Do you ever get stuck or stumble over your words when someone asks you what you want to do when you retire? Yeah. Me too. After years of putting everyone else’s needs before mine, it’s really hard for me to focus on what I want. Especially when I am busy just doing life.
How am I supposed to reinvent myself in midlife if I don’t even know who I want to be or what my passions are? I know I want to be happy and have purpose but I’m not sure what that looks like anymore.
Social media feeds make it look easy though don’t they? The new trend, or maybe not so new, is the whole concept of manifestation. Envisioning and affirming the life you want and then poof, it magically comes to be.
But you and I know there are a lot more steps in between that they aren’t telling us right? Like say, work?
We haven’t got to this point of our lives without realizing that you have to work for what you want. Sure, some things come easier to some than others, but all in all, we all have to put one foot in front of the other to propel ourselves forward. I have no problem with work. It is direction that I seem to lack.
What I do know is that, I have a strong feeling that the life I’m living right at this moment isn’t me. A little me but not whole me. I want more. More than just existing during that time in between work life and death. I want to embrace my retirement years as I shed responsibilities to others and blossom into a life fulfilling my soul purpose.
So how do you pivot or reinvent yourself in midlife? Especially when you don’t have a clue what to do. It all starts with eliminating what you don’t want thereby allowing what ultimately makes you happy, come to the surface. The following steps will guide you through that process of discovery.
Sure, you can make steps to change your appearance and style – you can invest in some cat eye glasses, you can start wearing more bold prints, you could change your hairstyle to a signature look – these are all fun changes and can help you feel confident. But at the same time, you may also want to change your lifestyle and habits too!
10 Steps To Reinvent Yourself In Midlife
1. Declutter and clean your home and mind.
For most people, and I’m one of them, it’s impossible to think in a messy or chaotic environment. After living in the same home for decades I have surrounded myself with a lot of stuff. And not necessarily stuff I like anymore.
The process of decluttering and cleaning allows you the time and mind space to weed out those things that no longer serve you and make decisions about what brings you joy. It’s a process.
As you go through and consciously decide what stays and what goes, you are not just cleaning your physical space, but helping your mind prepare for the process of reinventing yourself.
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2. Evaluate your relationships.
You have heard the saying that you are the average of the five closest people you interact with daily right? So think about it. Who are your five? Are they who you want to be? Do they make you strive to be better? Can you see yourself as friends in your future? It’s tough I know.
We all get stuck in relationships because of circumstance. Or just because you have known them for so long. Or because they were with you throughout a certain period of your life like college, work or motherhood. I’m not saying you have to drop them like a hot potato. What I am saying is that you can choose with whom and how much time you spend, cultivating certain relationships.
We all have toxic people in our lives to varying degrees. Sometimes these people are family. I get it. Cutting all ties is pretty much impossible. But you do control how, when and the degree of not only the physical time spent with them but the mental space we allow these people. Life is too short to hang with anyone that doesn’t lift you up and make you feel warm and fuzzy when you are together.
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3. Get your finances in order.
In a perfect world, money wouldn’t matter. But it does. It’s all well and good to set goals and create plans but I bet any dreams you have about reinvention, they most likely include a bucket of money to make them happen. Ok. That was a slight exaggeration. At the very least, you probably don’t want to worry about money when you pursue your new life.
For some, this is really difficult. Believe me. I know. I used to stick my head in the sand when it came to money, tackling the most urgent as they came my way. It’s a stupid way to deal with money and it was the catalyst for many, many stupid decisions.
Taking charge of my finances has been the absolute biggest propeller of reinventing my life. Not only has it helped me prepare and sustain, it has also opened up opportunity. Having control of your finances gives you options. Options give you choices. Ultimately, that is what you want.
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4. Journal your thoughts.
So if you have been implementing the steps so far, you should have a clean and decluttered home and mind, friends that lift you up and a financial plan for your retirement. You are now ready to start creating the life you want.
But hold up. You haven’t even decided what you want yet.
This is when you need to get back to basics and put pen to paper. It is amazing the clarity that comes from writing. And even if you cringe at the execution of this step, I encourage you to push through and just do it.
Make lists of things you want to try. Even the way out there ones. Write down pros and cons. People you want to talk to. Research you need to do. Books that you should read. Think of this as a brain dump. Keep your journal with you at all times to jot down notes or use your phone voice recorder. Do not censor yourself. List absolutely everything that you would like to try, no matter how far out there it may seem.
5. Explore your options.
Here is where the fun begins! Rate your list of things to try/do in order of importance/excitement to you. Try one thing at a time. Make sure you have really explored that option and give it the proper attention before you disregard it and jump to the next thing.
Use your journal to record your experiences, pros and cons. This way if you decide something is not for you, you will have written proof why. Believe me, there are many times an idea that has been tossed shows back up in my mind years later. You don’t want to waste time on it again.
However, for some ideas, it may have just been the wrong time to implement. Your journal notes will help you decipher all that. And as you go through and explore all your options, I have found it best to keep what I am doing to myself. Especially is you have nay sayers or dream killers in your posse. Though I appreciate input from others, I want to make my own decisions on what is right for me. If you hit on your new direction in this process, you are ready to go to the next step.
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6. Choose your focus.
Now that you have made your list and tried a few things, you should be able to narrow down your list to 1 or 2 things that you would like to explore further. You may have selected these things through the elimination process in the step above or you may have a gut feeling or pull towards a certain experience that excites you. Start a fresh new page in your journal and write your goal in big letters at the top.
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7. Make a plan.
This is where your dreams and goals come alive. Working backwards from your goal or dream, what are the incremental steps that will lead you there? What research do you need to do? Will you have to move or re-locate? What financial situation do you need to be in? Don’t forget to give yourself a date you would like to have this all happen by.
Take all of this information and break it down into things that need to happen every month, then week and then day. Create to do lists and make sure that your priorities always have your end goal in mind and keep you moving towards your target.
The only way to reach your goal is to make sure you work towards it, every single day. Remind yourself you can do this. And make contingency plans for anything that may derail you. The more focused and prepared you are, the greater the chance for success. And if you do hit a bump in the road, work through it and keep your eye on your big goal.
Watch this video to help you set up SMART goals:
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8. Surround yourself with people who are where you want to be.
This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to meet these people in person. With the wonderful world wide web, you can connect with anyone. Or at least observe them. Find mentors or groups to join on Facebook. Follow people on Instagram. Read blogs or books by people who have succeeded in fulfilling the same goals you have set for yourself. This will help keep you motivated and get ideas on how you can better execute your plan to reach your goal.
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9. Allow yourself grace to pivot.
Making life changing decisions and setting plans into action is super hard. You learn a lot about yourself. This may be the very first time you have really allowed yourself to dream. You may be very unclear about what you want. You may feel a lot of stress or anxiety.
Give yourself compassion to work through the process and if something doesn’t work out or doesn’t seem to fit anymore into your vision, it is okay to change it up. This is your life. If you need to re-evaluate your goals and set a new plan, do it. You deserve to have joy and live life to its fullest.
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10. Don’t quit.
Success happens because you learn how to work through failures, pick yourself up and just keep going. Keep your eye on the ball. Remember why you want to achieve your goal. That will help you when times get tough or plans don’t work out quite like you expected.
I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed. Michael Jordan
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As a woman over 50, that has taken care of everyone else, it is time for you to be selfish. Think about what you want your life to look like, set goals and plans into action, and re-invent yourself in midlife so that you can live your second half to the fullest.
Give yourself permission to dream, take chances and experience new things. You can find your passion and purpose. You just have to open yourself up to the possibilities.