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Some Thoughts for a GOOD Retirement

This isn't about money (although, not having to worry about money is also a GOOD thing).

This isn't about health, medical care, or how to pay for it all.

This is about building habits that will make this the Best Part of Your Life.

I had been aimlessly browsing, ahem - I mean strictly reading what was absolutely necessary, when I happened upon a reference that intrigued me.

It led me to this site. What Ann Voskamp wrote about struck a chord in me.

She wrote about habits and how they can transform your life. Not just by the immediate outcomes, but how they can bring God's Grace to your life.

Now, I'm not the most knowledgable about religious matters, but what she said struck me as true.

One of the things she said seemed unbelievable.
Forty-five percent of what we do every day is habitual,” say the researchers, “performed almost without thinking in the same location or at the same time each day, usually because of subtle cues.
Other sources have cited different figures (the full text has some other interesting things from that study):

About 40 percent of people's daily activities are performed each day in almost the same situations, studies show. Habits emerge through associative learning. 'We find patterns of behavior that allow us to reach goals. We repeat what works, and when actions are repeated in a stable context, we form associations between cues and response,' a researcher explains.
How long does it take to form a habit?
Habit formation is the process by which a behavior, through regular repetition, becomes automatic or habitual. This is modelled as an increase in automaticity with number of repetitions up to an asymptote.[10][11][12] This process of habit formation can be slow. Lally et al. (2010) found the average time for participants to reach the asymptote of automaticity was 66 days with a range of 18–254 days. 
Charles Duhigg, a reporter for The New York Times and author of The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business found similar stats. I'd read the interview, as it gives a pretty good overview of his work, and included this part, talking about how he broke his afternoon cookie habit, through looking at possible cues - in his case, it was the time of day.

He analyzed what he seemed to get out of the habit - it wasn't food; if he ate a piece of fruit, he still craved the cookies.

He finally decided that part of it was getting up, so he tried taking a water break, walking around outside, and talking with colleagues. That last seemed to be the thing he really sought - he wanted to socialize at that time. So he started getting up, stretching, and looking for someone to talk to for a few minutes. That gave him his reward, without causing him to consume empty calories.

And, was finally able to break the habit.

When I thought about unconscious habits, one that I immediately jumped on was aimless web browsing.

I thought about a cue I could use for a new habit, getting up out of my seat and moving/exercising.

I found one right away - getting to the end of a page. I decided to use that for my cue.

Other cues related to this:

  • Closing a page
  • Opening a page
  • Switching Tabs
  • Checking email
These are relatively simple cues that I can use to trigger the habit I want to make/break. In general, it's easier to replace a habit than to just quit, so I may also come up with alternative behaviors that I can do, instead.


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