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Getting On With Living

October 18, 2020 by  
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As mentioned last week, retirement has challenges that aren’t always anticipated and so I gave you some ideas to overcome that. This week, I have more ideas to help you deal with the struggles that many people have when they retire, including me. Even if you are not retiring now or anytime soon these ideas and methods can still enhance your life.

When I found that I was struggling with retirement I sought answers in a few very helpful books written on that very subject and what I learned helped me a ton. By the way, the current pandemic can have us struggling in a similar way as our routines and schedules are thrown out of whack.

Elaine St. James wrote a great little book titled, Inner Simplicity: 100 Ways to Regain Peace and Nourish Your Soul. ln the book, she talks about how important it is to have a routine and follow a schedule that you set up for yourself, retired or not. Of course, before we are retired, most of us have a routine and schedule due to our job and family but most of that goes away as we enter retirement.

For St. James, “inner simplicity” means creating joy in our lives and staying connected with that joy every moment of the day. When many of us retire, along with a loss of routine, we may stop or reduce how connected we are to our joy which is due in part to our reduced connection to other people, like work associates and even friends.

St. James goes on to say, “Now that I’ve simplified my life, I find it easy to get up at the crack of dawn, or even earlier. In that quiet time, I can do you yoga and stretching, write in my journal, do some deep breathing, work on affirmations and visualizations, meditate or have some quiet time to just sit and think.” That’s some very good stuff we can learn from and follow.

Another great book is What Will I Do All Day?: Wisdom to Get You Over Retirement and on with Living!, by Patrice Jenkins, PHD. She talks a lot about energy and also notes how much we get from working with other people when we are on the job.

She asks, “How do you discover your work’s energy source? Think about what parts of your work you enjoy most. Is there one part of your work that charges you with high-octane fuel? “

She continues with suggestions and probing questions. “Maybe your energy source comes from being involved in teamwork with coworkers. If you have already retired, you may have insight on what parts of your work provided you with the most energy. Was it a chance to help people, to teach, to solve problems, or be physically active? ”

Later, she makes this great point: “Once you have identified your energy source, you will know what it is that you’ll want to keep alive in retirement.”

Wow, that’s some great advice and it has helped me a ton. I hope this will help you if you are retired or planning for when that day arrives, or even through this terrible pandemic. Routines, staying in touch with people, and knowing the source of our energy can help us through unexpected struggles and back to living a full life.

 

Bad Habits into Good

January 26, 2020 by  
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Most of us humans have at least a few bad habits. I certainly have a few. In last week’s blog, I listed 30 fairly common bad habits, but now I want to list a few proven ways to change or drop those bad ones.

  1. It is wise to first take some time, maybe a week or two, thinking about your habits, which ones you want to change and why, before you begin trying to drop or alter the bad ones.
  2. Try to figure out what triggers a particular bad habit.
  3. See yourself as a coach and direct yourself like you think, or know, a coach would.
  4. Make small changes at first.
  5. Identify good reasons you want to stop that bad habit.
  6. Identify the cause of the bad habit, like stress or boredom.
  7. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
  8. Think about what good habits you can use to replace the bad habit.
  9. Focus on how much good changing that bad habit will do for your life.
  10. Get a friend or relative to help coach you.
  11. Try not to hang out with people that have the same bad habit. Seek out new or other friends that don’t have the same bad habit.
  12. Form a new routine that keeps you away from the triggers that moves you into the bad habit.
  13. Develop substitute routines, plans, and actions.
  14. Reward yourself each time you resist the bad habit.
  15. Visualize and see yourself succeeding.

A very dear and very smart friend of mine said this about habits:

“Habits are driven by a 3 part loop. 1. TRIGGER–the stimulus that starts the habit. 2. ROUTINE–the doing of the habit and behavior itself. 3. REWARD–the benefits associated with the behavior.

By the way, one of my rather good habits was aggressively pursuing very successful people and picking their brain about how they made their millions. One of the best, who turned out to be a very good friend, was this guy who I just quoted. His name was Zig Ziglar. He was a super successful guy in many, many ways. He motivated me and many thousands or others big time. Sadly, he is no longer with us but his legend and what he taught me, and so many others, lives on forever.

 

Refilling Your Social Life in a Fulfilling Retirement

February 8, 2019 by  
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The great thing about regular work or a job is that it gives you a good reason to get out of bed each morning and get going, and it is very important when you retire is to set something up that replaces that for you. One way to do that, as I mentioned in last week’s post, is put yourself to work in a way that can better the world.

As you push yourself to get involved with a charity, or whatever it is that you choose, you will find that you can replace what your work gave you in terms of structure and routine with the activities of your new mission. This will give you something to get you out of bed but, just as important, that structure and routine will also give you a new social aspect to your life.

Most of us develop a significant social life that revolves around work, but then, when we retire, this is often lost. So, getting involved in a charity or other organization can replace what you are missing when you leave your job or no longer work. It will do all that while you do a little something to make the world a better place.

