Transforming Your Retirement: Creating Vision Boards

Now that we know what a vision board is and how powerful it can be in helping in transforming your retirement, it’s time to create a vision board.

Tools and Materials
Creating a vision board can be as simple as cutting photos out of a magazine and tacking them up on your office bulletin board, or it can be as complex as a hand-made frame with personal photos and trinkets. There are at least 3 basic ways you can proceed:

• Digital: Created with software designed for the task, or with Photoshop or some other image-editing tool. Ease of use is the obvious benefit with this kind of vision board, because you can quickly add and edit your board.
• Physical: Paper, bulletin boards, whiteboards, or even a wall in your home with hanging pictures. Your creative options are endless here, but your vision board will obviously be less portable.
• Mobile: Created on an app made for tablets and phones. The advantage here is that you’ll have your vision board with you everywhere you go.

Regardless of which type you choose, remember this before you begin to work on your vision board:

“So, what’s the big secret to creating a vision board that works? It’s simple: Your vision board should focus on how you want to feel, not just on things that you want. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to include the material stuff, too. However, the more your board focuses on how you want to feel, the more it will come to life.” – Elizabeth Rider, “The Reason Vision Boards Work and How to Make Them”, TheHuffington Post Blog, 01/12/2015

Another thing Elizabeth Rider says in the above post is that “There is only one major rule to creating a vision board that works, and it’s that there aren’t any rules. You aren’t going to mess it up, you can create your vision board on your own terms.”

Creating Physical Vision Boards
Remember when you were a kid in art class? Your vision board materials can be just as much fun—especially if you’re creating a physical board to hang on your wall.

Start by gathering up a selection of materials to work with:
• Swatches of fabric and ribbon
• A stack of old magazines (hit up your local library for their outdated copies)
• Colored pencils and markers
• Construction paper
• Poster board
• Crayons
• Glue and tape
• Scissors
• Stamps & ink pads

Flip through the magazines. Resist the urge to get sucked into the articles, and instead, concentrate on how you feel as you see the photos. Do they make you happy? Do you smile at a particular shot? Does it bring to mind a particular goal or dream? Cut out the images that speak to you in some way.

Don’t worry about organizing them or categorizing them at this point. For now, just make a stack of images that have meaning for you.

Next, take your board—and it can be a single piece of paper, a full-size poster board, or even the bulletin board in your office—and begin arranging your images, quotes and other materials.

You can have a single board with areas devoted to each aspect of your life, or a different board for each. Your board can be a hodgepodge of random images, or a carefully laid out plan that progresses naturally from one to the next. It can be color coordinated or not. Ultimately, it has to please no one but you, so let your creativity flow.

Don’t be afraid to use your pencils and markers to decorate your board, draw attention to certain images, or divide it into distinct quadrants. You can add dates and dollar figures if you like, or the names of people you want to think of as you work with it. Most importantly, just have fun.

Creating Digital Boards
Digital boards have the advantage of being portable, so you can enjoy and be inspired by them anywhere. Plus, they’re easy to recreate and re-imagine as your goals, dreams and values change.

There are several web-based apps that will help you create your boards that you can consider. One favorite is DreamItAlive.com, which not only provides the tools to create your “dreamboard” (as they call it) but also a community of like-minded dreamers to support and encourage you. Best of all, Dream It Alive is free to join.
Use vision boards to bring your dreams and goals to life as you are transforming your retirement into a beautiful time of life.

Transforming Your Retirement: Vision Boards Work in Many Areas of Life

Vision boards can affect various aspects of your life as you are transforming your retirement. When you create your vision board, regardless of which of life’s aspects you’re focusing on, be sure to look for images and words that make you feel the way you imagine you’ll feel when you achieve your goal. It’s not about what you want to have. It’s about how you want to feel.

Any area of your life can benefit from a vision board. Here are some key areas with some tips.

Self-Care
How’s your health? For many people over 50 years old`, it could be better.

How can a vision board help? By making it clear how much better you will feel (there’s that word again) when you do eat healthy, exercise, and are hydrated.

