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The 5 Rings of Retirement Can Bring Back Your Spark

By Cyn Meyer November 15, 2020 Senior Living

I’ve been hearing a lot lately about people feeling unmotivated and trapped, and like they’re in a holding pattern. Yes, the pandemic is a big contributor – but there’s more to the story.

Being stuck at home is also a time where certain ideas you’ve been burying (sometimes for decades) are highlighted and brought to the forefront.

And they’re good ideas, too – a lot of them you want to try.

Except, you’re not sure what to do about those surfacing ideas, and you’re not even sure if they’re realistic. And so, the feeling of not knowing what to do next — and just plain lack of motivation — arrives.

If you’re feeling this way, you’re not alone.

I have the privilege of helping people thrive every day, as they transition from feeling rudderless and stuck to more purposeful, active, healthy, and engaged.

So, today I want to share with you a simple framework to follow, so you can leverage a robust retirement lifestyle, too.

Enter… the five rings of retirement.

It’s a simple framework to use for figuring out what to focus on next. People who revisit and balance their life across these core categories regularly, have a great system in place for prioritizing their next goal.

Without further ado, here are the 5 Rings of Retirement with a bit more detail.

#1 Growth

Having growth in your life means filling your urge to keep learning, challenging yourself, and enjoying new and exciting experiences.

It’s the category of life that stimulates your brain, and literally boosts your neuroplasticity (which you can do for the rest of your life, by the way).

Whether it’s the benefits of lifelong learning or setting ambitious goals (like traveling and/or bettering the world), growth is a must for a fulfilling retirement.

Ask yourself what you’ve always been curious about learning. What do you want to accomplish, so you don’t have any regrets?

#2 Health

This one’s likely the most obvious, but without your health, it’s difficult to do anything ambitious.

Sadly, 34% of retirees say they get less exercise than while employed, and another 12% say they eat less healthy than while working. So, it’s worth keeping your diet and exercise in check especially as you leave the workforce.

As you think about your diet and exercise routine, though, try to work in healthy practices like mindfulness, too – which, by the way, improves your general wellness by 67% and your energy level by 60%.

That way, you can manage your physical, emotional, and mental health holistically.

#3 Giving Back

Whether it’s leaving a legacy, donating, volunteering, or offering your time and skills, giving back is a big deal. It gives you a sense of purpose.

After all, if you look at purpose vs. passion, one distinction is that purpose is for others and passion is for you. So, help others and give back, as a way to find more purpose.

Plus, giving back is good for your mental, emotional, and physical health, too. For instance, a UnitedHealth Group survey found that 76% of people who volunteer feel physically healthier.

Giving back can happen in non-traditional forms, too, even if it’s the simple act of helping a neighbor, or socializing with someone who’s lonely. Big and small, it all counts toward giving back (while gaining a sense of purpose).

#4 Community

Another big contributor to your overall health is your social interaction level. Whether it’s your friends, family, neighbors, colleagues or even strangers, social interaction is so important to your health and well-being.

So much so that if you don’t stay social, you put yourself at a 59% greater risk of mental and physical decline.

And not only does being social keep you away from the detriments of loneliness and isolation, but it also gives you a chance to take care of some of the other 5 Rings of Retirement.

For example, taking a class with a friend crosses into the Growth category. And helping a friend is also part of the Giving Back category.

All in all, immersing yourself with other people in the community is a big “ring.”

#5 Finance

Of course, you need to have your basics covered. If you can’t afford your essentials, it can add an extra layer of stress to your life.

After all, a Gallup study showed that the biggest worry among Americans (at 64%) is not having enough money for retirement.

But there are ways to work on your financial goals while boosting your energy level in the other core categories at the same time.

You can align your passions with part-time work, for instance. Or search for a paid volunteer gig that matches your core interests and sense of purpose.

How to Use the 5 Rings of Retirement

To use this simple framework, simply gauge your energy level on a scale of 1-5 (1 being super low, and 5 being exuberant) in each of the five core categories.

Then, take note of the category with the lowest score, and ask yourself:

  • What is it that drains you about this area of your life?
  • What do you need to do more of?
  • What do you need to do less of?

Brainstorm in the category where you have the most energy, too:

  • Why is this area of your life thriving?
  • What is it about this area of your life that excites you?
  • How are you able to reach a high level of energy in this area of your life?

These are just prompts for a brainstorming session, to get your ideas flowing in the right direction toward your next goal.

From there, you can find clarity on what to focus on next.

If you want more fleshed out tips on how to leverage the 5 Rings of Retirement, check out this free workshop on How to Live a More Purposeful Retirement Life.

Ramp Up Your Retirement Life with the 5 Rings of Retirement

Contrary to what our culture trains us to think, retirement is the time to ramp up your life – not settle down for only leisurely activities that lead to a stagnant lifestyle.

It’s now time to do activities that light you up on your terms.

Which of these core categories do you have the least energy in? Take it as a signal to work on that area of your life first. What’s a mini-goal with micro-steps that you can tackle right away? Please share your thoughts with the community!

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The Author

Founder of Second Wind Movement, Cyn Meyer offers education + coaching to help seniors transition into amazing next chapters and age successfully in place. She helps them live out active, healthy, happy "retirement" years, so they can better evade depression, loneliness, Alzheimer's and nursing home occupancy.

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