Your Year End Checklist

Reflections for Baby BoomersNo matter where Baby Boomers are on the threshold of their retirement, it can be very beneficial to track their transition into their encore stage of life. Before creating visions and goals for your next year, I recommend taking time at the end of this year to reflect back on what you experienced during the current year.

10 Questions for Review and Reflection

Read through your calendar, journal, and any other documentation you may have used to record the events of this year. Give yourself uninterrupted time to do your review and reflections. Ask yourself these 10 questions:

  1. What overall pattern or trend did you discover for the year?
  2. What is one achievement that you are most proud of?
  3. What helped you to make that achievement happen?
  4. What stood in the way of achieving what you had planned?
  5. What do you want to work more on in the coming year?
  6. What will be different next year?
  7. What unexpected gifts or challenges did you experience this year?
  8. What do you wish you had known at the first of this year that you know now?
  9. If you could wave a magic wand, what would you make happen right now?
  10. What title would you give this year to fully describe it? – The year of ____________.

When you take the time to thoroughly review and reflect upon what you experienced in the current year, you honor your time, your energy, and your effort. It can be viewed as the stepping stone for what is to come next and can serve as a guide for you when you create your vision and goals for the upcoming year.

What did you learn from your review and reflection of this year?

Janice Williams Retirement Coach,



What Kind of a Planner Are You?

Planning retirementWhy bother to design your retirement lifestyle?   You may feel overwhelmed by the task of planning for the third phase of your life.  You may have been someone who has allowed your life to simply unfold at will, reacting as best you could.  You may find it easier to simply avoid thinking about your unknown future.

Have you ever considered that this chapter of your life could be different for you?  With some creative forethought and focused action, your retirement years can be a time of renewal and reinvention.  You can be in charge this time.

What would motivate you to initiate planning for your retirement?  What will it take to give yourself permission to step forward and make plans that will allow you to live your life with fulfillment and contribution, and leave a legacy of your choice?

What stops people?

  1. Fear of having to take responsibility for the changes in their life.
  2. Denial of the aging process.
  3. Fear of failing to plan their perfect lifestyle.

What starts people?

  1. Be the creator of the next phase of your life, not a victim of it.  When you take charge of creating the next phase of your life, you will feel stimulated and empowered to live your best life yet. 
  2. Accept that you age every day and there is no avoiding it.  When you accept that you have just this one lifetime to live, you can treat your time and energy with great respect so that you can give and receive the most.
  3. Take action now.  You can always make adjustments along the way as you explore your retirement years.  When you take action to move forward, know that sometimes your choices will not turn out the way you had intended.  Instead of feeling defeated, understand that you have simply learned that you can make other choices.

Planning your retirement lifestyle can be like how you plan a vacation trip.  People have a variety of ways they plan, but most include choosing a destination, a route, a means of transportation, places to stay, places to visit, etc.  Some people want to anticipate every detail before they start their vacation.  Others will have a general idea for their vacation and trust that they will know what to do next when the time comes.  Most people’s style of planning falls somewhere in between these two extremes. 

What style will you use to design the way you live your life in retirement?

Janice Williams, Retirement Coach,


What Is Your Vision for a Balanced Retirement Lifestyle?

Life balance in retirementWhen you retire from doing the frantic busy-ness of your full time work world, who will you be? A common question is Are you a human being or a human doing? As a Baby Boomer, do you recognize the difference for yourself?

Your transition into your retirement lifestyle will give you the opportunity to explore your life balance of being and doing. You will have the time and space to contemplate who you have really been all of your life. And, you will explore doing new activities. What do you envision for yourself?

Human Being

Where does your beingness come from? Your inner spirit has been the undercurrent serving you throughout your life. What do you experience when you connect with your inner being – peace, love, happiness, joy? Your retirement lifestyle will be greatly enriched when you tap into the vast reservoir of your spirit. To become familiar with your experience of connecting to your inner being, reflect on times when:

  1. You are in a beautiful, natural setting and feeling very peaceful
  2. You are open-heartedly serving the needs of another with love
  3. You are enjoying happiness of laughter in the present moment

Human Doing

In your full time work world you may have lived a life filled with doing activities at a frenzied pace to meet obligations and expectations of others. When you retire from all that, you have the chance to choose what you do and how you do it. What is the graceful pace that you will choose so that you live a life balanced with being and doing in the third phase of your life?