A vision board filled with images of fun activities in relaxing locations is just the thing to remind you—the next time you reach for another slice of pizza—that you’re working toward an achievable goal.

Family & Friends
We don’t often think of vision boards as being helpful with building relationships, but give it a try. First think about…
• What kind of relationships do you want to have?
• What’s most important to you as a spouse? Parent? Son or daughter? Friend?
• How do you want your spouse to feel when he sees you?
• How do you want your kids to feel when they’re teenagers?

Fill your vision board with items that represent the best relationships you can imagine, and soon enough, you’ll begin creating those bonds in your own life.

Recreation and Adventure
This might be the easiest area. Include both things that you could easily do and the big dream trips or adventures. Focus on how you will feel when you are doing these things.

With your vision board populated with meaningful images, thoughtful and motivating quotes, inspirational messages, and plenty of creativity, even these big scary goals suddenly feel much more attainable.

Finances
A creative vision board can help with your financial goals, too. Start by asking yourself…
• What does financial freedom mean to me?
• How can I change the world if I earn more money?
• What charities will I support when I start earning $xxx?

Then find the images that represent the feeling of fulfillment and joy you’ll have as you’re able to achieve these goals and more. Maybe that’s a photo of needy children your church group helps support, or an animal rescue organization you love. Or maybe it’s just a big pile of money so you can retire young and live on a yacht. It’s your dream, and it can be anything you want it to be.

These areas and others are all part of transforming your retirement into a time of joy and fulfillment. Vision boards are a tool to help you do that.

Transforming Your Retirement: The Power of Vision Boards

In the process of transforming your retirement, vision boards can help you be and do the things you desire. How? You have probably heard of the law of attraction, which some years ago became widely known through the movie and book, The Secret. Simply stated, when we focus on something, we attract more of it, whether positive or negative.

If you spend all your time worrying about money, it seems to slip right through your fingers. If you obsess over your weight, the pounds stubbornly hold on. And if you daydream about relaxing in the Caribbean sun, you’re a lot more likely to find yourself on a beach chair in the near future.

This isn’t some airy-fairy make-believe, either. We’ve known for decades that daydreams have power, and that purposeful visualization is the key to greater success in every area of life.

Top athletes practice endlessly, not only on the field, but in their minds. They actually see that perfect shot, winning race, or stunning back flip. They concentrate on the minute movements that make it possible, how their muscles will react every second, and how they will feel at the end of a stellar performance. This type of visualization creates neural pathways in our brains that are virtually indistinguishable from those caused by completing the act itself.
The result? Nearly the same as with actual, physical practice.

It works the same way for you. When you visualize your ideal retirement years, your happy home life, your dream vacation, and even your income goals, you’re primed to achieve them. And you’ll meet those goals much faster and with fewer stumbles than if you simply list your goals (and deadlines) on a calendar.

Like anything though, effective visualization takes practice. As kids, we spend much of our time daydreaming and playacting, but those are skills we lose as we age. A vision board can help kick start those creative visualization skills again.

Here’s another benefit of creating a vision board: It will boost your spirits when you face life’s inevitable struggles. Having a bad day? Spend some time working on your vision board, and you’ll feel noticeably lighter at heart.
Feeling overwhelmed? Take a look at your vision board for an instant reminder of why you’re working hard now, and what you stand to gain from it.

Struggling to reach a client? Read through some of the beautiful things other clients have shared about their journey with you. You’ll be immediately reminded about how valuable you are, and why you do what you do.

Vision boards can be effective in many areas of life – health, family and friends, leisure, finances, learning, etc. As you continue transforming your retirement, vision boards can help you focus on those things that will give you joy and fulfillment.

