Changing our behaviour – before retirement

We’ve all heard stories about giving and receiving advice and I experienced some of the problems  associated with the practice recently. I was asked to talk to someone who was having issues at work he wasn’t handling well. After talking about his concerns for a while, it became fairly obvious that he would have to make some changes to both the way he perceived the situation and the way he behaved in the work environment. So far so good. He responded quite rationally and agreed with most of the advice being given.

But when we began talking about  how he should change his attitude and  behaviour to implement the ideas we had previously agreed on, things started to go downhill. This was when the rational approach was replaced by the emotional response and all the reasons why he couldn’t / shouldn’t change his behaviour came to the surface. Unfortunately, when it comes to a contest between emotions and rational responses, it’s a pretty good chance that emotions will win out.

All this serves to remind us that changing our behaviour, even when we know that change is necessary, is often difficult. We need motivation, commitment and perseverance. As I was reminded recently, we need to be committed emotionally if we are going to be able to stick with the changes, even when the going gets tough. This lack of emotional commitment is probably the reason that so many of our good New Year resolutions don’t last past February.

Retirement presents us with a great opportunity to make some changes to our personality which will make us better people to be around. Some of our work characteristics like “driven, ruthless, a workaholic etc.” are not character traits that are going to make us attractive company in retirement.

You now have the opportunity to look honestly at your personality and ask others close to you to comment on your good and bad points. If you think there’s not much room for improvement, your partner might have other ideas.

If you really want to make changes to your attitudes and behaviour, you need to understand that  it will require more than just wishing that the changes would happen. It will require determination and perseverance. For this reason it’s often better to work at introducing change in smaller, achievable steps, rather than setting big goals which will be very challenging.

If you would like some help in making  positive changes to your behaviour, two of our books contain chapters that could help. They are “A Holistic Guide to a Happy Retirement” and “How to  be Happy, Retired and Single”.

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