Retirement Goals

June 26, 2009

Goal setting is one of my “Top Ten Retirement Activities.” But it is sufficiently important in my view to deserve treatment as a stand-alone topic.

As we learned during our working careers, setting goals is important for making progress, and assuring that things get done in a timely way and in a quality fashion. This is no less true in retirement. Ask yourself:

What do you want to accomplish with the rest of your life?
What do you want to build or create?
Where do you want to go?
What do you want to see?
What do you want to experience?
How can you give back for all you’ve received?
What to want to learn?
What do you want to do for others?
Who do you want to spend time with? Doing what?
What can you do to improve your physical well-being?
Do you need to do anything to get your spiritual house in order?

While all of us will have some financial, physical and perhaps other restraints around our answers to these questions, they are important to ask. The answers give us a sense of direction about how we can remain engaged and live our lives as fully as possible.

Consider making two lists:
1. Things to accomplish before I die (sort of the ultimate deadline or “bucket list”).
2. Things to accomplish by December, ______ (12 or more months away).

These can become your long and short term goals. Ideally, at least some of the goals in list 2 should help you make progress toward your goals in List 1. As with goals set in the work environment, your short and long term goals can and should be modified based on changing circumstances and new insights.

You may want to share your lists with your spouse or significant other (he or she may have lists also). This can be helpful as a reality check and for managing expectations. Perhaps you want to want to have some joint goals. But it remains important that you have goals of your own for which you will hold yourself accountable.

At the end of your short term goal period, assess how you did. Did you accomplish what you set out to do? (Pat on the back?) Did you add or drop goals? Is there anything you fell short on? Should some goals be carried over into the next short term goal period? What additional goals do you want to set? Are there any changes to your long term goals?

As you go through this process, it may be helpful to assure you are setting goals that will help you remain active intellectually, socially and physically.

R. Kevin Price

© 2008-2009 R.K. Price