How to start again after retirement

Q: I always thought I would look forward to retiring, as there are so many things I have always wanted to do that I have been putting off while I am at work.

Q: I always thought I would look forward to retiring, as there are so many things I have always wanted to do that I have been putting off while I am at work.

However, now that retirement is almost here I am terrified at the thought of leaving my job and feeling useless. Even the things I had hoped to do, like travel the Far East or write a book seem unachievable. How can I move on after I retire?

A: It is not unusual to feel daunted by the prospect of retirement. Our career is such a large part of our life for so long that it can often feel like it defines who we are.

This can be especially true for people who are high achievers in their field. Tony Blair, for example, will undoubtedly experience a difficult period of readjustment now that he is stepping down as prime minister. So you are not alone!

Retirement now means something very different than in previous generations. This is the perfect time to explore other activities that bring you enjoyment and self-fulfilment. The good news is you have an idea of what you might like to achieve. All you need to do now is to focus on ways that you can achieve your goals.

One method which has proved effective for many of our clients is the principle of the TGROW model. This model is simple and is easy to use in a number of situations. Use this model to focus your thoughts at times of change. To use TGROW consider the following:

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T=TOPIC. Success comes from being focused so chose one particular topic at the moment. Decide whether it is travel or writing that interests you most now. You can always return to the other interest later!

G=GOAL. Having chosen the topic identify a clear goal so you know what you're aiming for. Using your ideas you may define your topic as travel and your goal as specifically travelling in the Far East

R=REALITY. Dreams are important as they provide us with that spark to achieve great things however it is important to establish what is realistic. Can you afford to travel to the Far East? Can you honestly take a year out?

O=OPTIONS. Identifying reality often throws up a few hurdles. Ask yourself "if I had a magic wand I would overcome these difficulties by....?" Now let your creative juices flow and start to list your options. However far-fetched they may seem don't dismiss any idea at this stage as often even the most extreme idea has some grounding in reality - although a lottery win is only possible if you play the game!

W=WAY FORWARD. You're now ready to create your Action Plan. Just like a business plan you should consider the What's, Where's, When's, Who's and How's to fine-tune your goal and the route to success. It can be really useful to go through this process was somebody independent such as a life coach as they are unbiased and non judgmental.

With the TGROW model complete you will be well on your way to achieving success and to enjoy a happy retirement.


Christine Whiting is the founder of Life Resolutions based at Stowmarket .

Email your question to and she will try to offer advice in this monthly column.

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