Transforming Your Retirement: Introducing Vision Boards to Achieve Your Dreams

As you are transforming your retirement into a joyful and fulfilling time, you need tools to help you focus on your goals and dreams. Too often we think of goal setting and creating big changes in your life as requiring lists and deadlines – the kind of things we might want to leave behind as we transition from structured jobs and careers.
We look at that list of dates and to-dos and we’re instantly overwhelmed with the enormity of it all, so we file it away for “later.” And often “later” will be never. So looking for other tools is a great idea. We have dreams of how our retirement years can be, and that’s what vision boards are all about: dreaming. In fact they are sometimes called dream boards.

Rather than a bland calendar or spreadsheet with dates and impressive sounding goals on them, vision boards give you the creativity to let your dreams grow. It is a visual tool that helps you feel the achievement of your goals and dreams. That’s the real power of a vision board.

What Exactly is a Vision Board?

It’s a collection of images, quotes and symbols that have meaning to you and which represent your life as you would like it to be. Vision boards come in many different formats, both digital and physical. We’ll talk more about that later, but for now, let’s take a look at the components of vision boards.

Images. By far the most common item on vision boards are images: photos, drawings, mind maps, sketches or anything else that has some meaning for you. For example, if world travel is one of your goals, you might include photos of historic landmarks you want to visit, or airplanes or ships (imagine the feeling of freedom associated with those).

Motivational messages. Your vision board might include messages you see posted on social media, phrases you read and jot down in your journal, or even testimonials from your clients or nice things others have said about you. Anything that’s motivational to YOU.

Inspiring quotes. Inspiration is different for everyone, and the sources are endless. You probably already have favorite quotes; expand those by doing Google searches by topic or by person.

Everything else. What else inspires or motivates you? The blue ribbon your grandmother’s quilt won at the state fair? A small vial of sand from that secluded beach you’ll retire to someday? Vision boards can include these treasures as well. You just might have to be a little creative when it comes to adding them.

Transforming your retirement calls for new tools like Vision Boards. See additional posts for more specifics on how to create and use them.

Transforming Your Retirement: What if My Current Relationships Improve and I Create New Ones Regularly?

It’s easy to get in a rut with our relationships over the years. We may not even notice what had evolved into comfortable, known patterns are now more of a rut. As we individually travel down our life journey, our needs change but our relationships don’t always evolve along with them. If we haven’t moved or changed jobs for many years, our circle of friends, co-workers, neighbors and acquaintances may not have changed too much.

As we change our status from employed to retired, it dramatically affects our relationships. Let’s look at some of those relationships, how they will change, and how to re-create them during this time of change.

Relationships with Your Spouse or Whoever Lives in Your Home with You

You will likely be spending much more time with the people in your household during retirement even if they still go to a job each day. Take some time before you retire if possible to discuss what this change will mean for all of you. Here are some topics you may want to look at.

+ Household maintenance responsibilities. What are your expectations of how that will change; what are theirs? Especially if they still go to a job, their expectations may be that you will have time to do all of the cleaning, cooking, etc. That may not be your expectation. Discuss this and negotiate if necessary.
+ Household expenses and budget. Be sure you’re on the same page about this as soon as possible.
+ Any hints that there are new issues caused by your new status. Raise them sooner rather than later. This can be an exciting time of reformulating and renewing your relationship.

Relationships with Other Family Members

You’ve probably anticipated that family members who are still working will be thinking or saying, “S/he is retired now; s/he can do that.” It may be planning the next family gathering, taking a larger share of caretaking or support for an elderly relative, taking care of grandchildren or other children in the family…you get the idea. To minimize the friction about such issues, be proactive in informing family members what your intentions are as you move into retirement. Let them know what you will be doing with “all that time.” If you are willing to take on some additional things as noted above, say that also. If there are not-so-positive responses, it’s better to work them out early than to have tension and negativity. Invite them to celebrate your new status and plans. You will also be modeling how they can make the transition themselves

Relationships with Your Former Co-Workers

You probably spent more hours with them in a given week than with any of your friends and perhaps even family members, and now they will be outside of your daily orbit. At the farewell lunch or party, you will probably talk about getting together regularly as a group or at least with a few of your closest friends. This can be a good transition strategy for you because abruptly cutting off all of those relationships can be an emotional loss. Unless you are leaving under negative circumstances, keeping some contact with the organization and the work may be a positive move.
As you continue relationships, be alert for any signs that this has become an obligation on either side rather than a genuine desire for contact. If this happens, you have a couple of choices: decrease the frequency of get-togethers or together redefine your relationship. Rather than the occasional lunch during a workday which tends to put the meeting in the context of work, do something else together in the evening or on the weekend. Develop new shared experiences this way.