My Experience

Like many people, my professional and personal activities kept me very busy at a hectic pace. This eventually caused my immune system to falter and I had to learn to live my life at a more graceful pace in order to restore my good health.

I have two anchors that help me live my life in balance. One consists of my physical fitness activities which give me the strength, endurance, and flexibility to go about my day with ease. The other is my daily meditation practice which allows me to reconnect with my inner spirit and know that I always have all that I need within me.

What is your retirement lifestyle vision for living a balanced life of doing and being?

Janice Williams, Retirement Coach,


Can You Celebrate Your Life?

Celebrating retirement lifestyleBaby Boomers may discover that their identity changes significantly when they leave their full time work world and enter into their retirement lifestyle. What will your identity be when you thrive in the third phase of your life?

Have you ever considered what would be said about you in a eulogy in celebration of your life? What aspects of your life would you want people to know and remember? How would they identify you from what is described?

How do you want to be remembered?

Eulogies are given in memory of a person’s life after they pass away to celebrate that person’s whole life. They can include such topics as the person’s:

  • Unique traits and passions
  • Interests, hobbies, activities
  • Professional experience and expertise
  • Accomplishments and achievements

Exercise: Create your own eulogy by listing your specific qualities for each of the topics above. For each quality, write an uplifting story that demonstrates how you lived the quality. Reflect back through your entire life for your stories.

Are you living the identity of your choice?

After completing the exercise of listing your specific qualities and their supporting stories, what did you discover about the life you have led so far? Is it one that you would have chosen? Everyone’s life is filled with highs and lows and the unexpected. What is important is how you choose to respond to the events in your life. As you enter your retirement years, what is your identity at this time? What changes would you like to make in the third phase of your life?

Your retirement lifestyle gives you an opportunity to refine and enrich your identity so that you live your life with greater fulfillment, make new contributions, and leave a legacy of your choice.

My experience

When I completed my eulogy to celebrate my life, I saw my identity as someone who has always been focused on self-discovery and transformation. I continue to search for new ways to live my life with creativity and ease. And that energy creates the foundation for my retirement coaching practice at

Janice Williams, Retirement Coach at


How to Use WIIFM in Retirement

Vision for retirement lifestyleWhat is the vision you have for yourself in your retirement lifestyle? Your vision comes from being clear about your values. Did you determine your five most important values in the exercise in my blog posted on 9/11/12 entitled, Are You Really Living Your Values?

If you have had experience in influencing or persuading others, you understand the concept of WIIFMWhat’s in it for me? When you want others to believe in your ideas or take specific action, you know that you must appeal to what they value. The same principle works for creating your vision of your own retirement lifestyle. Your life will become what you value.

Vision framework

By knowing your five most important values, you can use them as a framework for making all of your decisions. When you are at the point of making a choice about your retirement vision, refer to your five values to determine how your choice would support being true to your values. At first, this exercise may take conscious effort. And, with practice, it will become automatic. Then, you will live your retirement lifestyle with integrity and authenticity.

Vision refinement

The interaction of your values and your vision for your retirement may require some tweaking as you work with them. You may want to more clearly define your values than what you stated at first. You may want to alter your vision to make sure you fulfill your values. For example, if you envision and value living a healthy lifestyle and hate to exercise, you may want to make some changes either to what you value or what you envision for yourself.

Your unique gift

And, it does not stop with just your vision for yourself. When you know what you value, that is your unique gift to share with others, too. By appealing to what you value you will unleash your true talents and thrive in the third phase of your life. You will live a life of fulfillment and contribution, and leave a legacy of your choice.

Janice Williams, Retirement Coach,


What Is the Purpose of Your Retirement Lifestyle?

What will your life purpose be in the third phase of your life? When you retire from your full Life purpose in retirementtime work world, your life purpose can be a key to helping you transition through this major change.

Have you even considered what your life purpose is? Many people have never taken the time to fully explore and define their life purpose. Although your life purpose has been with you always, it can manifest in new ways when you retire.

What is your life purpose

The immediate reaction to the concept of life purpose is often related to what you do in the world. What actions you take, how your serve. I believe that your life purpose is something much greater than that. It is the framework made up of your core values and your unique strengths. It is the structure from which you make all of your life choices – how you are being in the world as well as the actions you take. Knowing your life purpose can serve as a guide for creating your retirement lifestyle.

When you clearly define your core values and understand your unique strengths, you know what makes up the presence you offer wherever you are at all times. What is the energy that you want to be known for when you retire?

