Why Hobbies are Important

Hobbies
Whilst you're still working, you may believe that hobbies aren't really necessary.  After all, they do take time away from work and family and, let's face it, we never have time to do everything we want to do, do we?. However, personal pursuits serve many important functions including helping keep you emotionally and mentally healthy.

If you've been avoiding spending time doing activities you like to do, retirement can be a time to re-commit to some "me time" and start up your favorite pastimes again.

  1. Hobbies provide an opportunity to release your stress and recharge your batteries. It's widely understood in the medical community that stress can be destructive. Crafts and other personal activities help you let go of stress as you focus on something you enjoy.

  • When you feel anxiety or frustration, hobbies are a healthy outlet for those feelings.

  • Immersing yourself in your favorite activity frees you from troublesome thoughts.

  1. Explore your creative side through practicing a hobby. Do you typically take time out of your busy day to let your creative juices flow? Hobbies fulfill this very important role, giving you the time and reason to produce something of your own design. (And how satisfying does it feel to do that?)

  2. Planning time to do your special craft says that you're important and worthy. You deserve to have those special moments. They're a great way to practice self-care!

  3. Hobbies can bring balance to your life with social activities. Socializing is an important element of a balanced life. Hobbies can serve as encouragement to socialize, particularly if you display your wares or stay active in a club.

  4. Personal pastimes bring fun and enjoyment to your life. Hobbies are truly enjoyable for many people and give you a chance to take delight in something you're doing.

  5. Your work or career may not have allowed you to express yourself as you might like. Hobbies, on the other hand, provide an outlet for personal expression.

  • If your passion is painting pictures, you can paint whatever you want. Likewise, if you knit, you can choose the color, yarn, gauge, and pattern, to create something all your own.  It doesn't matter if no-one else likes it - so long as you do!

  • Because everyday life can seem monotonous and bring feelings of powerlessness, hobbies serve as wonderful respites.

  1. Particularly for people who live alone, pastimes provide structure and ritual to life. Find some daily time to grab your sketchpad and go outdoors to sketch a tree or the house across the street. (Rituals are comforting and enjoyable, and hobbies are a wonderful way to spend time alone.)

  1. Many hobbies are versatile; you can do them by yourself or with friends. Experiment with attending your local club or group to practice your pursuit with others.

Seeking Your Special Hobby: Find Your Bliss

Spend some time doing activities that bring you joy. If you're not sure what type of pursuit to add to your life, consider these suggestions:

  • Start looking around for a new hobby. Keep your mind open to new activities you hear about.

  • Check out your local newspaper or listen to the local radio station to discover what's going on in your community. Maybe there's a new boating club or book discussion group you'd like to join.

  • Feel free to go to just one or two club meetings to see if you're going to enjoy a particular pastime. You can always look for other activities if you find that one doesn't suit you.

  • Pay attention to the hobbies of your friends and neighbours. Ask to observe your friends or even join them for a morning, afternoon or evening, taking part in their activities to see what you think.

Hobbies are important for many reasons, such as de-stressing, allowing creativity, bringing balance to your life and providing opportunities for self-expression. If you haven't spent time lately with your beloved pastime, now's the time to get back to it.

If you don't have an activity you truly enjoy, use the suggestions above to find your bliss. Before you know it, your life will feel more enriched than ever before!

 


11 Famous People That Succeeded Later in Life

Late success
Do you feel like it’s too late to achieve a significant amount of success? Okay - so many of the most successful people did start at a young age. Which can be disheartening for the late bloomers among us. But many of the most successful people you know didn’t get started until much later in life.

If you think you missed the boat because you’re not in the first flush of youth, you couldn’t be more wrong. In fact, you’re wrong even if you’re 80.

Success often isn’t achieved until later in life:

Samuel L. Jackson didn’t get his first big role until the age of 43. Prior to that he was a struggling actor with little future. Now he’s known by people all over the world for his acting. How many movies, TV shows, and video games has he been in since that first big role in Jungle Fever? 140!

