After dealing with the many challenges of your career, you may find yourself craving some time to do nothing at all in retirement. You might want nothing more than to slow down and take life as it comes. But after the initial honeymoon period of retirement has run its course and you have had time to decompress a bit, you may start thinking about how to occupy yourself for the next 20 or more years. You will have many years at your disposal, and you need to decide what activities you would like to focus on. Here are five retirement goals to consider:
Second career. For some people retirement offers the chance to finally change careers. A job that left you feeling underappreciated can be replaced with an entirely new pursuit. Without the financial burden of making ends meet, you can pursue a second career that focuses on what you really enjoy doing. And retirement jobs don't necessarily have to be full time. You could find a position with an abbreviated work week or work only part of the year. Best of all, if for some reason your new job does not work out, you can walk away and find something else that better suits your preferences.
Reinvent yourself. If a new career is not for you, retirement may be the perfect time to reinvent yourself. Not all of the skills you developed on the job necessarily translate well into life as a retiree. Working long hours and racking up achievements often serves you well in the workplace, but could make it difficult to relax and take life slower in retirement. When you are no longer forced to conform to the requirements of a job, you are free to focus on aspects of your personality that better equip you to enjoy retired living.
Create. Retirement can allow you to pay more attention to your creative side. Many working folks are forced to hold back their creative energies because they don't have time for it. In retirement you can unleash the writer, singer, actor or painter you always wanted to be. And since you are free from requirements to provide a living, your success can be measured in the pleasure you experience pursuing your passion.
Relax. You don't necessarily have to do something meaningful or significant every day of your retirement. You are free to do as much or as little as you want. As long as you enjoy what you do with your time your retirement is a success. There is always room for some down time in a balanced retirement. When I was in my sales career, we constantly talked about goals. We often set stretch goals designed to make you push yourself beyond what you believed yourself capable of doing. But now I cannot remember a single stretch goal from my working days. Now I look forward to creating goals that matter to me personally instead of the company.
The beauty of retirement is there is only one person measuring your success against the goals you set -- you. Enough already with aggressive goals and impossible deadlines. If you miss the target your job is not on the line. Should you decide you want to change direction, you require no approval by committee and can just do it. Retirement goals can be helpful guidelines to focus your efforts and inspire your days and are not rigid requirements.
In retirement you get to decide what you want to do. If you want to make productive use of your time as a retiree you have many options to volunteer, create something new or work at a second career on your own terms. But if none of those options appeals to you, you can even decide to do nothing at all.
Dave Bernard is the author of "I Want To Retire! Essential Considerations for the Retiree to Be." Although not yet retired, he focuses on identifying and understanding the essential components of a fulfilling and meaningful retirement. He shares his discoveries and insights on his blog Retirement-Only The Beginning.