Most of us humans really don’t realize how very important our social contacts are until they disappear or are greatly diminished when we retire. It’s not that you won’t know those same people or continue to have great friendships with some of them, but when you’re no longer working together, you are suddenly not nearly as involved in each other’s lives and you don’t see each other nearly so often. Most people will greatly miss the regular social contact if they do not replace it with another purposeful and regular activity that also involves time connecting and interacting with other people.

Each of us will have our own plan but here is what I plan on doing to push myself to create a new routine, structure, and source of social connections in my life that will make me get out of bed every morning and look forward to the day: I would like to teach grade school, high school, and university students in classes on writing, marketing, public speaking, financial methods and strategies, and maybe even tennis, on a regular scheduled time and day. I know quite a bit about all those subjects, and I do love to teach others how to do these things and show them how they can have great success and a huge sense of fulfillment and satisfaction from learning these new skills.

So, my challenge to you is to start thinking about your own retirement and start making plans on what you will do to create routine, structure, and social connections. Make a list now, even if you are many years away from retirement. You can change up that list as things come to you but just being aware of the necessity will help you create a fulfilling plan. You won’t be sorry if you do that now!

Retirement Can Create a Better World

February 1, 2019 by  
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I want to write a bit more about last week’s theme of retirement – how it can be good, bad or sometimes very ugly. Even if you are many years away from retirement, you can make your retirement much better and have an easier transition if you are aware of some of the pitfalls that many people stumble into when they retire. I want to share a few secrets to making your retirement transition quite comfortable and pleasant.

Part of the reason I want to share these points is that, for me, retirement came close to driving me seriously crazy. It made me feel worthless and caused me to have big mood swings. Last week I wrote about some of the great and promising ideas from Patrice Jenkin’s book, What Will I Do All Day. She points out that many people go into retirement without realizing how critically important it is for them to still have routine and structure in their lives. Most people’s work lives automatically give them those two critical things. Plus, their work usually results in a lot of measurable production which lifts the human mind and spirit and gives us great personal satisfaction. The huge problem comes when a person retires and most, if not all, of those satisfying items quickly disappear. One other thing that also goes away or is often greatly diminished is one’s social life!

So, what is an excellent antidote to the retirement blues and the great letdown? In one word it’s WORK. But it has to be much more than just busy work. It has to be meaningful and productive.  Ideally, it’s doing something that you love and something that helps other people. It should be something that helps make the world a better place because, although you don’t really need to make a dime out of doing that work, it needs to be purposeful.

For me, the answer was going for the great feelings I get from donating my time and money to charity work. What is especially appealing to me is helping kids. Even doing a little thing like reading to them or telling simple, fun stories on a regular basis is fulfilling and purposeful. Even more fulfilling for me is teaching, because of my background and my passion.

I’ve done a little of this already, but I’ve just begun this particular new mission in life. The time I spend with the kids involves simple things but it is now part of my routine and structure and is a huge mood lifter for both me and the kids. A similar mission could do the same for you no matter what charity you choose. In a small but growing way, we can make the world a better place all while staying fulfilled and purposeful in our retirement.

Three More Buried Secrets

July 31, 2015 by  
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A secret is some bit of knowledge that is kept from someone or many someones. Last week I spotlighted those truly terrible secrets … the ones we hid from ourselves! When you are trying to accomplish something that is challenging or simply hard to stick to, you need every tool you can get your hands on. But so often, we have been given these tools and then hide them away. Why is that?

Well, if you read last week’s post, you now know (or have been reminded!) what some of the most important ‘secrets’ are to accomplishing both small and large goals. But wait … there’s more! Let’s take a look at some of the other great ‘secret’ tools you have available to you to make your dreams happen!

No. 5: Establish a routine and keep with it until your routine has truly become a hard and fast ‘habit’!

This is a big one. Form the right habits and you can change your life forever.  You know as well as I do that this is true whether the habit is a good one or a bad one.  Scientist have determined that it takes anywhere between 21 and 66 days to form a solid habit, depending on the person. You and I must stick with the routines that are leading us toward our goals long enough that they become rock solid routines.  If we do that, we’ll see that sticking to our plans and reaching our goals will become easier and easier.

No. 6:  Break down those big goals into what I like to call ‘bite-sized’ steps.  For most of us, and I know for me, if I don’t break it down into small goals or bite sized tasks, those big goals can break me down. Why? Because those big, long term goals can overwhelm the mind and shut a person down. It’s easier to do the small stuff and they eventually add up to something big!

No. 7: Set up a reward system for yourself. That is, when you hit your goal and maybe even along the way as you take those bite sized steps or reach intermediate points or milestones of success, take time to celebrate your victory. You can reward yourself with a special night out on the town or a huge getaway vacation to an exotic place. Whatever it is, make it super special and something that you will always remember.

That is a long list of ‘secrets’ you can use to help you reach your goals. But one last thought–If you don’t hit your goal or you miss a deadline, don’t be too hard on yourself.  Remember, some of the most successful people on the planet had many, many failures as they pursued their big goals.  It really is okay to fail–almost everybody does at some point or another. The thing is, failure can lead to even greater successes, so if you fail and fall down be sure to get right back up, reload and reset and keep going!