Sam Walton founded Wal-Mart at the age of 44. He had been successful in the retail environment in his younger years, but nothing out of the ordinary. Wal-Mart went on to become one the biggest companies in the world, and Walton become one of the world’s richest.

Stan Lee. Known to everyone as the creator of Spiderman and the X-Men, Stan Lee didn’t experience success until the age of 39. And his most well-known work didn’t occur until several years after that. Who says it’s too late to do something incredible with your life?

Ronald Reagan never held a political office until the age of 55! He became one of the most popular presidents in modern history.

Colonel Sanders didn’t invent his famous chicken recipe until he was 50. His famous chain of restaurants is still doing well today. His likeness has been used to market KFC since the very beginning.

College students everywhere owe a debt of thanks to Momofuku Ando. At the age of 48, he created those Ramen noodles that poor students rely on for life itself. How many times have you had Ramen noodles in your life?

Charles Darwin wrote On the Origin of Species at the age of 50. No book has had a greater effect on the theory of evolution than Charles Darwin’s iconic book.

Taikichiro Mori became a real estate investor at the age of 55. He was a professor before that. He was the richest man in the world in 1992 with a net worth $13 billion. He inherited his first building from his father. The rest he accomplished on his own.

And they were all just babies in comparision to:

Grandma Moses who started painting at the age of 78. If you have the gumption, you can still make an impact after 70. One of her paintings sold for over a million dollars.

Laura Ingalls Wilder didn’t publish her first novel until she was 65-years old. She wrote an additional 12 novels after that. A successful television series was built around her series of books. Older children still read her books today.

Peter Roget created the first thesaurus when he was 73-years old. He was trained as a medical doctor but had an obsession with words, especially words that had the same meaning. He quit his medical career to focus on the creation of the first thesaurus. The most popular thesaurus in the world still bears his name.

So you see - it’s never too late to leave your mark on the world! But time is constantly passing, so it’s time to start making it happen. Spend the later portion of your life pursuing something you love. There’s still time to do something amazing!

 


How to Make a Fresh Start

Fresh start
Is your retirement in the doldrums?  Do you sometimes wish you'd never retired at all and feel that your life has taken a downward turn since the day you left your job?  Do you wish you could start your retirement over again - and make a better job of it this time?

Sometimes, you've been looking forward to retirement for so long, that you blow it.  Completely.  

Let me explain.

When you looked ahead to your retirement, you saw the opportunity to chill out, spending leisurely mornings with coffee and the paper bed and, finally, doing only the things you really wanted to do (after a lifetime of doing what your bosses wanted you to do).

So, when retirement arrived, you did just that. You chilled, you read the paper and you watched a lot of TV (or played a lot of golf).  And, even though a niggling voice somewhere inside yourself was telling you that there must be more to retirement than this, you ignored it in favour of 'just a few more days of relaxation'.  Which was followed by 'just a few more days...' until, before you knew it, a couple of years had passed, you'd piled on the pounds from all that sitting around, lost contact with 90% of the people you knew and your world had shrunk to the size of your living room.

Okay, so you’ve thrown your hands up in the air and declared that something must change. You’re ready for a fresh start. While your current situation may be challenging, the intention of making a fresh start is a good sign. It’s much better than giving up and resigning yourself to watching daytime TV for the rest of your life!

What do you need to change? Is it just one area of your life or do you need a complete makeover?

You can make a fresh start in any area of your life:

  1. Home. Consider giving your living arrangements a makeover. You could move to a new home or change your existing home. Move the furniture or purchase new stuff. Paint the walls a new colour. Convert a spare room into a room with a purpose. It could be dedicated to music, arts and crafts, or meditation.

  2. Finances. Create a budget. Get a retirement job. Talk to a financial advisor. Start an online business. Address your debt. Start offering a service that people need. Look at your current financial challenges and finally address them with a detailed, step-by-step plan you can stick to.

