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9 Reasons to Set Goals in Your Third Age



9 Reasons to Set Goals in Your Third Age

Why set goals once you leave full-time employment you ask?  Didn’t we leave all that behind when we retired? 

To me, annual goal setting is a pretty natural thing to do, even essential to set me up well for the year.  I find it gives me motivation and also bucket loads of inspiration and I look forward to free wheeling as I create them each year.  I create goals under key themes  and I develop a funky full page screen saver so they are front and centre every time I turn my laptop on.  But even though I weirdly, enjoy goal setting, it still helps when I remind myself why is it important to set goals. Here are 9 reasons why goal setting might be a useful activity in your Third Age and why you might want to set some goals for 2023!

1.  Goals can help you prioritise and overcome overwhelm

Many of us take on too much.  We find it hard to say no to the many demands on our time.  And, even though we are no longer in full-time employment, these demands don’t stop.  They could be for anything from childcare for grandchildren to volunteering at the local food bank your friend works at.  Through reflective goal setting, we get to think about what is meaningful to us, what we want to achieve and what brings us joy.  It also helps us know what we don’t want to do.  So, if pet sitting is not your thing, make sure that goes down on your ’No’ list for the next time your brother asks you to look after his dogs!!

2.  You become a radiator of energy and focus

Working toward goals we are passionate about gives us energy.  If you have a meaningful goal around learning to play an instrument or learn a language for example, your energy will increase because you want to achieve it.  It will also stand out as somewhere you want to focus your time rather than spread it more widely. 

Also don’t you just love being around people who are energetic and have a rough plan!!!

3.  Goals provide clarity

In the words of the novelist Lewis Carroll, ‘if you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.’  Sure, useful goals require a bit of thought about what brings you joy and what are the realistic desires of your heart.   As mentioned above, you need to think about what is ‘in’ and what is ‘out’, what aligns with who you are and your values.  With all of those ingredients – goals can give us clarity about what we want to come next and they help us define what we REALLY want in the next phase of our life.  That phase where society doesn’t expect us to be studying, working or child raising.  So now that you have that flexibility, it’s time to get clear about what you want to do with it.  Remembering that this time is finite might help!  Goals also bring clarity to how we measure whether we are on track or not.

4.  Give you a Reason to Get out of Bed

Holocaust survivor and psychiatrist, Viktor Frankl, found that when a prisoner stopped getting out of bed and the Nazis had to force him out of bed, this prisoner would soon die. These prisoners didn’t see a point in getting up and no reason to continue living. What Frankl found is that they didn’t die because of wounds or injuries, more that they had no purpose or focus anymore.

His quote, “Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose,” sheds light on why purpose, and the goals supporting it, are important.  The right goals give you the motivation to get out of bed.   Additionally, goal setting has also been shown to help improve the outcome in treatment, amongst studies done in adults with depression. (Weinberger, Mateo, & Sirey, 2009)

5.  Goals help you stay positive during tough times

Linked to the above, goals can help you stay positive and purposeful during tough times.  Your Third Age, as well as flexibility, can also bring tough news – friends and family passing away, chronic illnesses surfacing, less and less mobility etc.  I recently met a gentleman who, with his wife, had a goal to tour Australia in their new motorhome.  Just prior to them leaving for this adventure, his wife passed away unexpectedly.  While the trip was, of course, delayed, he continued on with the plan, albeit with tweaks for example, travelling with the family dog as company.  Goals, can always be changed, but without them tough times may be harder to work through. They can give you that motivation and kick start you might need sometimes.  

6.  Help You Keep Learning

Sometimes we need new skills and knowledge to achieve some of our goals.  Learning new things and developing new skills has a positive impact on our cognitive health.  New skills and knowledge keeps us relevant and interesting as well as helping us achieve our goals.  I enjoy facilitating an online community and have had to learn a ton of new skills from moderating a FB group to video editing! It’s been fun and enabled me to keep one of my goals on track.

7.  Goals Make you the Director of your Destiny

Rather than life just happening to you, goals help provide direction.  Goals, especially in our Third Age, don’t need to be straight jackets (as they may have been during our careers).  But rather guidance to nudge us in the direction we want to go.  And, if your current goals no longer provide inspiration, energise you or spark joy, you are much more able to change tack. A close friend of mine has quite a few different small business ideas, all exciting, and I wouldn’t be surprised if she works through all of them over the next 30 years!!!