Relationships with Friends Outside the Workplace

Maybe you have retired friends who will assume that you are free and ready to spend lots of additional time with them now. If you agree on that, great! If you want to spend your time differently than they do, however, here’s another opportunity for early direct communication. Have a conversation focused on your transition to retirement, your plans and dreams and how your relationship with them fits into that. You will build the foundation of the next phase of your relationship and could even inspire them to be more intentional about their retirement lives.
As you are transforming your retirement into that joyful, meaningful time, you will also meet new people and form new relationships. This can be one of the greatest parts of these years.

Transforming Your Retirement: What if You Generated Any Needed Income in Creative, Fun, Fulfilling Ways?

It is very possible that a significant number of baby boomer retirees will need to generate additional income during retirement. As the economy has had ups and downs, savings, investments and pensions have been affected. Companies have even reneged on promised pensions and paid health to retirees. Others were already low on savings and had inadequate pensions.

Transforming your retirement may include some income-generating activity so that you can afford to do the things you most want to do. One of the most important mindset issues is to replace concern, fear and worry with positive expectation and belief that there are many more ways to earn income than we realize.

Part time jobs fit some people’s needs; independent work rather than an hourly job will be appealing to many of you. You can be a consultant, a virtual assistant, a writer, or have your own business – online or offline, brick and mortar or virtual, free standing or direct sales through network marketing, to name a few options.

Once you have expanded your horizons about what the range of possibilities are, the challenge is to determine the best match for you. Let’s examine some possibilities.

Using your knowledge and skills to earn money

Grab your handy notebook or computer file and do the following:
Make a chart (if doing by hand) or spreadsheet (on computer) that has the following cells listed vertically in the left column:

1) Knowledge & skills acquired through your employment
2) Knowledge & skills you’ve acquired through hobbies
3) Knowledge & skills acquired through volunteer involvement and community participation
4) Knowledge & skills you’d like to acquire in areas of your interest and then share with others

Then put the following horizontally across the top of the chart or spreadsheet:

1) Ways that you could share this information (for example, teach community education classes; write books or ebooks; provide workshops, teleclasses, webinars; be a consultant; etc.)
2) Places, venues or contacts that may provide places for you to do this and earn money (for example, specific community colleges in your area, your city school district community education, your church or other churches, online publishing, online radio or podcasts, etc.)

Start with what you can think of right now and continue to fill it in and expand it as you explore more possibilities. This chart or spreadsheet can be a resource and inspiration for you for a long time.

Virtual Work

Another way to use your skills is to provide products and services from your computer that others need. You can work at home or practically anywhere you can access high speed internet. There are thousands of Virtual Administrative Assistants who provide administrative support for solo entrepreneurs and small businesses, including website construction and maintenance, online marketing and more. These can be long or short term jobs. I did support work for the church I worked for in Minnesota for a year and a half after I moved to California: newsletters, bulletins, board meeting minutes and PowerPoint presentations. There are a number of websites where you can learn more about this type of work. Search for “virtual assistant.”

Direct Sales/Network Marketing

Direct selling through network marketing has become a recognized business model that is used by many large corporations and endorsed by financial experts. It is a viable option for many people in this economy and well worth exploring.

There are hundreds of network marketing company options and it can be very difficult to decide which company to choose. One resource to assist you with this is:
http://entrepreneurs.about.com/od/networkmarketingmlm/a/10tipstopicknwm.htm

Affiliate Sales Online

Affiliate Sales basically means selling other people’s products. You can sign up for many affiliate programs, free of charge, and earn a commission for selling products that are made available through that affiliate program. This is a well-established way of earning money and you can do it in areas that are of particular interest to you. You can be an affiliate for companies that sell “hard” products – books, appliances, tools, jewelry, etc. – or information products online. There is a huge amount of information available to help you get started and be effective. You can begin with Amazon.com Associate Program. The commissions are low, but the wide range of products makes it very attractive. They provide lots of affiliate resources also.

