One of the tools I extoll in my book Retirement Transition – An Innovative Approach (link here to Amazon purchase) is the use of a Vision Statement and Action Plan.
As one of my favorite quotes says:
“Would you tell me please which way I should go from here?” said Alice.
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
Lewis Carroll in Alice in Wonderland
A vision statement can take many forms – from a Vision Board, to a Series of I AM statements, to a Five Year Story. It’s reflective of your personal values and how you want to live your life.
When transitioning into retirement, which is a huge shift in life, a vision statement can take time to develop. My book walks you through reflection steps to aid in creating one – using a holistic 7-domains life framework (here’s a LINK to recent post on this topic). In my book, I also talk about refining your vision statement and your life action plan as you go through retirement.
Last month I passed my 6-year retirement anniversary and so I’m sharing that refinement work – how my retirement lifestyle vision statement and life action plan has evolved. And also what I’ve learned about using these tools along the way. This is the “really, really” with lots of detail and will probably be more information than you care to read! And it also is reflective of the fact 1) I am an over-thinker, 2) I am a planner, and 3) I love frameworks and lists!
My Initial Retirement Lifestyle Vision Statement: “I will be more the person I want to be: truly active, a good friend, a creative integrator, growing my foodie wannabe-ness, and allowing the latent adventurer inside me to emerge.”
|Goal Area||Specific Actions|
|Physical Well Being – be more active and eat healthier||– Get in the habit of walking Taylor… add in weight training; focus on more time outdoors!|
– Eat better – More fruits & veggies in diet (Shop farmers markets); watch portion size!
– Get a massage to de-stress
– Zumba weekly, Weekly walk with KD
|Financial Security – get us set up for the future||– Deal with retirement financial transitions & taxes|
– Get more internet savvy – linked In, on-line bill pay
– SIL future plan – work through timing/transition plan
|Home||– De-clutter – Create Top down plan – photos, etc.|
– Continue to explore housing options for us
|Connections – create intentional connections plan||– Plan Regular events – with other couples (specific list)|
– Build intentional connections (specific list)
– Work with Tim to define our “we time”
– Mom surgery support
|Mental stimulation||– Writing – book? blog? Create tools for consulting?|
– Create a walk-about – Museums, Blake at Playhouse, Impact 100, Crossroads
– Explore OLLI, Roadscholar, travel
– Regular to do lists and check off!
– Explore Consulting options
|Increase Leisure Activities||– Plan & execute wire-wrapping exploration|
– Florida trip – increase biking!
– Create Foodie-ness plan
My Learning: My very first Vision Statement was positive but still more “future” versus “present”. There was not a strong link to goal areas or to my values. Looking back at it, there was a lot of “should” (what I thought I should do in retirement) as well as realization of what I needed to replace with no more full time work (loss of mental stimulation and connections). It was not a bad first start and reminds me to continue to encourage others to just begin their own retirement transition journey!
First Refinement of Vision Statement or Take 2: “I am truly active, a supportive wife & loyal friend, a researcher & synthesizer (a system builder). I am growing my foodie wannabe-ness, and allowing the latent adventurer and creative artist inside me to emerge. I balance work and life, with more play and less work, living an active, healthy lifestyle.”
|Goal Area||Specific Actions|
|Out & About – 10 activities/month||– Plan 2 day trips per month with Tim|
– Foodie-ness plan – food club; cooking boot camp, Foodie Meet-ups
– Plan activities with friends
– Create a walk-about plan – Museums, Blake at Playhouse, Impact 100, Crossroads, ESC
– Explore OLLI, Roadscholar, travel
Fun with Friends
Time with Tim
|– Plan intentional activities with specific list of people (new and old friends)|
– Build intentional Consulting Networking (specific list of people); explore writers group
– Work with Tim to define our “we time”
|Physical Well Being – be more active and eat healthier||– Get in the habit of Walking Taylor, focus on more time outdoors|
– Eat better – More fruits & veggies in diet; watch portion size!
– Get a regular massage to de-stress
– Continue with Zumba weekly and Monday walk
– Explore Yoga
|Location, Location||– Monitor finances & taxes|
– Explore housing for us
– SIL future plan – work timing/transition plan
– Home – declutter it!
|Work/ Mental Stimulation/ |
Feeling of Accomplishment
|– Project work exploration – both Innovation Consultant and Certified Life Coach|
– The Artist Within – plan wire-wrapping exploration, coloring book, plan artist dates
– Play with words – Writing, blogging, reading, crosswords
– Regular to do list and check off!
– On hold: ESC exploration
My Learning: My vision statement was getting more complicated, but also adding my insight that I need to focus on life, not work. I can see in this version my working through the Innovation Process steps! But I see things on the action plan that never happened (still the should?) and a bigger element of work continuation coming in (even with the more play, less work vision!). I know this plan was trying to achieve the 25/25/25/25 split of “fitness, fun, friends, funds (work)” that I believed was “right” and was easy to articulate. Many of these goal areas were maintained for a couple of years and some are still on my Action Plan today!