8.  It Feels Good When You Tick off a Goal

Think about how you felt the last time you achieved one of your goals.  That burst of dopamine is a natural high and a wonderful way to celebrate an accomplishment.  Achieving something makes you feel good, and who doesn’t like to feel positive and happy?

9.  Goals Give You Accountability

Last but not least is the accountability you have to yourself, and depending on the goal, to others.  Feeling that you are responsible for a goal or set of goals in your Third Age can give you back some of the structure, relevance and organisation, that you may have left behind when leaving full-time employment.  With such accountability comes commitment, awareness of procrastination, knowing why you are doing something and being realistic in what you can achieve in a specific amount of time.

But Remember………..

Setting goals is just one tool to help you do well in your Third Age.  It’s important to ensure you don’t give yourself a hard time if you don’t achieve them all.  Things get in the way, or you discover that you are just not that passionate about the goal after all.  Goals are much easier to change and evolve.  Keep what brings you joy and inspires you and change what doesn’t.

Perhaps you no longer have career goals or retirement wealth building goals and you are not sure in what areas to set goals in your Third Age.  This article might help

Here’s to 2023 and articulating the possibilities it can bring through your goals for the year!

#purpose  #goals2023  #thirdage  #findingpurpose  #inspiration  #motivation

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What Does it Mean to ‘Walk the Camino’?


What Does it Mean to ‘Walk the Camino’?

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We did it! It felt a real achievement.

What is the Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela?

Religious pilgrimages were, and still are, present in many philosophies from Buddhism and Islam to Judaism and Christianity. Perhaps the world’s best known pilgrimages today end in Jerusalem, Rome, Mecca, Medina and Santiago de Compostela.   The pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in Spain is known as the:

  • Camino de Santiago
  • Way of St James
  • Walking the Camino

Santiago de Compostela became a centre for pilgrimage after the 9th century discovery of the body of one of the twelve apostles, one of Jesus’ inner circle, St. James.  Although it was a pretty punishing and difficult undertaking in those times, pilgrims began to arrive in large numbers soon after.  The Frenchman Bretenaldo who walked the Camino around the year 920, is generally considered to be the first known foreign pilgrim to journey to Santiago.

The pilgrimage to Santiago had a big influence on the areas it traversed.  New towns were created with infrastructure being provided that made the pilgrimage easier.  Rules were established to protect the pilgrims and institutions, from hospitals to the security provided by the Order of the Knights of Santiago, were founded.   

Hospital now hotel
Gran Hospital Real founded by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella in 1499 offered care to pilgrims. It is now a hotel right on the square in front of the cathedral.

Why Would You Want to Walk the Camino?

A couple of times during my recent walk (when it was super hot and my feet were aching), I did ask myself this question!!!

Pilgrimage, in the distant past, was mainly inspired by religious conviction, a ‘way to perfection’ and to ask for God’s grace or to atone for something.  Today the reasons people take the pilgrimage are many and varied. Perhaps spiritual, but more likely an escape from the pressures of the day to day, a digital detox, a physical challenge, fun or simply the opportunity to walk through a beautiful landscape scattered with cathedrals and medieval monasteries.  It is no longer solely for the religious among us.

Why did I do it? 

  • Mostly curiosity about the experience I had read so much about.
  • An opportunity to add another first to my list (when was the last time you did something for the first time?).
  • The adventure and the physical challenge of walking 128km in 6 days, something I had never done.
  • And also my aunt, Sue, was very keen to do it for her 70th birthday and it was special to share her amazing achievement!

It’s the People You Meet

Walking for 6+ hours each day was also a wonderful opportunity to spend time with our fellow pilgrims, people from all over the world. Learning from them and about them and their lives, different and the same as our own.  They bought new perspectives and it was interesting understanding each person’s motivation for this pilgrimage. 

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Sometimes it’s busy and other times empty, as goes the flow of the Way.

Among those we met were a:

  • mother and her 11 year old son from Romania (amazing kid to walk so far!)
  • group of three guys, all friends, from the Netherlands
  • newly married couple from Italy, and
  • a woman in her late 60’s and her husband and adult daughter from the US
It's the people we meet
It’s the people you meet……

Pilgrims today come in all shapes, sizes, ages, genders, nationalities, professions etc.  Some even carrying their drying laundry on the back of their pack as they walk!!!

