Ever since we were little tykes, back eons ago, we have been taught that in order to achieve anything of real consequence, we must set goals. Without defining an ultimate destination, how can we know the right steps to take, if we are on the right path, or if we are even getting closer to our desired result? “If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy, and inspires your hopes” said Andrew Carnegie. Achieving our goals is one major motivator in the workplace, providing real personal satisfaction along with praise and recognition from others, plus it keeps us in a job! Is it possible to achieve a similar satisfaction in retirement life? Does goal setting fall to the wayside when we retire or does it still have a place in the lives of senior citizens?
Goal setting for life
Although we no longer have project deadlines or sales quotas or corporate goals to strive for, retired life can still be very busy. Particularly if we follow what should be our personal commitment to do everything that we want to do now that we have the time to do it. That can generate one heck of a list, even overwhelming if you do not have a strategy. Setting goals that can be measured helps keep you on track, focuses your efforts on what works, and provides you with the satisfaction of a job well done once achieved.
To be effective pursuing goals, I find it helpful to think of each as short-term (today or tomorrow), medium term (weeks to months), and longer term. For example, today I uploaded and labeled pictures from our recent Paris trip and sent an update to family and friends on our safe arrival – short-term goal, achieved. Also on my list is to research replacing our cable TV/internet/phone service with a more affordable alternative. Over the past week, I have collected information from the internet as well as making some calls – the upcoming Google TV sure looks interesting – and I plan to make a final decision before the end of September – medium term goal. As for long-term, one example is my plan to get back to playing the piano well, something I did in high school, loved, but have not pursued. To play the way I want to play will require lots of practice and it will take time, a long time, and so a long-term goal on my list.
There are some wonderful blogs out there focusing on retirement life with all of its rewards and challenges. Here are a few that I read regularly that may help with your retirement goal efforts. And as an added bonus – each site contains a lot of useful and pertinent information for us all as we approach and live our retired lives:
- Satisfying Retirement – Bob shares his 10 years (and counting) of retirement and first-hand experience that he has learned along the way. In “How to make the most of your time”, he discusses the value of maintaining a list of important activities that and checking them off as they are completed – setting goals and goal achievement.
- Retirement: A Full-time Job – Syd has been sharing her retirement experience and learned wisdom with us since 2007. Her “Retirement Resolutions” from Jan 2008 lists some goals as applicable today as then.
- About.com: Senior Living – Sharon provides guidance in planning and setting goals for lifelong learning, something we should all incorporate into our retirement lives.
- David Ning writing for U.S. News and World outlines “6 retirement income streams you need” to plan effectively and help achieve your financial retirement goals.
- FrugalDad – in “Saving with a purpose: short term goals”, specific savings goals are identified and then tracked to completion.
- Joan’s Boomer Blog – Joan covers some important points to incorporate into retirement goals beyond money
Have some fun with it. After all, goal setting in retired life SHOULD be fun – you are making plans to help achieve your dreams. “Nothing happens unless first we dream” said Carl Sandberg. This time around, your success will not be rewarded with a bonus or accolades from your boss, but with your own deep felt personal satisfaction. Can you think of a more worthwhile goal to have?
Don’t forget to pick up a free copy of my Navigating the Retirement Jungle, available upon request by mailing to firstname.lastname@example.org.