Congratulations as you reach the point where work has become optional. How do you successfully transition into the next chapter in ‘This is Your Life’?
Think of your life like a story with a cast of characters, various settings, highs and lows, twists and turns. Writing down that story can be a meaningful way to reflect, practice gratitude, and plan for your future, especially at such transitional moments when one chapter closes, and another begins.
Yes, money will help you fund a purpose, but money will not help you FIND a purpose.
This simple idea helps you start your retirement chapter. Adding journaling to your daily routine could provide significant benefits that will improve your return on life, which I can personally vouch for.
1 – Add some structure to your day.
In my career of over 25 years as a Financial Planner, I have seen retirees initially struggle to organise their days without work.
A journaling habit is a small way to start building a successful retirement schedule.
Morning journaling could take the form of writing down daily to-do lists, exercise, shopping, meal plans, or anything else you want to accomplish today.
Crack open your notebook before bed and reflect on what went right today, what went wrong, memorable events that made today special, and what you’re looking forward to tomorrow.
2 – Improve your self-understanding.
When navigating a significant life transition, it’s easy to get so wrapped up in managing details that we act and react more than we think.
Journaling can prompt us to ask basic but essential questions, such as, what am I feeling? Why did I say that to my partner? What am I trying to accomplish?
How could I handle this transition better? What would make my days in retirement more fulfilling? Who are the people I want my retirement to revolve around?
Why am I so worried about money? What’s important to me at this stage of my life? What are the core values that I want to live by in retirement?
Taking this a step further, ask yourself, is the answer you give to any question in your head; ‘true’, ‘false’ or have I ‘made it up’? We assign so much of how we act based on what we think, made up from false or made-up answers and assumptions in our heads.
Of course, the trick with writing it down in a journal means we can come back and catch ourselves doing these things later. It’s not an immediate fix, but it’s a start.
3 – Maintain positive mental health.
Numerous scientific studies have found that journaling can significantly impact your mental health, from reducing stress and anxiety to improving your ability to moderate your emotions.
Many people new to journaling try to write a daily reflection on something they are grateful for.
A study published in the University of California, Berkeley’s Greater Good Magazine found that practising gratitude can impact your thoughts, feelings, and the brain itself.
Researchers divided college students receiving counselling at the school into three groups.
One group was asked to write a letter expressing gratitude to another person every week for three weeks. The second group was asked to write about a negative experience. And the third didn’t write anything at all.
After three weeks, the gratitude writers reported significantly better mental health, even after their writing ended.
4 – Assess your goals and your progress.
The most effective path towards any long-term goal follows one step at a time.
You could use your journal to track and reflect on those daily stepping-stone goals, whether trying to improve your exercise habits, learning a new language, scheduling more personal time with your grandchildren, or saving for a household renovation.
You may feel yourself moving closer to your goals by memorialising your progress. You can also reflect on why you fell short on certain days and use those learnings to develop new strategies and habits to help you catch up tomorrow.
On the other hand, your journaling might reveal that the goals you’re working towards don’t excite you as much as they used to.
As you write about your feelings, you might discover new goals to make your retirement more fulfilling.
How do you feel about the retirement story you’re writing?
If you need extra help editing, call and let’s meet to discuss how our Financial Planning process can keep improving your narrative and lead to an EPIC ‘Retirement’.