Jocks and socks!

Symbols of the Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela

While today’s pilgrims don’t wear the cape and hat of the past, they are relatively easy to spot as they are often decorated somewhere with a large scallop shell.  This is, perhaps, the most recognisable symbol of the Camino pilgrim.  Today, it is usually tied on the back of the pilgrim’s backpack. 

The shell is also the symbol used to signify the path/the Way.  Every time you see one of these it is reassurance that you are still on track. If you walk for some time without seeing one it is SUCH a relief when one appears!!! What did they do centuries ago when they lost the Way???  I would love to know how many of these signs there are across Europe.  It would be thousands and thousands I think.

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Such a relief to see these signs appear along the Way!

The other consistent symbol of the Camino pilgrimage is the Cross of St James.  It is the symbol of the Order of the Knights of Santiago who were created to protect pilgrims over the centuries.  The sword is supposedly what St James was killed with, and the colour, red to symbolise his spilt blood.

All Roads Lead to Santiago de Compostela

The Camino routes are of varying length and difficulty and you can start anywhere along them. However, if you want to earn your Compostela (certificate) when you reach Santiago you need to have walked at least 100km, cycled 200km or ridden 100 km on horse back.

There are several different routes but the main ones are –

Camino Frances (The French Way) – this is the most popular due to varied scenery and good infrastructure. Starts at St-Jean Pied-du-Port. If you walk the full route it takes about 35 days. Length of entire route: 780km/485m.

Camino Portugues (The Portuguese Way) – starts in Lisbon and splits in two – the coastal route and the central route. Length of entire route: 600km/370m. (We did the last 128km of the Coastal route).

Camino del Norte (The Northern Way) – starts in Irun and travels the coast of Northern Spain. Length of entire route: 466km/290m.

Via de la Plata – starts in Seville and follows the old Roman road north. If you are interested in Roman history this is the route to choose. Walking the full distance on this route will take about 44 days. Length of entire route: 1000km/620m. (Gulp!!!)

Camino Ingles (The English Way) – starts at either La Coruna or Ferrol as English pilgrims arrive off the boat. Length of entire route: 120km/75m.

Camino Primitivo (The Original Route) – The most direct route from Oveido to Santiago. However, it is quite challenging due to the amount of hill climbing. Length of entire route: 315km/195m.

We Were Lucky for Two Reasons!






  1. The Holy Door of the Cathedral only opens during the Compostelan Holy Years, which is when the 25th of July falls on a Sunday. This happens every five, six or eleven years, except in exceptional cases due to leap years, the Holy Door of the Cathedral is opened. It was opened in 2021 and, due to Covid, the Pope (yep!) granted an extension!  So we got to walk through THE door – said to grant those who pass through it – absolution of their sins. 
THE Door!
Getting Ready!






2. We saw the Botafumeiro in action!  The Botafumeiro is a famous thurible (a brass, bronze and silver container than burns incense) in the Cathedral.  It is suspended from a pulley mechanism operated by eight men (the current mechanism was installed in 1604!!!).  The thurible weighs 80kgs and swings as high as 21m (am glad I was not under it!).  The Botafumeiro is used on religious occasions and sometimes during the daily pilgrim’s mass.  While we did not expect to see it, we had our fingers crossed and were lucky as it was in action during our pilgrim’s mass (which you can attend at the end of your walk).

My Take Aways………….

Would I do it again?  Yes! What did I learn…….

  • Practically, your feet are THE most important asset you have. Make sure your hiking boots fit and are worn in and you have all the kit you need to look after your feet (there are plenty of great videos from those experienced in this area e.g. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cP81PY4rkFM).  Walking in pain is NO FUN!  Saying that, the pharmacists along the route had plenty of blister packs (Compeed) and anything else you might need.
  • Carpe diem – make the most of each day! There is much scenic beauty to take in, interesting people to meet, different food to try and some weird and wonderful showers to work out!
Such Beauty
Such Beauty.
  • Encourage others and take encouragement yourself. I found some of the signs very funny! And people even left notes for us at the sign posts.
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You had to laugh!
  • Soak up the excitement, relief and sheer joy when you reach the Cathedral. The spirit floating around the square in front of the Cathedral was palpable.  A mass of humanity celebrating together – a special group of people who have met this challenge.  Or you can do what we did, put your feet up and just watch the world go past! 
Finishing 1
You can also ride the Way or go on horse back.
  • Take some quiet time to reflect. I went back to the Cathedral square very early the next morning before the first pilgrims of the day arrived.  It was serene, calm and very beautiful.
Early Morning Reflection

If you are thinking about walking the Camino in your Third Age and have any questions or need some encouragement feel free to reach out – nanette@whatnextology.com.  At the time of writing I have only walked one of the routes so am not an expert but if you need a cheer squad, I am here! 😊

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6 Reasons Why You Might Want to go Part-time Before Fully Retiring?


