions on an indoor trainer
• Do three weekly weight training sessions
What is your action plan for hitting your milestones? What steps do you have to take? What do you need to do today to make it happen?
I take a similar approach to establishing goals and milestones for my other top values which are my family and my work. Some people probably wonder why I rank work so high on my list of values but the work that I now do is an important part of my life and satisfies a number of my other values. There is something about helping people that just makes me feel good, like I’m doing the right thing. It makes me feel that I’m making a difference in someone’s life and when I can help others it makes me happy. Believe me it’s not about the money. I could make far more working for a bank but then again I know that would not make me happy.
Create Yourself A FutureMe Book
In addition to my roadmap I’ve created a picture book about FutureMe which contains photos of fun things that I want to accomplish/experience in the years ahead. There is nothing better on a cold snowy day than to browse through my future book and see how far I have come. All the things that I was able to accomplish and all the wonderful experiences and fun I had along the way. Then I start dreaming and look ahead in anticipation for all the adventures and personal challenges that i have planned out on my roadmap for me and my family.
In summary, most of us miss the feeling of accomplishment that our work provided and that is what our roadmap brings back into our lives. By following our map and hitting our goals and milestones we become energized and excited. Our self esteem rises because we are winning again, but unlike those sales contests we had to endure back in the corp. we are doing the things that we really enjoy.
Remember to be intentional about how you will spend your time in VL. Seek out adventure. Be engaged. Figure out what will make you happy and do those things. Look into the mirror and ask yourself, does my VL feel good? After all, isn’t that what life is all about?