Rather than being a time to slow down, retirement can be a chance to try new experiences and become the best version of yourself.
Retirement can come in many forms. It may be the end to a long and loved career, a natural close to a working life or an unexpected or unplanned end to a current job. And whether your retirement is planned or not, it can be an exciting yet daunting prospect for everyone.
Instead of falling into old habits or monotonous routines, the new-found time that retirement provides is a fantastic way to reimagine your life. In this article, we take a look at 10 small changes that anyone can make in their retirement, that could transform life for the better.
1. Keep a Diary
You may be surprised, but keeping a diary can cause a significant change in your outlook on life. As little as a simple sentence, each day will be enough to keep track of important changes. Keeping a journal or diary is an excellent way to keep track and document new hobbies, friends and behaviours, it will give you the chance to get to know yourself a little better and stick to resolutions. You’ll may also notice that you can commit to new ideas and initiatives better, after all, if it is written down, and diarised, you feel more obliged to follow it through. Read your diary back each week and spot any changes that you can make to enable you to live the life you want in your retirement.
2. Pick and Book One Experience That You Would Never Usually Do
You know that thing you’ve always wanted to do but never tried? Retirement is the perfect time to do it! It doesn’t have to be quite as ambitious as sky-diving or climbing Ben Nevis, but whatever you choose needs to be something that you would usually say no to. Perhaps your experience could be seeing a film, trying a cocktail making class or going to an art gallery?
Whatever you choose to do, it could be the start of a new outlook on life and you may see new personality traits appear that you didn’t realise you had. Don’t be afraid to use this time to try new thing. You never know, next year you may be parachuting from a plane!
3. Say Yes!
Like trying new experiences, saying yes can give you a new perspective on many things. You’ll find yourself in new situations, new places and you’ll have exciting discoveries about what you do and don’t like. Whether it’s food, a place, clothing or activities, you’ll soon find out new things about yourself.
Saying yes is a wonderful way to meet new people and make friends. It’s also an excellent way for more introverted people to step out of their comfort zone, often placing them in more group and social surroundings.
4. Get Rid of Five Things You Don’t Need
Letting go of items from the past can be difficult, but holding on to too much can be unhealthy and impact your mindset. Declutter your mind and home by getting rid of five things that you no longer use, and give yourself the opportunity to replace them with something that reflects your new lease of life.
You may choose an item of clothing, a book or an old TV or radio that no longer gets any use. You can either donate to charity, take it to your local recycling centre or even pass on to someone else who may make use of the item. Whatever you decide on removing, opt for something that has had no use for at least six months.
5. Buy an Item of Clothing You’ve Always Been Too Scared to Wear
Let your personality shine with a new piece of clothing that you’ve never felt confident enough to wear. When it comes to retirement, it’s time to throw many of your social anxieties and worries out of the window… you’ve spent long enough having to worry about them!
Again, take small steps with this one, unless you’re feeling extra brave! Test the water with a new accessory or small item of clothing - perhaps a hat, scarf or pair of shoes in a colour which maybe weren’t suitable the workplace. You’ll notice this small gesture of change can make a big difference in your mindset, and you may start applying new found confidence to other areas in your life.
6. Create a Monthly Challenge
Creating a monthly challenge is an excellent way to break-down an overall goal and reach it in smaller steps. Alternately, you can use it to set yourself smaller, more regular goals that could impact the way you live your life.
Monthly challenges can include those to improve your social interactions, health, intelligence or mental strength. Once you have decided on your challenge, set yourself small, easy-to-achieve tasks throughout the month. For example, if you plan to increase your social interactions, you could choose to write a thank you note on week one, say hello to three new people on week two and compliment someone on week three!
7. Start a New Club
Try your hand at something new, and discover a hidden talent, passion or social group that you adore. Starting a new club in retirement is particularly helpful for those who have passed their retirement ‘honeymoon’ phase, and are possibly struggling to fill their time. A club will give you a weekly routine, social group and additional tasks and things you can do at home too.
You could try an artistic club such as life drawing, painting or pottery, or you could volunteer at your local community group or gardens. When deciding on your club, think back to trying new experiences and stepping out of your usual comfort zone - it’s an excellent way to test something new!
8. Eliminate One Thing From Your Diet
Instead of starting a strict diet or fad food trend, keep it simple and eliminate one thing from your diet that you may overindulge in, or that gives your body negative effects. It could be saying goodbye to two sugar cups-of-tea, milk chocolate, or eliminating custard creams with your afternoon tea. Alternately, it could be getting rid of alcohol or milk!
By getting rid of something small and less-daunting, you’ll find it easier to say no to the bigger things, and you may even notice that you’re picking healthier options more regularly. Always make sure to update your doctor of any diet changes or concerns, first.
9. Create a One-Page Bucket List
Creating a bucket list can make many retirees feel more inclined to step out of their shell, try new things and make the most of their life. However, if we take notes from films and TV, bucket lists can often be filled with extravagant and overly expensive or difficult things to do. Rather than overwhelming yourself, create a list of 10 experiences. The more refined it is, the easier it is for you to hit your target and the less likely it will feel unachievable.
Speak to your family and friends about things that you’d like to do together, and think back to things you always said you’d do but never got round to. Don’t worry whether these may feel like simple or smaller tasks, or even whether they feel self-centred; your bucket list is about you – making sure you do exactly what you want.
10. Book a Holiday for May
Give yourself something to look forward to by booking a holiday halfway through the year. Not only will it provide you with a focus, but also a break from your usual routine and the opportunity to try new experiences, meet new people and do something different.
Your holiday doesn’t need to be a lavish one overseas however, it could be a trip to the heart of British countryside or coast instead.