I’ll admit to jealousy when I saw it. A friend, who is my age, was announcing on Facebook he was retiring at the end of the month. And, what made this feeling more intense…two other friends had recently done the same thing.
To be clear, I love doing morning radio and the station I work for. This is what I wanted to do all the way back in 7th grade. It was my dream job then and I’m still living the dream. More importantly, I love the people I get to do this with.
But, I also have a hunger for the freedom retirement represents. I’m not alone. Isn’t this really the ultimate appeal of retirement? Freedom to do what you want, go where you want, and sleep as late as you want. Who doesn’t want that?
I’m most looking forward to the freedom to schedule my time. I was talking recently with a new friend, who is a long way from retirement, but has a lot of flexibility with his work schedule and location. He told me he can work from home or, if he feels like it one morning, find a coffee shop along Baltimore’s Harbor and work there. That’s the kind of freedom that is most appealing to me right now.
I would make the same career decision again. I love the magic of morning radio and would not change a thing. But, every job has a downside (or two) and mine is no different. I have no schedule flexibility. I have to be at the same place at the same time every day. I can’t choose to go in late or work from a hip urban coffee shop. That’s probably why “schedule freedom” is so appealing to me.
Anyhow, my newly retired friends have that now and whatever other freedoms they were personally looking forward to. I trust they are enjoying them. They worked hard for many years, investing their resources, so this day would come sooner than it does for most. I’m certain they dreamed about it and made sacrifices along the way.
Most retirement planning is focused on the money. And, that makes sense. After all, you can’t stop working until you have the finances worked out. There’s also a growing conversation about purpose in retirement. We can become so focused on what we are leaving that we fail to think about what we are going to do with all this freedom.
I love the beach and would love to spend time there without any thought of leaving. I also understand myself well enough to know if that was the entirety of my retirement plan I’d be ready to head back to work after just a handful of weeks. I need something more meaningful to do than sit on the beach all day. We all do.
But, there’s another aspect of retirement planning that seems to be ignored. And, I believe it’s the most important freedom for those post-work years that could span decades. It’s more important than financial freedom, schedule freedom, freedom to travel, or any other freedom you’re longing for.
It’s health freedom.
I remember my grandparents saying, “If you’ve got your health you’ve got everything!” I didn’t really have the life experience then to fully appreciate what they meant. Now that I have grandchildren, I get it.
I don’t want to work hard, save my money, and plan for retirement only to reach the target and not be healthy and fit enough to enjoy it. Yet, I see so many people approaching their retirement years with little or no intentional fitness activities. Why? What are they thinking?
My guess is many are thinking once they retire they’ll have more time for exercise. The problem with that thinking is the longer you wait the harder it is. And, after you’ve worked hard for decades are you really going to be motivated to jump right into another hard thing. That’s why it’s important to get started NOW!
Health freedom has other benefits too. It also saves you money and time. Healthy people don’t spend as much on doctors and medicine. They also don’t spend as much time running from one health care appointment to another.
A successful retirement needs to you to be well funded, purposeful, and healthy. All three require intentionality and planning before your final day of work.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TODAY
If you’re just getting started, I want to recommend a 30 Day Fitness Challenge. Most fitness goals end in failure because they start way too big. Setting the right goal to get started is critical!
This free guide will help you do that. It also includes a contract you sign to keep your daily commitment. I know that sounds a little cheesy, but it can be just the motivation you need on a day where keeping your fitness commitment feels too hard.
Every day you reach your goal is a WIN. This guide also includes a a 30 Day Tracker to help you celebrate each of those wins. It’ll feel really good as you track these. But, more importantly it’ll help you build fitness momentum that will last.
You can get started today with The 30 Day Fitness Challenge.
It’s probably no surprise to learn that most people who set a fitness goal don’t finish. The first 30 days are the most critical!
If you don’t have a Fitbit I recommend the Fitbit Inspire HR. While it’s not cheap, it’s less than a few months at the gym. The Inspire HR also tracks your heart rate and sleep so you get an even wider picture of your fitness progress.
(By the way…if you use the link above to but a Fitbit Inspire HR this blog will receive a small commission. It won’t add anything to what you pay, but letting you know is the right thing to do)
Lastly, this blog is designed to help you embrace walking as a fitness activity. It’s sustainable, flexible, effective, and fun. Every week I post new articles with stories and helpful suggestions to Win at Fitness.
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