Most people I know are not only relieved about 2020 being over, they’re also looking forward to 2021 with optimism that things will get better. Here’s a way for you to take stock of how you’re doing personally so that you are ready to refire—and step into the New Year with new, achievable goals.
(Note: Even though these concepts are from Refire! Don’t Retire, a book I wrote with my friend Mort Shaevitz, this exercise will work for you no matter what age you are!)
When you consider refiring, think in terms of four basic areas of your life: Emotional, Intellectual, Physical, and Spiritual. As you read, think about whether you would rate yourself high or low, right now, in these four areas.
- EMOTIONAL is about being playful, friendly, joyful, loving, spontaneous, and enthusiastic. It involves reaching out to others. Our research shows that people who are emotionally close with family, friends, and work colleagues are happier, more loyal, and more productive.
- INTELLECTUAL is what you are doing to keep your mind active and still learning. Read books, take classes, stretch your mind. Be open to learning every minute of every day! Remember, when you stop learning, you might as well lie down and let them throw the dirt over you!
- PHYSICAL is about healthy living and includes such things as exercising, eating right, and getting plenty of sleep. It’s been easy to let some of these things lapse during quarantine, especially if you are among the millions of folks who suddenly found themselves working from home. But it’s more important now than ever before to practice self-care by making choices for yourself that will keep you in good physical condition.
- SPIRITUAL isn’t necessarily about religion. It can also be about getting in touch with something important outside of yourself—looking outward rather than inward. It’s the opposite of material things. It’s about counting your blessings, realizing you’re not the center of the universe, working toward a higher purpose, and focusing on the greater good.
As I’m writing this, I’d rate myself high in the Emotional area—I have lots of people around me that I can reach out to and love. I’m also doing well in the Spiritual area—I am in close contact with my Higher Power (for me, it’s God), and I enter my days slowly with prayer, gratitude, and a positive outlook.
I’m more of a work in progress in the Intellectual and Physical realms, so I’m going to look at improving in those two areas in 2021.
Intellectually, I’m excited about finishing writing a book with my colleague Randy Conley, tentatively titled DUH! Why Isn’t Common Sense Common Practice? I’m also looking forward to working on a book with my son, Scott. Writing really gets my mind going!
Physically, I need to get on my recumbent bike for at least 30 minutes a day and take my dog, Joy, for walks 3 or 4 times a week. In addition, I need to get back to doing my stretching and weight exercises daily. To make these activities happen, as my colleague Art Turock has said for years, I need to ask myself, “Am I just interested in these things, or am I committed?” When you’re merely interested, you sometimes put things off until tomorrow. But when you’re committed, you do what you say you are going to do, no matter what!
So how did you do? If you gave yourself a not-great rating in any of these areas, don’t sweat it! We all had a rough 2020. Just set one reasonable goal at a time—a goal you know you can commit to, and achieve, in 2021. When you accomplish that goal, set another attainable goal in a different area. Before you know it, you will be refiring on all cylinders!
So Happy New Year to you and yours. Refire to make 2021 a great year!