How To Create A Meaningful Retirement Plan You Can Look Forward To

To find a meaning retirement, you need to look inside yourself — only you know what that is.

How To Create A Meaningful Retirement Plan You Can Look Forward To getty

Are you wondering what meaningful retirement looks like for you? Look inside yourself! 

Retirement is something personal that only you can find within yourself. If you don’t look within yourself, how will you know which experiences and opportunities will bring meaning to you in retirement?

Not everyone knows how to plan for retirement or what to do as a retiree. One thing is for sure: You deserve meaningful retirement years.


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Most everyone looks forward to retirement for one reason or another.

Retirement is a time to reap what you sowed, relax, and take time to do the things you love.

It’s a chance to do what you’ve always wanted to do but didn’t earlier in life — a chance to cultivate a part of you that you’ve kept putting aside because of conflicting demands or higher priorities.


Who hasn’t had to make some pragmatic choices that go against some strong desire?

But now, it’s different.

Even if you have some responsibilities and financial concerns, you can still re-design your life to reflect other preferences and live in a more authentic, balanced way. That sounds like something worth aspiring for!

So, how do you redesign your life for retirement?

Maybe you know exactly what would bring meaning to this phase of your life, but you’re not sure how to make it happen or if you really can.

Maybe you have a pretty good sense of what you like and want to do more of, but you’re just not sure of what steps to take to figure that out. Or, maybe you feel an undefined yearning and want to find what can fill that hole and make you whole.


No matter what your situation is, you can gain valuable insights and ideas by tuning into yourself and trusting what you feel on the inside.

You’re the only one who knows what’s most important to you, and you’re the only one who will take responsibility for your choices.

Do retirement your way!

All the external advice from friends and family and the promotions geared at retirees provide good ideas and data, but it’s you who has to sift through it all and see what — if anything — resonates with you.

Why put your attention and focus on what others do, think, or say when you’re the only person who can really figure out what your unique essential self wants, desires, and can do?


Spend less time focused on the outside and all of its distractions, and spend more time on the inside getting to know yourself. It sounds so easy, but is it?

No need to feel intimidated — you can start small with a few basic steps.

Here are 4 simple strategies to creating a meaningful retirement plan that you can look forward to in the future.

1. Reclaim space.

Now that you have a bit more time, claim some time and space to get to know yourself inside.

As you go through your day, check in and reflect on thoughts and feelings that come up. Be curious and for a few minutes, just let them drift, grow, and evolve.

There’s no specific end goal here other than allowing yourself to listen to yourself and notice what you think, and especially, how you feel.


2. Examine your dreams.

Sometimes, you may be surprised to find the dream life you thought you wanted may not really be what you want.

Maybe packing up and relocating to a condo in Florida or splurging on a Harley Davison and hitting the highway for cross-country discovery trip just doesn’t feel completely open, peaceful, or tingly with anticipation anymore.

Perhaps times have changed and your old dreams have faded or transformed and your busy conscious mind never even noticed.

3. Learn how to work from the inside.

When you feel that you’ve gained enough space and some important insights, you might want to jot down a note about what came up: thoughts, emotions, body sensations, mental images, whatever.


You can also look for images that embody those thoughts and emotions and paste them into a journal, on a vision board, or up on a wall where you can regularly see them as you go about your day.

You might ask yourself:

  • "What thoughts and emotions came up?"
  • "Did I uncover any ways to make some changes I desire?"
  • "Did anything surprise me?"
  • "What do I want to explore and learn more about?"
  • "Did I get insights on questions and topics I’ve been mulling over for some time?"
  • "Have I gotten a few ideas about how to put my aspirations into play?"
  • "How did I feel (not what did I think) about certain thoughts, ideas, and images that came up?"

Repeat this process on a regular basis to resource and build a relationship with yourself. In time, you’ll gain more clarity and identify some steps.

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4. Check in, regularly, with yourself

Several times a day, take a very brief break from what you’re doing.

Ask yourself:

  • "What am I doing?"
  • "What am I feeling?"
  • "How am I behaving?"
  • "Am I content with this moment? If so, what makes me content?"
  • "Is there something I would like to change? If so, what?"

You might want to jot down some notes about this experience, as well.

Repeat this process on a regular basis to resource and build a relationship with yourself. In time, you’ll gain more clarity and identify some steps.

You can also take up some additional reflective practices if you have the interest and time.

Here are some common and valuable practices for inner connection and reflection include:

  • Meditation
  • Breath work
  • Contemplation
  • Sitting in silence
  • Walking alone in nature
  • Yoga
  • Journaling or automatic writing
  • Creating vision boards
  • Daydreaming
  • Dream interpretation
  • Energy healing (reiki, ThetaHealing, Integrated Energy Healing (IET), chakra healing, regression, and progression)
  • Shamanic journeying
  • Oracle or tarot card reading
  • Engaging a coach who can facilitate inward reflection

What this list illustrates is that the options are numerous and varied, providing all kinds of people with all kinds of needs. Consider this an opportunity to search inside yourself and find your own unique and authentic answers.


And by taking a step, you can create a more meaningful and authentic retirement for yourself, as well.

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Patricia Bonnard, PhD, ACC is a certified International Coaching Federation (ICF) Leadership Coach and a certified Martha Beck Life Coach. For more information, visit her website.