  3. Social life. It’s time to say goodbye to the people in your life that drag you down and replace them with those that provide a boost to your life. Meet some new friends and try a few new social activities. Work on your dating skills and catch the partner of your dreams.

  4. Health and body. Hire a personal trainer or join a gym. Find a diet that works for you. Address any health issues you might have. Visit the doctor and the dentist. Try a new sport. Just get out and move your body!

  5. Belief structure. Investigate a new religion or philosophy. Learn how to meditate. Question your beliefs and find a purpose. Read a good book each month and apply what you learn.

These are just a few ideas. You can also address your current relationships, attitude, or fears. It isn’t necessary to change everything at once. In fact, addressing one area at a time will yield better results.

Useful tips for changing your life:

  1. Develop systems that support your desired change. For instance, if you want to meditate daily, create a schedule that ensures you’ll be compliant. Use a timer so you won’t worry about spending too much time or falling asleep.

  2. Visualize the change. See yourself with a healthy body or bank account. Allow yourself to feel successful and proud. Project yourself into the future and enjoy the changes you’ve made.

  3. Be willing to fail from time to time. It’s not easy to change. In fact, your brain is highly resistant to change. You’re doing well enough to be alive, and that’s good enough for your brain. It views any change as potentially dangerous, so it’s not going to allow you to change easily. Expect that you’ll struggle during the process.

  4. Commit to persevering. Make sure that you succeed.

  5. Be kind to yourself. Celebrate each victory, no matter how small. Give yourself a pat on the back when you deserve it. Any progress is great news, so enjoy it.

The decision to make a fresh start can be daunting - especially when we're not as young as we used to be. If you're not happy with the way things are, it's never too late to try something different. Before you do anything irreversible, however, just give careful thought to the changes you want to make. It’s a mistake to believe that any change is a good change. There are many changes you could experience that are worse than your current situation. Make conscious decisions rather than clinging to the first log that floats by.

Making a fresh start can result in a new and exciting experience. Aim high and be diligent. You’ll be glad you did.

 


10 Habits of the Happiest People

Happiest people
Why are some people happy all of the time? The happiest people have habits that raise the odds of feeling happy. Unhappy people have habits that result in less desirable feelings. It can be that simple. If you’re not as happy as you’d like, take a look at your habits.

Those that are happy share many qualities. Adopting these same qualities will yield positive results.

Habits that lead to happiness are enjoyable to implement:

  1. Optimism. Obviously, if you believe good things will happen, it’s much more likely that you’ll be happy. Expecting the worst does nothing to improve your mood! Realistically, it’s not even important to expect a positive outcome, only to believe that everything will be okay.

  • Optimism is also a form of belief in yourself. If you believe that you can handle any outcome, you can be optimistic and have the mental freedom to be happy.

  1. Altruism. Doing things for others provides multiple benefits. You can see firsthand that you have a lot to be grateful for. You can feel good about yourself for assisting others. You have a good reason to get out of the house. You also feel useful.

  • Make a list of at least three ways you can help others that will also fit into your schedule.

  1. Gratitude. Do you realize how many great things and people you already have in your life? By maintaining focus on the things you don’t have, you’re making yourself unhappy. Experiencing gratitude helps to create feelings of happiness.

  2. An exciting future. Maximum happiness requires that you have something to look forward to. It can be taking that road trip that's been on your bucket list since forever, the birth of a new grandchild, Christmas, a vacation, or a hot date on Saturday night. Have a few goals that give you a reason to be excited. Have goals that are both short-term and long-term.

  3. Success. Spend some time doing things that you’re good at and provide you with a feeling of satisfaction. It feels good to do well at something. It doesn’t have to be a competitive event. You can hit golf balls at the range or play the guitar and feel great about yourself.

  • Make of list of the things you excel at and try to spend at least a little time each day doing one of them.

