Today I did a personal audit. I asked myself to what degree I was practicing becoming the person I want to be as I transition into a new phase of my life.
As I reflected on my efforts to transition into my encore career after retirement from teaching, I believe I am making good progress. Because I want to speak, write, and conduct workshops after I retire, I make a practice of doing some of this work now so that I develop new disciplines and establish a foundation for my next life.
I also reviewed my financial disciplines. I have been disciplined in saving and monitoring my expenses. I know how much money I will have available when I retire. I also know what spending habits I will need to adjust when I retire.
While I can pat myself on my back for making positive strides toward being my best self in the future, I realize there are a couple areas I need to address.
First I need to work on my attitude. I would like to think of myself as a positive person who inspires others to be their best. Yet that is not what I’ve practiced over the last couple of months. I’ve complained constantly about trivial matters such as a neighborhood teenager who has been spitting gum on our driveway each day. Yes, it is a problem that needs to be addressed, but constantly complaining will not resolve the problem. I’m also involved on a contract negotiation team. It is so easy to look at the people on the other side of the table as “those others” rather than as individuals who have different roles and perspectives. When I start framing the world as “us and them,” I feel more distrusting and cynical. I think I’ve also allowed a polarized national climate influence my attitude. I need to stop, check my attitude, listen more openly to others, and practice a whole lot more gratitude.
The second area I need to address involves my eating behaviors. While I’m a healthy eater, I’m not a disciplined eater. I don’t consume a lot of processed foods or sweets, and I eat very little meat. However I am constantly snacking. I likely consume more calories snacking each day than I do eating three healthy meals. I first discovered that my snacking was out of control when I set up a measurable action plan for my eating behaviors last year. Each day I monitored how many times I snacked in-between-meals. The behavior I wanted to develop and maintain was to have no unplanned snacks per day. Once I started monitoring my behavior, I realized on some days I stuffed food in my mouth up to six times a day. Gradually I was able to move toward minimal or no snacking. Once I quit snacking, I started losing weight. Unfortunately, I quit monitoring my snacking. The discipline I was trying to develop had not yet become a new life habit. Tomorrow I am planning to monitor my snacking again.
I’m glad I took time to do some reflecting today. I’m doing well in some areas but could certainly improve in others. The good news is that tomorrow is another day.
If you aren’t already doing periodic personal audits, I encourage you to do so. Like me, you’ll likely find some areas of success and some areas where a bit more discipline is required.