These are some of the possible ways you can generate money to augment your income as you are transforming your retirement. As you begin your exploration, start by looking at what you enjoy doing.

Transforming Your Retirement: What if You Created a Legacy Notebook?

“There are certain things that are fundamental to human fulfillment. The essence of these needs is captured in the phrase ‘to live, to love, to learn, to leave a legacy’. The need to live is our physical need for such things as food, clothing, shelter, economical well-being, health. The need to love is our social need to relate to other people, to belong, to love and to be loved. The need to learn is our mental need to develop and to grow. And the need to leave a legacy is our spiritual need to have a sense of meaning, purpose, personal congruence, and contribution.”  –Stephen R. Covey

Part of transforming your retirement into one of satisfaction can be this legacy work. You can start by creating a very simple tool, a Legacy Notebook.
Section 1 of your notebook can be writing down the kind of legacy you want to leave in each of the areas:
1) how you are remembered as a person – your personality, the way you treated others, what people saw in you and learned from you;
2) the work you did and the impact it had on others,
3) the family you left behind,
4) contributions of time, energy, creativity and finances that enriched others, and more.

There are a variety of ways to draw forth great thoughts, memories, etc. Some people suggest you write the obituary you would like to have written about you, or the eulogy you would like someone to deliver at your funeral or memorial service. If that appeals to you, do that.

Section 2 of your notebook can be journaling about the things in Section 1 not yet accomplished, but desired. These questions may be a guide in that process:

1. What might you do to bring this legacy into reality?
2. What will need to change for that to be possible?
3. How can you start moving in that direction?
4. Start writing your responses to these questions and let them be your guide to designing your coming months and years.

Section 3 of your notebook can be a place to list documents, recognitions, plaques, etc. that record or recognize specific parts of your legacy. For example, you may have received a plaque for “outstanding service to the citizens of your neighborhood” for a particular project. You might also collect any actual items into a “legacy box.”

Section 4 of your notebook can be a place to record your ideas of ways to communicate your legacy. You may write a book, compile a scrapbook, record an audio or video, or all of the above. As you continue to gather content and add to your legacy with new accomplishments, you may decide on additional ways.

Transforming your retirement from a foundation of clarity about your legacy – aspects that are already accomplished and those that you are still working on – can be an amazing experience.

Transforming Your Retirement: What if I left a stunning legacy to my family and others?

Most of us want to make a difference in the world; we want to leave a legacy behind. As you move toward or into this period of transforming your retirement, it is an ideal time to take time to both reflect on your life so far and look forward to what you want to add to your legacy in the years ahead.

There are different kinds of legacies, including:
1) how you are remembered as a person – your personality, the way you treated others, what people saw in you and learned from you;
2) the work you did and the impact it had on others,
3) the family you left behind,
4) contributions of time, energy, creativity and finances that enriched others, and more.

Perhaps you think it’s too late at this stage of your life to do anything about it. “Que sera, sera; whatever will be, will be.” That’s simply not true. Although you can’t go back and do things over, you do have the ability to interpret and draw meaning from your life so far and to add to your legacy. That can benefit both you and those who view you and your life now and in the future.

Perhaps you are thinking now that this seems self-centered and presumptuous. But consider this. We live in times where celebrities of various kinds have become the primary role models for many people. Our electronic media of all kinds have become the purveyors of values and significance. Too much information, much of it trivial, has blocked out the truly meaningful messages about life, contribution, family and legacy.

You have the ability and, dare I say, the responsibility to make your contribution to changing this sad state of affairs! Too many of our younger people seem to have little interest in what has happened in the past, either in the society and the world or in their own families. This should not stop us from doing our part. Each of us has a unique experience that is given to us as a gift and can be given as a gift to others.

