Having a sense of purpose in life is what motivates us. It shapes our goals, guides our decisions, and influences our actions. Throughout most of our adult lives, our sense of purpose and meaning is driven in large part by the work we do. People often invest time and energy into their careers, but once they hit retirement, individuals sometimes struggle to maintain that sense of purpose. For anyone in that situation, here are a few tips for finding and keeping your sense of purpose beyond retirement.
Start By Asking Yourself Some Questions
An individual’s sense of purpose is unique to that individual. There’s no “one size fits all” solution to help you discover your purpose in life. However, there are some questions that you can ask yourself to help determine your motivations and priorities in life. Ask yourself:
- What have I always wanted to achieve?
- Do I want to make a difference? How?
- Do I have a lifelong dream that I would like to pursue?
- What activities help me to feel fulfilled?
- What makes me excited to get out of bed in the morning?
Your answers to these questions can help you to discover your priorities and what motivates you. Finding your sense of purpose is all about what makes getting out of bed in the morning worthwhile for you. Think of the activities you enjoy or ones you used to enjoy but haven’t made the time for in recent years. Now is the perfect time to take up these activities again.
Adjust Your Mindset
Sometimes the key to finding meaning in our lives is a matter of perspective. Many people think of retiring from their careers – in other words, leaving those days behind. And while there’s nothing wrong with taking time just to relax and reflect on a lifetime of career achievements and milestones, switching your perspective to what you’re retiring to can help you determine what purpose you’d like your life to take on as you retire. For example, rather than saying, “I’m retiring after 35 years of teaching,” one could say, “I’m retiring to be able to spend more time with my grandchildren and travel.” That slight tweaking of perspective can make a big difference in how you view life after retirement.
Talk to Others
Those who are married may want to discuss retirement plans and goals with their spouse, perhaps you’ll realize you have some goals in common. Talk with others who have retired and see how they’ve handled retirement and what activities they have become involved with. It’s always good to be able to connect with others who have had similar experiences or who have similar interests. Sometimes they can help you discover meaningful opportunities.
Keep Yourself Active & Fit
Last but certainly not least, prioritize your health – both physical and mental. By staying active, you’ll always have something interesting to look forward to, and by exercising regularly, you’ll ensure you have enough energy to do the things you enjoy most. The better physical and emotional shape you’re in, the more you’ll be able to do as you age.