Benefit of your life purpose

Designing your retirement lifestyle gives you a wonderful opportunity to tap into your core values and unique strengths. They will give you the confidence and the creativity to help you live your third phase of life so that it is fulfilling and allows you to make your highest contribution.

In my exploration of my own life purpose, I studied the works of both Tim Kelley and Brad Swift. Below are links to their web sites for further information. I found that their workbooks allow for deep self-discovery and powerful personal transformation.

Tim Kelley, True Purpose.

Brad Swift, Life on Purpose.

Janice Williams, Retirement Coach,


What Is Your Ideal Day in Retirement?

Ideal Day in Retirement

Journaling can be a powerful method for uncovering what you truly want for your ideal retirement lifestyle. When you allow yourself to write freely from your own inner wisdom, you can learn new secrets about what you desire.

Exercise for journaling your ideal day in retirement

  1. Set aside one hour of uninterrupted time during which you can write freely without distraction.
  2. Find a comfortable place in which to write that will inspire your creativity to flow, such as out in nature or in a favorite chair.
  3. You may want to use a special journal just for this exercise, and any additional journaling that will follow.
  4. Imagine your ideal day five years from now. Pick a month of the year and a day within that month for your ideal day. Write them in your journal.
  5. Reflect on the following topics and write down what is revealed to you. Fully describe where you are on your ideal day – what does it look like, what are you doing, what are you feeling, who are you with? Make sure you use the most vivid and descriptive words possible to make your experience juicy.
  6. Then write a letter to someone – not to send, but to keep for yourself – telling them about your ideal retirement day as if it has already become a reality.

My experience

When I followed this exercise, my inner wisdom revealed an ideal day quite different from my current lifestyle. My ideal day was the first Wednesday in October, the day my husband and I take care of our 3-year old granddaughter for the entire day. Because I am currently single and have no indication of a granddaughter on the way, I was surprised what my journaling about my ideal retirement day revealed. I am most curious what will happen in the years to come that could make this ideal day my reality.

Janice Williams, Retirement Coach,


Do You Know Where You Are Going?

Mind Mapping RetirementHaving a vision for your retirement lifestyle is a beautiful thing. It makes your dreams feel more concrete and obtainable. It gives you focus, direction and a barometer upon which to make your decisions for your future. With a vision, you live with intention and purpose because you know where you are going when you retire. Without the direction of a clear vision for guidance, it is unlikely you will feel fulfilled because you will not base your decisions on what you want and where you are headed, but instead you will base them on circumstances of the moment.

Try creating a vision of what you want your retirement years to look like in each area of life, and picture it in your mind every day. Then create your plan to get there, take action with a resolve not to quit, and watch what happens. Even the smallest steps will lead you to your retirement goals.

One effective tool for creating your retirement lifestyle vision is mind mapping. Mind mapping is a popular method for capturing your ideas and organizing them in a meaningful visual diagram. Unlike list-making, the visual diagram of mind mapping allows you to make spatial associations among your ideas and gives you a more holistic view of each aspect of your retirement lifestyle.

Steps to mind mapping your retirement goals

1. Write your main idea in the center of a sheet of paper and draw a circle around it. It is helpful to use a color you relate to this main idea to help your brain associate with it.

2. As you reflect on your main idea, you will think of sub-ideas. Write each one down somewhere on the sheet of paper and draw circle around it in another color. Then, draw a line back to the main idea in the center.

3. Additional ideas may come up that relate to your sub-ideas. Write these down near your corresponding sub-ideas and draw circles around each of them in the same color as the related sub-idea. Then, draw a line back to each related sub-idea.

4. Take time to view your retirement lifestyle mind map to see what it reveals to you.

My experience

I use mind mapping to help me sort out and organize all of my thoughts related to a specific project. I created a mind map of all of the activities that were involved in completing my certification as a retirement coach. My mind map gave me an overview, as well as the details, of my program and helped me to see what it would take for me to accomplish my goal of becoming a retirement coach at

For those who are technically inclined, there are a number of free and inexpensive software programs available in the Internet. Search under the heading mind mapping technology.

