Hi, Andrea’s here. Last week I shared with you the first three keys to your successful retirement so here are the next three keys for this week.
1. Create structure. As much as people might hate the forced routine of their job, the rhythm it provides serves them well in being able to get things done. Experiencing a sense of accomplishment and productivity on a regular basis is a core human need that can go unmet in retirement once the structure of a job disappears. Many of my clients need help establishing new structures and routines that are more suited to their natural style so that they can feel both productive and retired at the same time. Here are a few techniques that work well:
· Identify your natural daily rhythm. Are you a morning person or a night person? When do you like to relax and be on your own? When do you like to be productive/busy? When is the most energizing time for you to be around others? Structure your daily activities to being aligning with these natural rhythms.
· Designate certain days of the week “productivity” days to focus on their goals, and others “free” days to go with the flow and do what they want.
2. Be accountable. When you no longer have a boss or co-workers to be accountable to, who makes you follow through on your commitments? Hiring a professional coach is a great way to help you create workable plans for achieving your goals and ensure that you follow through, but making firm commitments with a friend or spouse can work as well. Be cautious though: friends and family may either let you off the hook too easily or pressure you into doing things their way vs. your own. A son or daughter may have a vested interest in telling you to not push yourself too hard to get that application in to go back to school. If you get accepted it might mean that you have less time to look after the grandkids. Consider the following in determining who you want to be accountable to and who can give you that healthy push to continue striving to be your best self in retirement:
· Who can I trust to always be honest with me?
· Who do I know who is good at being non-judgmental in their advice? (Who considers my style and preferences rather than their own when they are providing support/guidance?)
· Who might have a vested interest in keeping me from pursuing this project? (This person still might be a good support person, as long as you stay aware that they might have a bias.)
3. Strengthen Your Relationships. There is an abundance of research available that links mental, physical and emotional health at every age to the strength of one’s social networks. This is not about how many friends you have on Facebook. It is about the depth of the real human connections and support networks that allow and encourage you to be your authentic self and pursue your dreams. Unfortunately this can require having the courage to identify and let go of the relationships that don’t strengthen you. This is another common area I find myself supporting clients in as they enter this stage of life. Once the camaraderie and common focus of work disappears, that person you have been friends with for years might seem far less appealing to hang out with. Usually it is easy enough to let these relationships slowly drift away, but it takes conscious effort to replace them with new relationships that align with the person you want to become and the life you want to lead.
The great thing about the above ideas is that they are keys to fulfillment no matter what your age or stage of life. Those who are most fulfilled in retirement also tend to have been most fulfilled in their careers because they adhered to the above principles. Always remember that the true key to success is not only having the discipline to save for your future, but the courage to turn down opportunities that only pay well in favor of those that leave you feeling good about yourself at the end of the day.