My challenge to you
Did you make New Year’s resolutions this year?
…but don’t worry – this isn’t another boring piece about why New Year’s resolutions don’t work and most people have already broken them by now anyway.
Rather, I’m going to challenge to you to be much more ambitious…
…and make a different, bolder kind of resolution.
You see, I don’t believe there’s anything inherently wrong with New Year’s resolutions.
It’s just that they’re too short-term.
It’s hard to plan your life year-by-year.
Most of the big things you decided on – like which career to pursue, who to marry or partner with, whether and when to have children – likely involved looking much further ahead than just 12 months.
You had a vision of what you wanted your life to look like 5 or 10 years down the line – and took action to make that happen.
That’s why I advocate much more long-term resolutions.
Big goals usually take lots of little steps over several years to come to fruition.
And this is a great opportunity, as we’re not just at the beginning of a new year, but at the beginning of a whole new decade.
So where do you want to be in 2030? And what do you need to do today, in 2022, 2025 and 2028, to make that happen?
Now, you might be wondering why I’m issuing this challenge.
After all, I’m in the pensions and financial planning business – not the life coaching business!
But the reason is simple.
If you are mid-career, and want to enjoy your older years…
…to find fulfilment in the last few years of your work life, when your priorities and needs may have dramatically changed (and so has your workplace)….
…to retire one day in financial comfort, with a reasonable pension….
It won’t happen by itself.
It takes a plan to make it happen – a plan that looks far ahead, a decade or more if you are in your late 40s or early 50s.
In my last blog, I described how my colleague Steve started looking differently at mid-age as he approached 50. He started seeing it as an opportunity to rethink his priorities and his vision for his own life…
…and build the skills and resources he’ll need to navigate the next 30+ years (hopefully!) rather than leave things to chance and disappointment.
I found his example inspiring, and it’s made me think about my own plan for the next decades of my life. (60 doesn’t seem that far away as I am already well into my 50s!)
For example, I lost my beloved mother-in-law when she was 66, shortly after she retired. It has made me think that I do not want to be in the position where I’m not healthy enough to enjoy my own retirement.
Whilst you can’t control everything in life, I’ve committed to becoming fitter now, as an investment in my future health.
I’ve also been thinking about the changes I need to make in order to be able to retire in a financially comfortable position, and be able to carve out more time for family and for travel well before I retire.
Here are the kinds of questions you should be asking, to develop your own mid-life plan:
>> What kind of life do I want to be leading in 10 or 15 years’ time?
>> How do I envision my work life a decade from now? Am I going to be happy doing the same kind of thing I’m doing now – or are there other avenues I would like to explore?
>> What kind of hours will I want to work?
>> Once I start to wind down, where will I find meaning outside of work?
>> If I’m no longer working full-time, what will I want to do with my time? Of course, I can pursue new hobbies – but do I want to (or will I have to) pursue a different career, volunteer, start my own business?
>> What family responsibilities might I have in 10 or 15 years’ time?
>> Am I financially on track to save enough for the life I want? What kind of financial resources do I need to build up, to make all this happen?
>> What skills do I bring to a future career, business or even volunteering position? What new skills do I need to develop now, and what training do I need, to allow this future to materialise?
>> Will my health be good enough to live this vision? What steps do I need to take to improve my health, to allow me to fulfil these ambitions?
This is a great time of the year to be thinking about these questions… as well as a great part of the decade - and depending on your age, possibly just the right point in your career.
Mid-life does not have to bring crisis. It can bring the possibility of renewal, and is the perfect time to unlock your potential so you can be your best self in what may very well turn out to be a lengthy period of older age.
Use it well!