Retirement Lifestyle Vision Statement – Take 3: SOAR – savoring – optimistic – activating – resilient
“I am an active person, leading a healthy lifestyle, experiencing things, enjoying daily life, & savoring the moments. I am a supportive wife & loyal friend. I have an abundance of friendships. I am having fun! I am growing my foodie wannabe-ness, and I allow the latent adventurer and creative artist inside me to emerge. My body is capable. I am physically active, practicing preventive behaviors, eating healthy, and managing medical conditions. I am living in a comfortable, welcoming house that fills my and Tim’s (articulated and unarticulated) needs. I am grateful for our financial security. I feel I have a life purpose. I practice positivity, embrace the rhythm and flow of my life, the joy of living.”
|Knowledge/ Mastery||– Be the Expert/Sage – Career Continuation, Networking & Part-time – Compensated gigs |
– Play with Words: Writing/Blog, Reading, Crossword
– Find Purpose – self-discovery; explore philanthropic activity
– Be a Beginner: Learning on Spirituality, Night Sky, Chess, Birds, Jewelry Making
|Belonging / Connections||– Intentional Connections – nurture relationships: Time with Tim; Fun with Friends; Couple Camaraderie; Blogging Buddies; Mid-week Foodies; Work Networking|
|Personal Choices – Be Active – turn intention into action||– Live Life: Get Out & About – be active with 10 experiential activities per month – with Tim, with friends, by yourself|
– Latent Adventurer: Mini Adventures (physical or mental); Plan day trips; Meet Up exploration (birding, book club), Foodie wannabe (new restaurants); learn new things (explore, discover, try); Big Travel Plans
– The Artist Within: jewelry, writing, explore mixed media
– Healthy Living – Move It Every Day – Zumba, Yoga, Walking, FL Biking, gardening, SUP, Walk Taylor; Nourish My Body – mindful eating, eat more greens & fruit, hydrate, sleep when needed, and occasional massage!
|Security & Structure||– De-cluttering & organizing home|
– Financial Security reviews
– SIL Caregiving
|Gratitude||– Practice Positivity – journaling & emotional monitoring; practice gratitude; Know Thyself – self acceptance & Let Go of the Negative|
My Learning: An even more complicated vision statement as I tried to embrace the “I Am” approach using affirming elements I wanted to be true. My WOTY (word of the year) was SOAR and that helped me through my cancer-fighting year, but it wasn’t well integrated into my retirement lifestyle vision nor my action plans. My Action Plan areas linked closer to my values (which I like!), but it was less linked to my vision statement. While a lot of this feels right, it also feels very disjointed!
Current Retirement Lifestyle Vision Statement: Active, Connected, Creative, Contemplative
|Intention Area||Values Link||Action Plan Activities|
|Play with Words||Mastery/ Creativity||Blog, crosswords, reading (new book tracking), journaling, book club(s), knowledge synthesis writing, new book?|
|Intentional Connections||Belonging||Time with Tim, Compatible Couple connections, Walk & Talks, Phone friends, Foodie Club, Be the designated planner, Florida plan|
|Out & About||Active Lifestyle/ Autonomy||Mini-adventures, New &/or fun things tracking, Culinary experiences, travel planning (future)|
|Healthy Lifestyle||Active Lifestyle||Yoga, Strength training, Walking, SUP, bike, Zumba; eat more fruits & veggies, spend more time outdoors|
|Welcoming Home||Security||Time in garden, Plan home gatherings, Monitor finances, Continue to de-clutter, New house set up!|
|Self-Discovery Contemplation||Autonomy||Practice positivity (gratitude, mindfulness, joy), Release workbook/ self-acceptance, meditation, SIL Transition (release)|
|The Artist Within||Creativity/ Knowledge||Play with crafts, explore new things (track!), on-line classes, new recipes|
- 2020 WOTY: RELEASE so I can be the true me – active, connected, creative, contemplative.
- Separate Authentic Me Statement – my “I AM” statements, encompassing affirmations and empowering statements to release self-limiting beliefs, are now a separate element. Still important, and even longer than before, but no longer the “vision statement”.
What I like about my current vision statement and action plan? Separating my I Am statement and focusing on 4 key words, which are tightly linked with my values, drives clarity and connectivity. The Intention Areas line up, my tracking tools line up, and I was able to link my WOTY to my vision statement. As I reviewed this statement and intention areas recently as part of my Covid-19 reflection time, it still felt “right”.
Although I was a strong proponent of the “I AM” vision statement, it started to feel cumbersome. Now, my 4-word phrase easily articulates my retirement lifestyle vision and links everything together from my values to my real daily & weekly activities.
Have you refined your retirement lifestyle vision statement through the years? What format(s) do you find helpful?
P.S. This is my first blog post with the new block writer… so bear with me as I learn the new formatting tools!!