Every year of my young adult life, I reluctantly spent several weeks before year-end writing my goals, specifically my career goals for the coming year. Being the kind of person that always preferred being spontaneous, I thought goal setting was really not my thing. Over time however, my bosses and colleagues drilled into me that without goals, I would not be able to measure what I accomplished. My take had been if I did what was expected of me and usually more than expected, we would all be happy. That of course was not going to help me in the long run to lead my nonprofit organizations to accomplish what needed to be done.

How many clients did we serve, how many programs did we provide and were we cost effective? Could we find partnerships with the same mission to make us stronger and serve more individuals? If we meet our expected goals, how much do we increase going forward?  Finally, I decided that I had this goal setting thing down. Let’s expand our reach by adding programs in new communities, let’s add more programs on and on. We can increase revenue by doing so and so, and on I went creating goals to challenge myself. In fact, after all those years it came naturally.

Then…the day came for me to retire…no more goals. First reaction, wow this is really living. I can sleep late, do what I want or just do nothing. For a week or so, I did nothing, just as I dreamed of doing. To my surprise, I began to feel useless, the day really had no meaning. One day just melted into the next and before I knew it the hours were gone, a day in my life was gone. I meant to call a friend today, the sun was out …didn’t I think about a walk? There are closets that scream to be cleaned out, recipes I wanted to try …but I had been doing nothing, just wasting life. This has to change!

Today is a new day. I may not be a CEO any longer but I can be a volunteer, a better grandmother, a better friend. Time is no longer in the way, sometimes health or energy issues take over but then I can simply adjust my day to a goal that is doable. Just because we are no longer “building our careers” does not mean that we can’t continue to grow and learn new things. For me, most of all, retirement still means goal setting regardless if it is personal or for my new career as a volunteer. It is time to share what I spent forty plus years learning. It is my time to model for others what the hundreds of amazing volunteers did for me all of the years.  It is a time to give back. I now volunteer to write grants, serve on boards, serve as a mentor, do events and serve a prayer ministry. I need to set goals to do everything.

Life will be so much more meaningful to do our best to be challenged to accomplish something every day and then when we succeed, it’s a great feeling. Today’s goal you might wonder…organize my kitchen!