Janice Williams, Retirement Coach,

How to Create Your Vision of Retirement

Vision Board for RetirementGreat leaders who have gone before us have told us that one of the secrets to their success is to start acting like a success before you are one. This advice also applies to thriving in your retirement lifestyle. Picture yourself, carry yourself, and talk to yourself as if you have already achieved the level of success you desire when you retire. Think about how you would act, what your retirement lifestyle would be like, what you would do with your time, the clothes you would wear, and the car you would drive. Think about these things often. Taste them, feel them, smell them and hear them. Experience them with your whole being again and again. You become what you think about. AND you become what you move toward. Start moving in the direction of who you want to be in your retirement lifestyle by acting as if you are already there.

Create a vision board

One effective way to picture your lifestyle when you retire is to create a vision board of what thriving in the third phase of your life will look like.

Supplies you will need: several lifestyle magazines filled with pictures, scissors, glue and a large sheet of construction paper or similar surface.

1. Gather together several lifestyle magazines that are filled with pictures. They can be purchased at any store that has a large selection of magazines.

2. Create your intention for this vision board and write it down – ask yourself what you would like it to reveal to you about your retirement lifestyle.

3. Go through the magazines and cut or tear out any pictures that catch your attention. Do this quickly without taking time to analyze the pictures.

4. Spread out your collection of pictures on a large surface. Again, without analyzing the pictures, pick up the ones that appeal to you in an instant and set them aside in a separate stack.

5. Now, spread out the new stack of pictures. Examine them carefully to see what they mean to you, how they relate to each other, what story they tell about your retirement lifestyle.

6. Make your final selection of the pictures that create the most meaningful vision of your intention in step no.2.

7. Place this final selection of pictures on the construction paper in the most appealing arrangement. Glue the pictures in place.

8. Spend some time viewing your retirement vision board. What messages does it have for you right now? How does it support your intention? Write down your thoughts.

9. Display your vision board where you will see it every day.

10. Continue to journal any additional thoughts that come to you related to your vision board during the next several weeks.

My experience

Making vision boards with an intention in mind can be great fun and revealing. I used this process to create a vision board that illustrates what it means to me to thrive in the third phase of my life. And after viewing it for several days, the vision board triggered the core content for the process I lead my clients through in my retirement coaching practice at

Janice Williams, Retirement Coach,

Cherish Conversation

Over the past few months, I have had the privilege of talking with many ‘local’ business owners, people who serve the ‘local’ market and those trying to figure out how to reach the ‘local’ marketplace.  Along the way, I re-discovered my own need to engage and connect, and was happy (grateful even) to take a few exits off the ‘information highway’ to rest, get inspired and talk for a while.  I had coffee, I broke bread, I laughed, I learned, I pushed ‘silent’ often, I ran into an old friend and I connected, truly connected with some amazing teachers.

Although, I work daily in the online world and continue to be fascinated by the digital tools we have available right now (and the ones coming our way daily) this experience reminded me to slow down, breathe, listen and really cherish a good conversation. All this online stuff is great, but I deeply hope that nothing will replace the good old face to face or voice to voice conversation.  I move on in my journey even more encouraged to continue my quest to understand how I can help local companies build bridges between where they are today and where they want to go through the ever illusive art of conversation (and a few cool tools as well!)

From these conversations, three key themes emerged across all of these conversations.  They show up as both concerns and keen insights.  I know looking at them from both angles will help me as I continue to explore how best to help my customers be found, be known and be heard.  My hope is that you find them useful, too.

1. Be Found – Tails and Tales:
Keywords have long tails, and that is good…search engines like them. Use them freely.  Stories sell, use words/text as links. Use them often site to site, page to page.

2. Be Known – Self:
Put your “self” forward, it is more powerful than just a product or being all business all the time.

3. Be Heard – And Don’t Disappear: 
Shhhh, I am listening actively and I will be here for you.

I know I said three, but here are six really good extras…

1. Time:
Find me time…to keep my social pages up to date without affecting the important time with customers who are actually in my store.

2. If:
If it is relevant to me I will come, if it is personal to me I will stay, if it is meaningful to me I will come back.

3. Be Social: 
It is not about ‘doing social’, it is about being social.

4. About Them: 
It is NOT about me, it is about them.

5. Simplify: 
Make it simple for your audience to relate to, to do, to understand, to engage.

6. Baby Steps: 
Crawl, walk, run.

Until next time, take an exit off the information highway, slow down, grab some coffee, find a teacher, listen, learn, enjoy the art and the heart of each conversation.  After all, doesn’t everyone want to be found and known and heard?  I know I do.

Joni Kovarik
BizDev Consulting
& Powering RelyLocal