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6 Reasons Why You Might Want to go Part-time Before Fully Retiring?

Why would you not just leave the workforce, retire 100% and just enjoy it?  There are many reasons why part-time or more flexible work appeals to those in their Third Age rather than opt immediately for full retirement.

1.      Sometimes you are just not ready to retire!
Knowing where you are ready is really important and this article can help you determine if leaving employment is for you at this point in your life.  If not, part-time or more flexible working might be a good option for some period of time.

2.      It’s beneficial for your wellbeing.
People who continue to work often remain more physically and socially active, which can lead to better overall wellbeing. Working part-time can provide some of these benefits without having to work long hours.

3.      You need an income.
You may not have saved quite enough money for retirement or your financial adviser tells you that you have saved enough but the thought of not having a pay cheque worries you enormously. Working part-time can provide additional income even if you don’t need it.  Just check what the ceiling is if you hope to draw any kind of pension.

4.      You’re just not sure.
If you are in two minds about retiring, reducing your hours can give a bit of insight into what it might be like.  Or better still, take a retirement test drive .  This will give you the opportunity to make your mind up about retiring, working part-time or staying full-time.

5.      You love your job.
As there are major understaffing issues in some professions, many employers are happy for experienced people to keep working. If you love your job you may not see anything more attractive in retirement that could give you a sense of purpose and being needed as much as your job does.  Perhaps moving to working part-time will give you the opportunity to find some other things you love to do, that you have never had time to do while working such long hours.

6.      Other practical reasons
There are a myriad of practical reasons you may want to continue to work past retirement age e.g. to retain health insurance or other perks that come along with your role.  If these can be retained, at least to some degree, while going part-time, this could also be a consideration for not totally leaving the workforce.

Overall, whether to leave full-time employment fully, move to part-time or move through a phased retirement, needs thought and planning.  Many of our big life transitions e.g. leaving home, getting married, having a baby, involved some degree of planning and preparation.  Your move to retirement does too!  If you want support to think through your plan for what’s next after full-time employment, take our free questionnaire.  The personalised report will get you thinking about all the factors that will contribute to your successful Third Age.

#parttimeretirement  #fulltimeretirement  #whatnextology  #thirdage

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Want to Make a Difference? How to ensure your volunteer experiences are successful.



Want to Make a Difference? How to ensure your volunteer experiences are successful.

Communities benefit greatly from the work of many unsung hero’s – our volunteers.  Whether it is directing visitors at the airport, fund raising to meet a need, helping at the local special needs school or answering questions at World Expo, volunteers make the world go ‘round.

A more formal definition tells us that …..’Volunteering is a voluntary act of an individual or group freely giving time and labour for community service.  Many volunteers are specifically trained in the areas they work, such as medicine, education, or emergency rescue.  Others serve on an as-needed basis, such as in response to a natural disaster.’  What’s important about volunteering is that it is done by choice, it is not paid and it makes a difference.  While it does not have to be related to one’s profession it might enable you to use skills from your career in a different way or learn new ones.

Like anything we do volunteering can be a positive experience or a negative one.  The aim of this article is to help you set yourself up for success – so that you thrive from the experience and the organisation or community benefit from what you have to give.

What are your Volunteering Goals?

Finding a good match, a volunteer position that’s right for you, is really important and needs a little thought up front.  To help determine what might be right, ask yourself these questions:

  • Is there something specific you want to do or achieve as a volunteer?
  • What are you passionate about; what is your heart saying?
  • What matches your personality, skills & experience, and interests?
  • What is needed?
  • And finally, ask yourself – Is it totally discretionary? If you feel obligated or volunteer from a place of guilt, your volunteer assignment might not be as enjoyable and successful as you hope.

