Your kids have graduated and are starting their careers. You can now see the “retirement light” at the end of the proverbial tunnel. You have saved enough and you are ready to have a great time with your spouse and looking forward to some good years ahead. You are ready to do the things that you have been putting off. Now is the time to enjoy life. But retirement is a whole new ball game and has its own rules. There are 3 simple rules you must keep in mind to make sure that you have an awesome retirement – perhaps some 20-30 fun years ahead.
- The first, and probably the most important, is to stay physically active. Regular physical activity is important to your overall health. Not having a work routine each day may cause you to slip into a more sedentary lifestyle. And that means you may be sitting or lounging around more than you should. Regular exercise helps keep the effects of ageing at bay and that gives you with a greater sense of happiness and mental health as well. It is not enough that you want to be physically active — but you should also be able set a physical activity goal and measure against that goal. A simple goal may be working out at the gym 3 times a week. Keeping a log of your gym visits may be a way to keep track of your achievement towards that goal. Another easy way is to get a FitBit or some other fitness tracker and set a step goal for the day or week – the most common daily target is 10,000 steps.
- Like your physical body, your mind needs exercise to remain sharp and healthy. However, this is not as easy to measure. One way you can keep mentally active is to begin a new intellectual journey and learn something new. Try learning a new skill or subject matter and throw out the old cliche that old dogs cannot learn new tricks. Whether you learn a new language or wine appreciation, you will benefit from being mentally engaged. There is a whole universe of things that you can learn – take the time to explore them and pick something that you like and stick with it. Learning something new is even more fun if it is something that you can do with your spouse or friends.
- The last part of the puzzle is more abstract and perhaps more difficult — finding meaning and purpose for what you do in the years ahead. Some say it is all about your reason for being or simply your reason for getting up in the morning. Just performing a task or activity may not necessarily be meaningful enough to you. Try volunteering at a charity or some cause that you care about – it may be a great way to find meaning. You will feel good about yourself if you can make a difference in someone’s life. It not only gives you a sense of purpose, but you will also feel useful and needed. And that may be your reason for getting up in the morning!
Remember there is no secret formula, and there are different strokes for different folks. But I am pretty sure that you will not be able to achieve your dream retirement if you do not remember these three rules – remain physically active, challenge yourself mentally and find meaning or reason for being. Good luck!