By: Nanette Fairley
January 3, 2022


Setting goals for your year…….love them or avoid them?!?!?!

If you aren’t one to set goals then read no further.  However, the benefits of setting goals can be many.  We just need to make sure we are kind to ourselves, no self flagellation, if we don’t achieve them.  We also need to be realistic when setting them, especially in one’s Third Age.*

Goals can bring that internal motivation that drives your energy? They can drive your forward momentum, especially when that becomes harder as you age?

If you are thinking about your goals for this year as I am, I would encourage you to include, as one source of inspiration, information that is coming out of the many relevant research projects happening across the globe. This work looks into what helps you live well, that is increasing your healthspan, along with what influences how long you live, your lifespan.

BUT I hear you say……Who is going to find, follow and read that research? We are! While it is evolving all the time, the important areas are relatively clear and we have captured them in our free questionnaire, the Wayfinder. While this diagnostic tool will continue to develop in line with the research, you can definitely use it as one input to developing personal and motivating goals in 2022.

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So, what areas might you consider including:

The first key theme encourages you to set goals that help drive your forward Momentum.

1. What will bring purpose and meaning for you? What is your vision for your Third Age? How will you spend your time so that you feel like you are contributing and remain relevant?

  • e.g. you might set a goal around the contribution you want to make to your community, church or role as a grandparent. You might have a travel goal, or two as the world opens up! Or maybe you want to start a part-time business as a passion project?

2. How much energy are you bringing to the journey? What effort are you prepared to put in to help you achieve your goals? The act of setting goals that are important to you, action based and achievable, will provide an energy boost to keep you moving forward.

3. How curious are you to learn and grow in your Third Age? How open are you to new experiences? Continuous learning helps keep you cognitively stronger longer.

  • e.g. your goal here might be something like, ‘Learn to play three songs on the drums to be able to take part in the family band by the end of 2022.’

The second key theme focuses you on strengthening relationships in your close and broader Community. Sometimes when we leave the workplace, friends drift away and the relationship with our spouse changes.

To manage the challenges that this brings you might set goals in some of these areas:

To avoid the challenges that this brings you might set goals in some of these areas:

1. What are you keen to improve concerning your family and close friends? Are there relationships that need work? Have you discussed how retirement will impact the relationship you have with your spouse?

  • e.g. you might set a goal around spending time with your grandchildren once a month, or restarting weekly date night with your significant other.

2. How wide are your connections beyond your close family and friends? Who provides information, community and support in your life? Would it be beneficial to set some goals in this space?

  • e.g. you might aim to develop five contacts outside the workplace in the area of sports, hobbies or other community groups. Think through your strategies for maintaining these connections in the future.

3. Consider any goals you might create about developing you. How self-aware are you? How well do you deal with transition and change? Do you consider yourself fairly resilient?

  • an example here might be to learn some strategies to manage any anxiety that comes with the unknowns of your Third Age, or you might want to take a chunk of time to just relax and unwind if you have recently left a full-time role.

The third key theme encourages you to set goals to build and maintain your Assets.

1. Perhaps the easiest is to outline a wellbeing goal! This can be anything about your mental, physical, emotional or spiritual wellbeing.

  • e.g. for the first six months of 2022 you might want to try intermittent fasting or more regular exercise.

2. Do you want to set any goals around your finances?

  • e.g. achieve zero debt by Dec 2022, or something around what budget you are working with, particularly if this has changed recently.

3. Finally consider what skills and experiences you have which can be usefully repurposed in your Third Age, or new ones you would like to learn.

  • one example is that you might like to learn to use a DSLR camera now that you have the time to practice.

To summarize, when you are looking for ideas and inspiration for your goals for 2022, consider some of the following areas……

Maintain your momentum through being clearer on your purpose, what drives your energy and how curious you want to be.  Review your community by looking at your relationships with family and close friends, your wider connections and yourself.  And finally, determine what you want to achieve with respect to your assets – either wellbeing, finances or skills and experiences.

*Third Age – that time post leaving full-time employment when you have the most flexibility and freedom as compared to when in education or working and possibly raising a family or contributing to elder care.