How To Decide if a Volunteer Role is Right for You?

  • Be clear on what’s expected.You should be comfortable with the organisation and understand the time commitment.  Consider starting small so that you don’t over commit yourself at first.  Don’t over commit until you know it is a good fit for you.
  • Ask questions.You want to make sure that the experience is right for your skills, your goals, and the time you want to spend.  Ask about things like your time commitment, if there’s any training involved, who you will be working with, and what to do if you have questions during your experience.
  • Check your comfortable levels. Don’t be afraid to make a change.  Don’t feel you have to stick with a volunteer role you dislike. Try to understand what you don’t like and talk to the organisation about changing your work or look for a different organisation that’s a better fit.
  • Enjoy yourself.  The best volunteer experiences benefit both the volunteer and the organisation.  If you’re not enjoying yourself, ask yourself why.  Pinpointing what’s bothering you can help you decide your next steps.

What are the Benefits for You?

Identifying the benefits can also help understand what you and the recipients of your efforts, gets out of the volunteer work.  Some benefits you might realise as an individual include:

  1. More and more research is finding that there are great health benefits achieved from volunteering for your physical and mental health e.g.
    • When older adults volunteered to mentor children they improved their stamina, memory, flexibility and decrease levels of depression
    • Some evidence that volunteers live longer is emerging
    • As we age, there’s an increased likelihood of developing cognitive challenges.  Volunteering provides opportunities to keep conversation flowing, constantly stimulate the brain, and help overall cognitive functions stay active. 
    • Volunteering can help you stay physically active which is vital for your physical health.  Inactivity as you age can promote the advancement of heart issues, bone loss, joint pain, fat, and a slew of other health issues.  Getting out and volunteering can help you delay or avoid these issues.
    • Older adults who volunteer and who engage in more hours of volunteering report higher levels of well-being.
  1. One of the biggest difficulties for older people, especially after retirement, is staying social.  Volunteering can decrease isolation, even if it’s only for a handful of hours a week.
  2. Volunteering allows you to give back to the community. You have a wealth of knowledge, skills and experience that others can benefit from.  Listening to young children read at school or chatting with patients in a hospital and helping them feel cared for, all make the community you live in, a better place.    
  3. Volunteering is a great way to learn a new skill that your previous decades of work wouldn’t allow.  For instance, maybe you had fish tanks at home at one stage of your life and enjoyed looking after them. Volunteering at an aquarium might help
  4. Retirement is obviously an exciting and freeing time, but you may sometimes struggle with finding things to fill up your time.  Volunteering will often get you out of the house and also gives you something to look forward to.

What Can You Do as a Volunteer?

While what is possible will differ based on what is needed in your community and whether you want to be out and about or work from home, some of the endless options include:

  • Improve your neighbourhood – e.g. work to beautify your community
  • Fundraise for a good cause
  • Volunteer in a hospital
  • Mentor a young person –by being around them, telling them stories, and teaching them about life.
  • Clean up the environment
  • Work for a social cause you are passionate about
  • Tutor a child
  • Work in a food bank
  • Collect, serve, prepare, or distribute food
  • Fundraise or sell items to raise money
  • Engage in general labour, like helping build homes or clean up parks
  • Collect, make, or distribute clothing
  • Volunteer at youth camps, churches, and other places where younger generations gather.

Where to Find Volunteer Opportunities?

  • Community theatres, museums, and monuments.
  • Service organisations such as Lions Clubs or Rotary Clubs.
  • Libraries or senior centres.
  • Community beautification committees.
  • Local animal shelters, rescue organisations, or wildlife centres e.g. aquariums.
  • Youth organisations, sports teams, and after-school programs.
  • Environmental clean up teams.
  • Historical restorations, national parks, and conservation organisations.
  • Places of worship such as churches or synagogues.
  • Online directories and other resources.

Overall, preparation, reflection and research will help you get the most out of your volunteer time.  It is also important to be balanced in the amount of time you volunteer.  It doesn’t have to take over your life!  Research shows that as little as two to three hours per week, or about 100 hours a year, can bring the most benefits—to both you and your chosen cause.  The important thing is to volunteer only the amount of time that feels comfortable to you. Volunteering should feel like a fun and rewarding hobby, not another chore on your to-do list.  Enjoy your time volunteering and making a difference in our world!

