Why Set Goals When Retired? 3 Compelling Reasons

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We have a wide circle of friends. Some retired last year, some have been retired for quite a while now and others are wannabe retirees. Among those who are now living the retired lifestyle, by far the happiest appear to be those who set goals on a regular basis. They are always working towards an interesting goal that they wish to achieve.

Living into the day can be enjoyable when you are on holiday. But, in my opinion, it doesn’t stack up day in and day out when you are back home.

Table of Contents

3 Top Reasons to Set Goals in Retirement

There are no doubt many many reasons it is a good idea. However, on top of my list are the following 3 reasons,

  1. Challenge
    • I think most people thrive on having a challenge of some kind, provided it is achievable.
  2. Excitement
    • If the goal is well-chosen, it can add excitement along the way.
  3. Satisfaction
    • There is almost nothing like that feeling of striving towards a goal and then reaching that point where you can sit back and say “I did it!!”. That sense of achievement is hard to beat.

I suspect that my sister realised all 3 of these goal setting qualities just recently. She and her husband, with a number of friends, set themselves the goal of completing a multi day walk in Tasmania. This required considerable preparation and training over a number of weeks.

They flew into Tasmania earlier this month, ready to embark on their planned walk.

From their descriptions of the trek, it is fair to say that it wasn’t “a walk in the park”. Their earlier training no doubt prepared them, at least in part, for the challenging 1st day that threw 4,000 rugged steps their way. They have now finished the walk. Their sense of satisfaction at the end of the last day could almost be felt from here. The accolades they received from much younger companions would have topped it all off with a huge sense of pride and a feeling of “We did it!!”.

I know how they must have felt. We did something similar in 2018 when we did a week-long walk along the Rhine.

Set Goals in Retirement
Image by gabrielle_cc from Pixabay 

What Goal Do You Want to Achieve?

So let’s get down to the nitty gritty.

What would you like to achieve by the end of the month, by the end of the year?

What passion or hobby gets you out of bed in the mornings, raring to go?

Books on Goal Setting (Affiliate Link)

It is quite possible that during your working life, your boss always set goals for you. You either rose to the occasion and achieved them or struggled through them begrudgingly. The difference in retirement is that now you get to choose the goals you want to work towards. It is all about what YOU want this time.

I must say, I love to set goals, I love having something to work towards. I am a real list-maker so the 2 can work hand-in-hand wonderfully.

Goals can of course be short-term or long-term, simple or quite involved. It is entirely up to you. You are the architect of your goal-generation project.

A Menu of Ideas When Choosing a Goal

Just to give you some ideas to stimulate the thinking processes, here are some possibilities:

Stepping Stone Goals

I have set myself a number of goals for this year, some short-term, some long-term, others are sub-goals of bigger goals. I kind of like step goals, little goals that can lead to the achievement of a bigger goal, in other words stepping stone goals.

For example, I have been learning a foreign language, German, for some years now. It’s time to move from learning to actually using.

What do I really want to achieve with this goal? I want to overcome my language shyness and be able to converse freely by the end of this year.

That’s my goal.

My short term goal (stepping stone) consists of sticking to a daily routine that can lead me step-by-step towards achieving my long term goal. I love grammar and learning new constructs in a foreign language. But when it comes to saying what I want to say, the words simply get stuck in my throat. It’s time to change all of that. So my daily goal is to list 10 sentences in English that I want to say, write down the correct German translation and then revise the list until I get every sentence correct.

Will I stick to it? Let’s see. That is certainly my intention. After all, Wordle has me “showing up” each day to maintain my streak. Hopefully I can be just as disciplined with my language goal.

An Engrossing Goal-Setting Routine

One goal or several, it’s up to you.

I think a good mix of longer term goals with short term goals is the ideal. Or devising sub-goals that can lead to or contribute to achievement of a larger goal.

The bottom line is you want to have a goal or goals that keep you forward thinking. Your goals should enrich your daily structure and include the 3 essentials listed above: challenging, exciting and satisfying. You want to think of goals that excite you to get up in the morning, goals that challenge you in some way and goals that will be immensely satisfying and rewarding when you achieve them.

Have fun when you set goals that can really add to your lifestyle.

The Ultimate Retirement Bucket List: 101 Fun Things to Do, Exciting Everyday Activities, and Once-in-a-Lifetime Experiences for a Healthier, Happier Third Act

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