According to Victor Strecher, author of “On Purpose” and Professor at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health,
It is important to have a purpose, a direction, in life, and it’s particularly important to have a self-transcending purpose, something that goes beyond yourself.
There is strong science that shows how this transcendent purpose helps you change your behaviors, therefore changing your life while benefiting your health.
This is extremely important for those who are retiring or who have already retired. Researchers have shown that those who had limited purpose in life were 2.4 times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s. In addition, those people with a strong purpose have been shown to live longer, be less likely to get heart attacks and less likely to get a stroke.
This is vital for the elderly. The ability to redefine your purpose toward something other than yourself may be the key component to living out your years with a healthy and positive outlook.
Sounds simple, but as the direction of life changes it is not always apparent to what the next phase of your life will be. Envisioning your life as your age is not easy. Do you remember thinking about the next phase when you were in your 20s or 30s? Not really. You were too busy living and getting things done to really have the time to consider what your future life would be like.
But as you age and look toward retirement and planning for this retirement, it might be a good idea to reflect on what your purpose is, currently and for the future. The more clearly you envision your purpose, the more likely that vision will allow you to have a reality check on your behaviors. And this will lead to a longer and more fulfilling life.
Planning is always the key component – financially and emotionally – for a longer healthier retirement.
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