#givingback  #volunteering  #retirement  #volunteeropportunities  #thirdage

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How Do You Know You’re Ready to Retire? (Hint: It’s not just about the money!)


blog image 17th of January 2022 (1)

How Do You Know You’re Ready to Retire?
(Hint: It’s not just about the money!)

Some people don’t have much choice about when they retire.  But for those that do, deciding when you are ready to leave full-time employment can be a difficult decision and may be especially challenging if you love your career or have anxiety about the unknown.  It can be so easy to think about it fleetingly and then just head on back to the office, albeit home office for many in these times.   

If you are someone who can’t quite bring yourself to quit working or are looking for signs you’re ready to retire, here is a bit of a framework to guide you:

1.  Have an idea of what you are retiring to

Strategies around managing change in organisations suggest that changes are most successful when we are moving toward something we want, rather than moving away from something we don’t want.  If you’ve ever met someone who hated their job but did not find happiness in retirement, then you will relate to this concept more intuitively.  What do you want to do with this much more flexible part of your life? What will you enjoy but will also bring meaning and purpose?

2.  Explore your fears

Are you worried about losing your identity, being irrelevant or bored?  If you’re realistic you know that retirement isn’t one, long, stress-free holiday.   One of the things I found prior to leaving full-time work was that I had prioritised work to the point that I really had only snippets of life around it.  I worried about being able to meaningfully fill my days once it was gone.  Doing some naval gazing and articulating what you are worried about will help you think about what action you can take to address your concerns.  Other big ones can be eldercare or the care of older disabled children. 

3.  Dig deep into your own self-awareness

How do you deal with change?  Even positive change can be stressful and thinking about how you might manage the transition to not working full-time might help you think through what you need to put into place to successfully navigate such a huge life change.  If you have children, think about when your first born arrived and the impact it had on your life.  For many, retiring is just as big a life change! 

4.  Picture your future ‘tribe’

While we all have the best intentions of staying in touch with work colleagues once leaving employment, this doesn’t always pan out.  One of the toughest things I found about retiring early is that my ‘tribe’ were all still working so my play mates were a bit more limited initially.  So ask yourself if you have enough contacts outside of work, and if not, think about how you might build these prior.  If you are in a relationship, creating a plan for your what’s next together will be important. 

5.  Think about your outlook with respect to your finances

With most of the retirement resources perhaps overemphasising finances, it is critically important to put the financial aspects in perspective.  There is so much more to successful retirement than how you pay for it.  Financial security is important, but it does not over ride other aspects of your plan.  We have all met wealthy retirees who are bored and unfulfilled as their retirement planning was perhaps not as holistic as it could have been.  So speak to your financial advisor, make good decisions and focus on your savings, sure, but don’t neglect the rest!  Also consider how you will psychologically make the transition from working and saving to retirement and spending.  This is hard for many even if the financial adviser has said ‘go for it’!  If this feels uncomfortable, you might look to tiptoeing into retirement by slowly reducing your hours or moving from full to part-time work initially.  This will provide a bit of a safety net until you feel more comfortable with the change. 

If you are still not sure you are ready to take this step, perhaps you might want to take your vision of your what’s next after leaving full-time work for a test drive.  See how possible it might be to take say, four months sabbatical or unpaid leave from your job and live the life you think you want in your Third Age.  It needs to be long enough that you completely detach from your work life.  Possible?

While being financially ready is definitely one factor, there are quite a few other factors that need consideration before being as sure as you can be that you are ready to retire.  Working through them will put you in a better position to ‘know’ you’re ready.  And then just go for it!

#retirement  #purpose  #thirdage  #readytoretire  #retirementplanning

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7 Tips to Help You Stick to Your Exercise Goals this Year


Blog Header for 2nd week of January 2022

7 Tips to Help You Stick to Your Exercise Goals this Year

Yesterday was amusing at my gym.  It’s that weird January time when there is an influx of people I have never seen before working out really hard.  I am pretty confident, that by February we will revert back to an even keel of regulars.  I think gyms and other exercise venues do really well out of new year’s resolutions!!!!

