How To Draft A New Chapter In Your Life

Your life is your story. And, like all stories, each passage or segment of your life represents a new chapter. As defined by a major event such as graduating from college, getting married, entering a new career, or retiring, your new chapter signifies a time of change for you. How you structure or fail to structure your next passage will determine the outcomes of your future.

Step One:
Are you ready to move on to a new chapter in life? 

If your answer is YES, start NOW by formulating your strategy for realizing a better tomorrow.

To draft your course of action, take time to reflect and jot down the answers to these questions.

  1. What does your current life look like now?


  1. What is your vision for your new chapter in life?


  1. What action steps can you take to get there?


Step Two:
Incorporate the following areas into your action steps. Create at least one step for each area. Be specific and realistic.

  • Physical: overall health and well-being
  • Mental: personal growth and development (include knowledge and education)
  • Family: relationships and home environment
  • Social: professional and personal relationships and community service
  • Spiritual: moral, ethical, and spiritual values

Example: Jack is an accountant for a small firm in Boston. He will be retiring within the next few weeks. Here is a sample of how Jack began to set up his action steps.

  1. Physical: Due to my hectic work schedule, I have failed to exercise much. After retirement, I want to go to the gym and get back into better shape.
    Action Steps: Join the local gym and work with a personal trainer for the first six months. Attend the gym at least three times a week.
  2. Mental: I have always wanted to learn how to play the guitar but have never had the time to learn.
    Action Steps: Purchase a guitar and take private guitar classes once a week. Commit to practicing the guitar a minimum of 30 minutes per day.
  3. Family: My wife and I have always wanted to travel abroad. We have never been to Europe together.
    Action Steps: Within the next three months, plan and take a river cruise through the Scandinavian countries and Russia. Make this a retirement celebration.

Note To Self: Use this process as your guide. As you work through your plan, monitor your progress and be flexible enough to make the necessary changes to stay the course.

Written by: Patricia K. Flanigan, Smart Strategies for Successful Living

Patricia K. Flanigan has worked in higher education for over 28 years. She holds a doctoral degree in Organizational Leadership from the University of La Verne as well as a M.A.  in Latin American Studies and B.A. in Anthropology from the University of California, Los Angeles. Before retiring and moving to Idaho in 2015, she served as the dean of online education and learning resources at Saddleback College, a large community college in Southern California. She currently consults in higher education, volunteers for AARP, writes for a local magazine, and serves as an Affiliate Faculty member at Boise State University  and on the Board for LEARN Idaho.  Since February 2017, she has been the founding director for Smart Strategies for Successful Living, a community-based website designed to promote quality aging.  As an educator, her focus is to inspire others to live and age well.