Most people, baby boomers in particular, go through their lives living a life of duty. They spend most of their decades dedicating time, focus and energy to their families and jobs… which is a completely noble and necessary role.
Unfortunately, before you know it, your original dreams are locked up somewhere deep inside a hope chest…
… And by the time “retirement” years hit, there can be a bit of haziness where your identity and role seem unclear as you transition into this new period of life.
When you look up “retirement advice” the majority of the search results come back with financial advice.
And while it’s a prudent practice to financially plan for your retirement, it’s the non-financial retirement advice that can really lift your life into your best next chapters and give your life more meaning, intention, fulfillment and purpose.
That’s why I’ve put together these 4 simple exercises… to help you find clarity so you can focus on meaningful activities during your retirement years.
Finding Clarity Exercise #1: Create your vision board
Your vision is a concrete representation of your desires and goals. Without solidifying a defined vision, it can become difficult to make yours a reality.
TD Bank surveyed more than 1100 people and found that 67% believed that pictures of their goals will improve the odds they will achieve them.
If you have the energy to go through an entire vision board process, great. Take the time to put together a physical or digital graphics collage to create a vision of your ideal retirement life…and get specific.
Another option is to simply circle 5 topics from this list that fit your retirement vision:
- Completing unfinished projects
- Learning a new skill
- Taking on a new challenge
- Developing a hobby
- Starting a new business
- Working part-time
- Home projects
- Time with spouse
- Time with friends
- Time with family
- Going back to school
- Mentoring others
At the very least, this exercise will force you to prioritize activities that are most meaningful to you. From there, you can further explore your opportunities within each of those five categories and work out how they’ll fit into your life.
Finding Clarity Exercise #2: Rate your energy level across 5 core categories
Energy is everything when it comes to finding your passion. Energy is specifically something that you can generate from inside of you, so it’s uber important to pay attention to the people, places and activities that give you energy vs. those that deplete you.
When it comes to your ideal retirement lifestyle, I like to cover 5 key ingredients with students and clients of mine in this framework. Within each of the categories below, rate your energy level from 1-5, 1 being completely depleted and 5 being very fulfilled and energized.
- Community – your relationships, social life and engagement in your community
- Growth – lifelong learning, new experiences, brain plasticity, overcoming challenges
- Giving Back – sense of purpose, legacy, volunteerism, serving, gifting and contributions
- Health – your diet, exercise, and physical, mental and brain health
- Finance – financial security, budgeting, having enough to fund your retirement
Once you assess your energy level in these 5 compartments of your life, you’ll have a better understanding of where focus your attention. You’ll also be able to see very explicitly which part of your life gives you the most energy, and which parts of your life drain you.
Finding Clarity Exercise #3: Define your core values
There are a few ways to go about doing this. One way is to comb through a list of key core values (available in this Retirement Lifestyle Assessment) and to circle 10 values, then whittle the most important values down to your top 5.
Another way to do it is to answer some core value questions, like these:
- Which 3 core values do you want to pass on to your children and grandchildren?
- What 3 core values do you want people to think of when they think of you?
- In just 3 words, what’s your philosophy for living?
- What are 3 things you value the most?
- Imagine your dream day. What 3 emotions or values describe your experience?
From there you can isolate your top 5 core values.
Once you align everything you do with your core values, you’ll be living in flow with your true authentic self, which means you’re that much more fulfilled.
Finding Clarity Exercise #4: Answer finding clarity questions
Self-reflection in a written format can be very beneficial, especially if you take the time to dig deep and write out your honest answers that tend to be otherwise hidden away. Here are a few finding clarity questions to help you in this process:
- Who is your favorite childhood mentor and what did you learn from him/her?
- What are your regrets?
- What are your strengths and biggest accomplishments?
- What are you not so good at? What would you like to learn?
- What’s a failure or mistake that you made and what did you learn from it?
Those are just a few questions that can get your juices flowing. The takeaway is to be mindful of what really makes you tick and to chase after that.
If you’re willing to sit and really go through a more thorough self-reflection writing exercise, here’s a more complete list of questions:
For a more complete exercise on finding clarity, check out this Retirement Lifestyle Assessment.
Finding clarity is all about digging deep. It doesn’t happen overnight and it requires a lot of real honest attention. Like most good things in life, the more work you put into it, the more you’ll get out of it.
While it’s not the easiest task in the world, once you find clarity it can absolutely propel you toward your ideal active, healthy and engaged retirement lifestyle.
Which exercises resonate with you? How will finding clarity make in impact in living your ideal retirement lifestyle?