  1. Resilience. It’s impossible to avoid challenging times. Sooner or later, something will happen that threatens your progress, success, or happiness. Resilience is the ability to continue forging ahead. Some people have a knack for making obstacles seem bigger than they really are. Others are able to maintain their composure and continue making progress.

  2. Reasonable expectations. When your expectations are overly optimistic, you’ll routinely experience disappointment. When your expectations are consistently low, you won’t feel very optimistic. Neither is a recipe for happiness.

  3. Forgiveness. How can you be happy while holding a grudge? Forgiving others quickly and easily make happiness possible. You might feel that some people don’t deserve forgiveness, but what is the alternative? Making yourself unhappy.

  4. Authenticity. Spending your time pretending to be something you’re not is a challenge to your self-esteem. Happiness is allusive if you don’t feel comfortable being yourself. Allow your uniqueness to show.

  5. Presence. Thinking about the past leads to regret. Thoughts of the future lead to anxiety. Keep your mind in the present if you want to experience happiness on a regular basis.

There’s nothing complicated about happiness. Forgive others, be yourself, give of yourself, and be grateful for the things and people you already have. Having an effective set of habits will result in feeling more happiness.

 


Create Your Own Bucket List

Bucket list
How many things have you done in the last five years that you consider to be meaningful? You can bet that you’ll have even more meaningful experiences over the next five years if you create a bucket list.

You might consider a bucket list to be silly or something that you should have done earlier in your retirement, but it’s never too late to start examining your life and prioritizing your time.

Create a bucket list that fills you with enthusiasm:

  1. Start with childhood. You had a lot of great ideas when you were a child. You’ve forgotten many of them or dismiss them as silly childhood dreams. Now is the time to dust them off and reconsider. What did you want to do and see as a child?

  2. Check out other bucket lists on the internet. You’ll be amazed at some of the things you’ll find that you’ve never considered. Get inspiration from others.

  3. Brainstorm. Take an day to work on your list. Turn off all your electronic devices and allow your imagination to run wild. Write down everything that comes to mind without judging it. You can evaluate your list at another time. It might be easier to come up with ideas if you consider particular categories one at a time.

  • Travel. Where have you always wanted to visit? Consider places near and far. Maybe there’s a famous burger joint in the next town or a state park you’d like to visit. Remember that the world is big, but largely accessible. In one day, you can find yourself anywhere on Earth.

  • Sports. Have you ever wanted to try hang gliding or learn how to ice skate backwards? Run a marathon or try deep sea diving?

  • Adventure. Ride a camel across the desert? Fly in a helicopter? Try your hand at zip lining? Ride across the US or Canada on a motorcycle? Swim with dolphins?

  • Events. Maybe you’ve always wanted to attend a Super Bowl or watch the Rolling Stones live. Do you have a favorite comedian you’d like to see? Watch the northern lights? Watch a famous opera or ballet?

  • Creativity. Write a book or song? Learn to play the banjo? Take salsa dance lessons?

  • These are just a few ideas. What other categories come to mind?

  1. Give yourself a week to continue adding to your list. You’ll find that new ideas pop into your mind at random moments. Keep adding to your list and don’t worry about the length. You can pare it down to size later.

  2. Ask your friends for ideas. Find out what your friends have put on their bucket lists. You’ll get a few more good ideas, as well as a few suggestions.

  3. Prioritize your list. Rank your big list from most desirable to least.

  4. Make plans for this year. Starting at the top of your list, which items could you do this year? What do you need to do to make this happen?

  • Decide what you can do to overcome your limitations and put your plan into action. Once you’ve set an objective, it’s important to take a first step as soon as possible. Show yourself that you’re serious by making preliminary plans.

Now that you have a good bucket list, get busy crossing off items from your list! Making a bucket list is valuable because it requires you to think and prioritize. Think carefully and rank your list items. Creating a bucket list can help ensure that your life remains exciting and fulfilling in retirement - and will, hopefully, leave you with fewer regrets at the end.