But seriously, why is it so hard to stick to our exercise goals?  Why is it so hard to stay motivated about staying fit and build it into our life?  Intellectually we KNOW that staying fit and healthy is one of the keys to longevity and successful ageing.  I can think of nothing worse than being forced to do exercise because my doctor prescribes it due to poor health.  Here are seven tips that may help you stick with regular exercise once January is over:

1.  Be very clear on your ‘why’ and remind yourself of this often

We each have our own reasons for exercising.  Mine is to improve my health span and to be able to travel and be active for as long as I can.  For some it may be to avoid the cognitive decline they have seen in other family members, others enjoy the comradery that can come with exercise.  Perhaps it is to lose weight or keep up with your grand kids.  Before you start a regular exercise programme, do some navel gazing to understand your why and revisit it often.

2.  Be realistic

Psychologically one of the biggest issues with setting unrealistic goals that are unattainable, is that they are incredibly demotivating and de-energising.  So choose an exercise that is possible, and OK’d by your doctor if you haven’t exercised in a while.  Choose a cadence that is doable and you are more likely to stick to.  For example, you might start with just 2-3 twenty minute fast walks around the lake per week.  Jumping into a 5 days a week, heavy gym session when you haven’t been doing it for some while is too easy to walk away from!

3.  Get social and have fun

This is perhaps the most important one!  Choose an exercise you enjoy, a trainer or teacher you love working with and a ‘tribe’ of people you like to be around.  In my forties, some years ago, I took up fencing for the first time.  It was a tough sport that required speed, strategy and real fitness.  I think the reason I stuck with it so long was that our coach was such a lot of fun and I worked out and then socialised with a fabulous bunch of people.  When they drifted off, in the end I did too, as it wasn’t quite the magnet it had been.  I have now moved into cycling and my fellow cyclists, and the smoothies, coffee and cake we consume together, are a big part of the reason I keep turning up.

for blog 11th of Jan

4.  Be prepared

It’s an easy excuse to avoid working out if you haven’t prepared the kit you need prior.  Perhaps you need new running shoes, or if your cycling group leaves early, you don’t want to be running around in the morning trying to find your helmet.  Without simple preparation, it is too easy to say, ‘I’ll go next week’ and stay in bed just a little longer. 

5.  Explore any emotional blocks or other obstacles in your path

Sometimes there is something less tangible in operation, stopping you from sticking with your exercise goals.  Some examples include:

  • A busy work schedule or family life.  How can you carve out the time in a way that it is less likely to be over taken by other events that might come up?
  • Perhaps you feel very self conscious due to weight or other reasons.  What exercise can you start with that may minimise this for you?

If you can drill down and identify what is stopping you from achieving your goal, you will be more able to overcome these obstacles by putting specifics in place to address them.

6.  Visualise what it will feel like when you have stuck to your new routine for some time

This is a nice part of planning for success, imagining what you will look and feel like when exercise has been a regular part of your life for some time.  Part of my visualisation is thinking about being able to walk the Camino or cycle across Italy when I am 70 or even 80.  This also links back nicely to my ‘why’ for exercising in the first place. 

7.  Treat yourself

Last but not least, reward yourself.  OK maybe not with cake and chocolate if you are trying to be healthy!  Think about something that would be a treat for you or that would motivate you to keep at it.  Perhaps a monthly massage if you haven’t missed even one session.  One study of more than 60,000 US based gym members, found that awarding reward points to people who returned to the gym after missing a planned workout increased visits by about 16% compared with the norm. Extending a bigger reward for every workout was almost as effective, increasing visits by about 14%.  Perhaps find an app that tracks your progress and gives virtual awards.  One example is Strava for those who run and cycle, another is My Mission which provides physical medals when challenges are achieved. 

Sticking to an exercise program does get easier the longer it goes on but, at least initially, can be challenging to make it a habit.  A great book if you want to read more about building good habits is Atomic Habits by James Clear.  What other ideas do you have that can help keep exercise a regular part of your life??

#newyearsresolution  #exercisegoals  #atomichabits  #fitspiration  #whatnextology

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Are You Planning to Set Goals in 2022?


My Goals for 2022

Are You Planning to Set Goals in 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. 

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It’s Movember!!!!!


Movember Blog Header (1)

It’s Movember!!!!!

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Is Grandparenting all it’s Cracked up to Be?


Grandparents reading a book with their grandchildren

Is Grandparenting all it’s Cracked up to Be?

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10 Tips for Replenishing your Energy Store


Blog for 1st week of October 2021

10 Tips for Replenishing your Energy Store

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