My own retirement transition process (developed based on Design Thinking approach and outlined in my book Retirement Transition – Amazon link here) has 5 main steps:
- REFLECT: Self-discovery, know thyself. Deep introspection becomes the core foundation for creating your “Life Vision” statement (and for later assessing activities in action plan.)
- IMAGINE: All the possibilities. Lots of ways to think about life options; work/ leisure, active/ passive. Your own Life Possibilities List as an output.
- ASSESS: Compare top options from Possibilities List back to Life Vision to make choices in crafting your individual Life Portfolio; consider “he/she/we” visions/choices
- ACTIVATE: Explore restructuring life, experiment with new activities, set goals, change habits.
- REFINE: Continual renewal – what’s working, what’s not? Refresh, rejuvenate, revise; 90 day plans, annual plans.
I’ve personally refined my retirement lifestyle vision statement 3 times since my retirement day. In this time of self-isolation, I wondered if I needed to refine it yet again. I took a course to aid in exploring this: “Finding Purpose and Meaning in Life” on Coursera (link here).
In the course, I found an interesting build to my thinking – the instructor’s Why-What-How approach dovetails well with my own approach. My big aha through this refining was that my Why and What, which I’ve articulated as my retirement lifestyle vision, were still right for me. My How’s need to be changed, even if only short-term, to deal with the new reality of continued social distancing. So it’s time to relook at my Possibilities List and assess some new options.
Looking at the Why-What-How in a little more depth:
- First, figure out your WHY – this is defined as a person’s theme (who I am or possibly who do I want to be) and motivation (what do I value, what talents/strengths do I want to utilize).
- Second, what behaviors are needed to become the Who you want to be? The What’s are more action focused verbs and characteristic to be’s. For example: To be an inspiring leader (who – based on values and strengths), I need to be connected to others & to be energetic. To be an active, healthy individual, I need to be physically strong & flexible and be eating healthy. This to-be is my retirement lifestyle vision statement.
- Finally, the How are your specific action steps, goals to accomplish the to-be behaviors. Where are you intentionally investing your energy – physical energy and emotional energy. For example: To be energetic, I will sleep 8 hours a day by going to bed and waking up at consistent times, I will do cardio exercise 3 times a week, and I will do strength training 2 times a week.
So summing it up:
WHY – “Who do I want to be”; descriptive roles/nouns based on clarifying your values and strengths
WHAT – “Be goals” that are action focused/verbs – broad behaviors and characteristics
HOW – Specific steps/plans to implement for each “to be” goal.
So now, I’m looking into my How’s. It’s not easy as I am still mourning the loss of many How’s I intentionally put into place in my retirement, and truly enjoyed. I also know that just like finding those activities took time and exploration (and quite a few things that did not pan out), new how’s will again take time and exploration.
Have you taken time during self-isolation to reflect on where you are and where you are heading?