It may be of immediate interest to your family; it may not. It may take years – even decades or centuries – for someone to sincerely look for who you were and what your life was about. If you haven’t documented that in a way that can be saved and accessed, it is lost.

I suggest that you do some legacy work, first of all for yourself – to look at this precious journey and what it has meant to you – and secondly, to influence and communicate the legacies you leave behind. It can be a significant part of transforming your retirement into a time of joy and fulfillment.

Transforming Your Retirement: What If the Next Phase of Your Spiritual/Faith Journey is Invigorating and Joyful?

It’s my belief that we are spiritual beings having a physical experience. Although we may experience it differently, we are all on some kind of spiritual/faith journey during our life on earth. That journey can be a key part of transforming our retirement.

As we age, we often have more questions about this journey and where it is leading. It may be that you are happily settled where you are, or you may be apathetic or bored, or you may be actively looking for something more, or you are in an expansive stage in relation to your faith/spirituality.

The first step is to get a sense of where you are and what you are thinking and feeling. Describe your spiritual/faith journey over the past 3-5 years. Consider these to help you put it together:
+ level of participation in an organized faith community, if any
+ any change in your beliefs or participation
+ any exploration of practice or beliefs outside of your particular faith community
+ any significant events, positive or negative
+ any new revelations or new questions that are significant to you                              + Gaps, emptiness or needs you are feeling spiritually

When you’ve completed the snapshot, rate your level of satisfaction with where you are in your spiritual/faith journey right now. Use a scale of 1-10, with 1 being “bored or dissatisfied,” 8 being “extremely satisfied” and 10 being “joyful and growing.”

If your ratings are between 8 and 10, congratulations! You are in a good place on your journey. And you can always expand your options and involvement if you want to be even more joyful and growing!

If you have ratings that are less than 8, I suggest that you take three additional steps:
1) Write down anything with which you are not satisfied and what’s missing that lowered your rating. This may take some reflection; take your time and perhaps come back to it later to allow some thoughts and feelings to surface.

2) Next, take some time to write down exactly what you would find satisfying and meaningful in the coming years of your spiritual/faith journey. Use the “What if….” format to create statements like, “What if I found/created a faith or spiritual community where I experienced genuine love and community?” or “What if could find ways to heal my church/religion-caused wounds from the past?”

3) After creating your list, choose the one about which you feel most strongly. Come up with some possibilities of how to make that happen, beginning now. As time goes on, do the same with the rest of your list. Enjoy some new exploration and excitement as your faith journey continues – which can be a major part of transforming your retirement.

Transforming Your Retirement: What if You Made Significant Contributions of Many Kinds to Family, Community and the World?

Most of us wish we had been able to do more for our family and friends than our time and resources allowed in our working years. Perhaps you have experienced, as I have, an interest and desire to get involved in and make contributions to community projects and organizations and respond to needs and issues in other parts of the world.

The first step is to look at what you really would like to contribute so that your creativity can get to work on the “how.” Let’s start with a “blue sky” step.

Write down what you would like to contribute, if there were no limitation of resources, to each of the following categories. Think in terms of time, money, expertise, and anything else you might offer:
+ to your family and close friends
+ to causes that are dear to you (specify your priority causes)
+ to your community
+ to the world

Now separate these desired contributions into two categories:
1) things you can at least begin to do with the resources currently at your disposal, and
2) items requiring additional resources.

As you look at the lists, see what excites you the most in each. Write each of them down, leaving space to brainstorm and record ideas of how to begin making that contribution as soon as possible. This is another bridge into retirement that gives you purpose and enjoyment. Think of the joy and satisfaction to be gained from your contributions in areas that you feel strongly about. This is a powerful means of transforming your retirement into a time of giving and satisfaction.

As time goes on, work more with this list – thinking of creative ways to accomplish items on your list, exploring how to secure or leverage needed resources and finding others with similar interests. One of the by-products of reaching out and making a difference is meeting new people and gaining new friends.