Transforming Your Retirement: What if Your Positive Expectations Created a Positive Retirement?

The images, beliefs and expectations you have of this “3rd Act” of life will greatly influence the outcomes. What you expect the coming years to be is a powerful factor in determining how it will go. Expectations are both conscious and subconscious. Our conscious expectations can be sabotaged by what is firmly planted in our subconscious as we are transforming our retirement.

By identifying attitudes and beliefs that may contradict and undermine our positive expectations, we can address them. Negative expectations can come from memories, past experiences, messages in advertising, characterizations from television or movies, etc. It is very valuable to unearth some of these, and writing will help in that process.

Take 3-5 minutes to write down responses to the following questions: + What did you think when others retired? + What memories do you have of your parents’ or other relatives’ retirements and the impact on their lives? + What do people say in whispers at retirement parties? + What advice or warnings have people given you about retirement?  + What are the messages on retirement cards? + What older characters from television or movies do you recall? What image of retirement and aging do they provide?

Look at what you have written. Are they mostly positive or negative? The positive messages and images are ones to hang onto, repeat, and develop into specific intentions and plans.

Negative messages and images are pervasive beyond our conscious awareness. What you have written in just a few minutes is an indication of that. The negatives at the conscious level can be changed with your action. As you identify the negatives at the subconscious level on an ongoing basis, you can address them also.

Become hyper-aware of the negatives and resist them, whether they are within you or from external influences. Be aware of the attitudes of the people you spend time with. Be aware of what you expose yourself to in reading, listening and viewing information.

Decide how you are going to deal with the negative people in your life. Often this means figuring out ways to limit your time in close proximity of them. A direct approach is sometimes best: tell them you have decided to be positive and look for the best in everything and invite them to join you in this. Maybe they would like to live more positively and just need the opportunity..

Decide how much negative news, commentary and entertainment you want flowing into your mind and change some listening and viewing habits.

Consistently take these steps, and your attitude and expectations will help you in transforming your retirement into a joyous and fulfilling time of life.

Transforming Your Retirement: What if Gratitude Were the Overriding Tone of Your Life?

Daily Gratitude Practice
If you are not already doing this, start a daily practice of writing a Gratitude List and really monitor how it changes your attitude. It’s very simple and most effective it you use a journal (a simple notebook is fine, or a folder in your computer) rather than scattered pieces of paper. That’s because looking back over a month, or a quarter, or a year can take you to a whole new level of gratitude. And if you don’t make it easy for yourself to do it, guess what? It likely won’t be done.

Write down 5-10 things every day for which you are grateful. If you’re not used to doing this, you may start with 5 per day; expand from there to 10 as you get into the rhythm of it. They don’t have to be huge things; in fact if you get into the habit of expressing gratitude for small things, it’s even more powerful.

Include things that you are grateful about in yourself. They may be attributes or attitudes; they may be things you did or didn’t do. As you make the change from employed to retired, measures of accomplishment and self-worth inevitably change. This is a way to acknowledge yourself in this new stage of transforming your retirement.

Writing these down at the end of the day is most beneficial as you more easily remember the day. It puts you in a positive state of mind that will lead to sleep. It just wraps up the day in a lovely package.

Gratitude as a Tool for Specific Situations

What I’ve just described is a Daily Gratitude Practice. You can also use the technique any time you are facing a situation about which you are ambivalent or conflicted. For example, list all of the things for which you’re grateful related to the change from employed to retired: I can sleep as late as I choose; I can choose with whom I spend my daytime hours; I’ll save money on clothes; and so on. You will note that these are all stated as positive statements, not the lack of the negative (I don’t have to wake to an alarm at the same time every morning). This can change your feelings about a situation, or perhaps identify an aspect of it that you do want to change in some way.

Transforming Your Retirement: 10 Questions to Shift Your Thoughts

“We live in the world our questions create.”      —David Cooperrider

Humans are estimated to have about 60,000 thoughts per day and 95% of those thoughts are the same from the previous day – which leaves us with only 5% new and creative thoughts. In addition, the majority of those thoughts are negative. (See Simple Capacity.com)

Take a few moments to think about the quote by David Cooperrider. What kinds of questions are most common in your mind? For many of us they are negative questions: What if this happens? What if that doesn’t happen? What if I don’t make it? LOTS of negative ‘what if’ questions swirl around our minds, especially in times of transition and change – like retirement! Transforming your retirement into a fulfilling time of life can be enhanced by changing this typical pattern.

Mindy Audlin has written a book, What If It All Goes Right?: Creating a New World of Peace, Prosperity & Possibility, which gives us a tool for changing our questions. It is available here: http://amzn.to/2m8Xk28

She encourages us to ask ourselves What If UP questions. Basically, the idea is to flip or reframe our negative thoughts or ‘what if’ questions into positive questions. Instead of ‘What if retirement is boring and I get depressed?’ say ‘What if I had a fabulous final segment of my life, filled with joy, contribution and fulfillment?’ If that kind of question dominates our thoughts, we are creating a very different reality.

Here are 10 positive ‘What If’ questions. They can provide a positive framework for your anticipation and planning for transforming your retirement. I will list them here and address each one in future posts.

1) What if gratitude were the over-riding tone of your life?                                           2) What if your positive expectations created a positive retirement?
3) What if you could learn about, learn to do, and do many things that bring you joy?
4) What if you were a person of extreme health, wellness and energy throughout your retirement years?
5) What if you made significant contributions of many kinds to family, community and the world in the coming years?
6) What if the next phase of your spiritual/faith journey was invigorating and joyful beyond imagination?
7) What if you left a stunning legacy to your family and others?
8) What if you generated any needed money in creative, fulfilling ways?
9) What if your current relationships became better and better and you created new fulfilling relationships regularly?
10) What if you had a fabulous final segment of life, filled with joy, contribution and fulfillment?