Most of the time, when thinking about retirement, we focus on the financial aspect and the post-career freedoms that await. Having a successful and satisfying retirement requires more than just filling your free-time and proper budgeting, here are some tips to make the most of your time:
1) Think of it as a Job
It can be hard to move from a structured environment to an unstructured lifestyle. It is great to have this new freedom, but it is important to have a direction you want to go in. Thinking about retirement as a job can help you to create a routine, develop goals and create positive daily habits. At work, you have a schedule, you have responsibilities and you are held accountable. In retirement, you are the CEO, and your business is life. What goals will you set for yourself and how would you like your retirement to operate?
2) Set Goals that Work for You
Create a list of what you hope to get out of your retirement years. Off the top of your head you may just think ‘I’d like to travel’ or ‘I want to play golf as often as I can’, and as great as these goals are, they do not paint a proper picture of your post-career life. Come up with goals that encompass who you are and truly depict what you want to get out of retirement. You might want to break down the goals into different categories, such as: travel, home projects, hobbies, etc. Set these goals at least once a year.
3)Have a To-Do List
Once you have identified your goals, it is important to check back with them on a regular basis. Some of your goals will be long-term, while others will vary month to month. Create a running to-do list of the tasks you need to accomplish. Treat your goals, and these tasks, as if they were your job – pretend someone is paying you to do them. It is easier to make excuses for yourself when no one is holding you accountable. Many people become a lot less efficient after retirement, and there is nothing wrong with that – you deserve a break after all! Just remember that some of the best days you will have are the ones where you put a bit of pressure on yourself. Accomplishing your tasks will give you a great sense of satisfaction.
4)Keep Track of Progress
So you have set your goals, and have identified the tasks you need to accomplish: what now? Review your progress. A yearly review can be a great reflective experience. It reinforces what you have accomplished and reminds you of the areas where you can maintain focus next time. If one of your goals was to renovate your home, keep track of what you have done and how much you were able to accomplish. Analyzing your progress is a great way to see all the work you managed to do and to identify any problems you may have with your routine. If there was something that did not get enough attention, consider why this happened and alter your goals and to-do list to ensure you will put more time and energy to the project next time (as long as it remains important to you!).
While it is important to keep structure in your life, remember that, in the end, retirement is all about what you want it to be. Yes, you should consider treating retirement as a job. Yes, you should set goals. But now is the time to be spontaneous, to try new things and enjoy the time you have spent so long working for!