The concept of retirement is undergoing a metamorphosis. Demographic, societal, and workplace trends have all converged to offer a stage of life at midlife and beyond that is much more fluid and flexible than what most of us ever imagined.  When planning for retirement, individuals are discovering that the “old rules” have been thrown out and “no rules” apply.  In fact, “retirement” has become a matter of personal definition.

For this reason, the No Rules Retirement model advocates proactive planning throughout adulthood and in all areas of life.  Retirement should not be viewed as a single event, but rather as one of the many transitions in a continuum of life experiences.

Those who prepare to successfully navigate through other life transitions will likely have the same experience with retirement.  That is because the habits, attitudes, skills, values, interests, and relationships that have been honed and developed along life’s journey will continue to serve them well in midlife and later life.

With that in mind, it will be important for you to explore the secrets of physical, emotional, and intellectual vitality and to be diligent in your quest.  Remember, health, happiness, and productivity are not blessings bestowed on a lucky few.  Instead, they are the results of long-term life choices brought to fruition by the decisions you make on a daily basis.

Therefore, as you think about your future and the kind of life you would like to have, it is important to acknowledge the personal accountability aspects of both your current and future well-being.  In his book, Prosperous Retirement, Michael Stein wrote, “Retirement is something you should spend your lifetime building.”

Therefore, an important mantra for anyone, regardless of age, is “If it is to be, it is up to me!”  Make it a priority to invest in all areas of your life.  Remember, the choices you make on a daily basis are cumulative and will determine the quality of life you experience 10, 20, and 30 years in the future.

As you visualize the lifestyle and quality of life that you would like to have in midlife and beyond, remember that the secret to realizing your dreams is to maintain a “future focus.”  This perspective will not only help you to keep your eyes on the prize, but will also require you to acknowledge the influence of choices made today on your life in the future.

Most importantly, creating the life YOU desire is all about identifying, pursuing, and living in sync with your personal values and priorities.  In fact, the greater your understanding of what is important to you, the easier it will be to “paint a picture” in your mind of your unique No Rules Retirement.

In Getting Things Done, productivity guru David Allen wrote, “We know that the focus we hold in our minds affects what we perceive and how we perform.”  As you purposefully and progressively “make room” in your life for what is meaningful to you, the degree of happiness and fulfillment that you experience—now and in the future—will grow and multiply.

Reprinted by permission of Money Quotient, NP

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