Retirement Planning - Goal Setting Success

Happy New Year! It’s a new year and with it comes new opportunities to set resolutions and plan for the future. And while we can’t always plan for how the year will unfold (thank you, 2020, for reminding us we’re not always in control!), we can continue to be driven by goals that help us age with purpose and excitement. 

Why Set Retirement Goals? 

Seniors, and those nearing retirement, spend a lot of time planning for the financial aspects of aging. Of course, finances are important, but they’re by far the only aspect of retirement planning. Research shows that a lot of retirees feel lost on how to spend their time. 

The Nationwide Retirement Institute (NRI) found in a 2017 study that 28% of new retirees said life felt worse in retirement than what they thought and 38% said life after retirement felt the same as life before. That’s 66% of retirees thinking retirement is no better or worse than working full-time! 

It may have something to do with the average 7.5 hours per day of additional leisure time retirees find themselves needing to fill.* Sadly, many retirees fill these hours in front of the television. 

Goals can be a guidepost for retirees in how to fill time more meaningfully. Especially during COVID times, these goals can help retirees continue to thrive in mind, body and spirit. Goal setting shouldn’t be overwhelming, but if you’re not sure where to start, consider these areas of opportunity for your 2021 retirement goals. 

Social Goals

Before anyone ever heard of social distancing, social isolation was becoming a big problem for senior health. In a 2017 study, researchers found 43% of seniors feel lonely on a regular basis and this loneliness can be just as damaging to health as smoking. 

Connecting with friends and family can help, but against the background of a global pandemic, connection has been anything but easy. Take control of your social health by proactively reaching out and setting safe social goals for 2021. 

  • Scheduled Sunday calls with loved ones. 
  • Master Zoom by asking your grandson for a tutorial. A coffee with a friend or weekly call with your children are great opportunities to master the technology. 
  • Get virtually social by creating a Facebook account and connecting with friends or family.
  • Write one letter each week to a friend or loved one. 

Wellness Goals

Wellness is an important aspect to thriving in retirement but it’s so much more than healthy meals and exercise. Take a holistic approach to wellness by setting goals for activities that help you thrive in mind, body and spirit. For ideas, consider Immanuel’s nine principles of our Thrive programs: 

  • Music
  • Wellness
  • Connections
  • Faith
  • Recreation
  • Community
  • Creativity
  • Service
  • Lifelong Learning

Leisure Goals

With nearly eight additional hours of leisure time to fill, it’s easy to see why retirees get overwhelmed and turn on the tv. But retirement offers a fantastic opportunity to connect with forgotten hobbies or discover new ones. 

  • Dedicate one hour a week to a forgotten beloved hobby like reading, painting, woodworking or golf. 
  • Schedule a time to connect weekly with friends through your hobby. Knitting clubs, book clubs and more are great Zoom-friendly activities. 
  • Try something new. Our Mason Jar Challenge helps retirees discover their passions by pulling an activity from a jar each day. Click here to download the challenge

Finding purpose in retirement doesn’t always come naturally. But by setting retirement goals, you can begin to align your retirement planning with things that bring you joy and purpose. 

For more ideas on thriving through social distancing and beyond, be sure to check out Thriving at Home for Seniors, a free video series with countless ways you can make the most of your retirement years. 

*Dychtwald, Ken. Morison, Robert. What Retirees Want. Hoboken, New Jersey, John Wiley & Sons, 2020.