When going through major life changes particularly at a time of great uncertainty during mid-life, we can feel stuck, paralysed with fear and have no idea where to start.
During these times, I turn to my tried and trusted failsafe way to turn a plan or vision into action and learnings – in other words, a way forward.
Design-thinking has been a highly effective way to channel my dreams into the reality of a new lifestyle that suits my circumstances at each stage of my life.
It is an approach that I have repeatedly used for decades in my product innovation career to disrupt old industries, ripe for fresh blood with different teams made of diverse personality types, skills and motivations again and again…which goes to show that anyone can apply it to achieving a goal, whether it is professional or personal.
Here’s the 3 simple steps to applying design-thinking to kickstart your retirement 2.0 plan:
- Get inspired
Depending on how you plan and process information, there’s many ways to get inspired about what you may want to do next:
- Write down your goals and aspirations
- Discuss with others
- Create a vision board
- Observe others’ lived experiences
- Play with the *Starter kit
- Start a one week-long experiment
Whether that next major lifestyle decision is the ‘right’ choice for us is the hardest thing to grapple with? Without really knowing how we are going to feel about it, the best thing to do is not leap into a major lifestyle decision yet but dedicate just a small amount of time to trying it out, along with a purpose around your experiment.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Why do you want to run this experiment?
- What are the steps?
- What do you expect to come out of doing it?
- What would you like to learn about yourself?
- How do you expect to feel after the experiment?
For example, I’m currently going through some major mental shifts in my work and personal life so I’m seeking new ways of focusing just on what’s important to me, one thing at a time.
By breaking down the bigger goal of being a focussed person with a minimalist lifestyle (haha), I’m time boxing just one micro-change that can be repeated daily over a short period and then see how its going. If it’s feeling right and I can keep it up, then I will keep going and even expand on it.
So the objective of my next weeklong experiment is to increase my focus on just a few important and meaningful things. I’ve committed to trialling automatic writing, just 5 mins a day for at least a week. So far it’s going well as it’s just a small but frequent commitment that I’ve made to myself and my accountability partner, my teenage son, who I’d like to set an example for.
- Observe and learn from your reactions to the experiment
I’ve formed and also abandoned an equal number of new habits and activities over the years after giving each of them a fair go.
One of the activities that experimented with for a year was inspired by my love of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers’ movies. I always fancied myself bringing as much joy to my contemporaries through rhythm, music and movement. The more I learnt about the healthy aging benefits of learning to dance, the more motivated I was to start tap dancing.
So I gave weekly tap dancing classes a go but as much as I LOVED my 60+ tapdance teacher who was as fit as a fiddle and harped about the brain benefits of dance, I personally found my 2 left feet tripping over themselves frustratingly challenging.
Although it wasn’t a competition, it became increasingly obvious it was time to hang my tap shoes when others who started in the same beginners’ class had progressed several levels above me and were performing in front of an audience!
The point is that if I hadn’t taken the plunge to give it a go, it would have remained a unrequited dream for quite some time. Now I know that I’m better off learning or planning to do something else that does not rely mostly on my 2 left feet.
Next thing I’m signed up to learn for the first time is archery. Wish me luck in hitting the bulls’ eye this time to find a new enjoyable activity that helps me be in the moment!
What do you think of this approach to designing and taking action towards living a healthy, meaningful and connected lifestyle?
*Contact Tim if you are interested in getting your Full Time Living Starter Kit