How To Figure Out What To Do After Retirement: 16 Tips + 101 Ideas

As your retirement is coming closer, you might wonder, how do I figure out what I want to do after retirement?

Don’t look any further because this article will help you figure it all out with 16 practical tips and 101 amazing ideas on what to do in retirement. Let’s unpack right away.

How To Figure Out What To Do In Retirement: Step-by-Step Guide

Knowing what to do after retirement makes you instantly more excited about your days in retirement. Because you’ll have something to retire, giving you a sense of direction, which are keys to a successful and happy retirement.

Tip 1: Take Time To Adjust

Retiring is a process. It takes time to adjust to the change and new lifestyle. Once you retire, you lose daily routines, a purpose, social interactions, part of your identity, etc. And you gain an open agenda with endless possibilities.

Some people feel anxious thinking about it, while others are excited and can’t wait for retirement to get started. The majority will have a mix of feelings, which is very normal.

Knowing that retiring is a process, also known as The five stages of retirement, gives you a clearer view of where you’re at and what is to come.

Tip 2: Relax

When you jump from a busy job into a retirement filled with projects, appointments, and obligations just to keep busy, it will not help you figure out what you want to do in retirement. That is the ego of always wanting to be productive and moving because you don’t feel worthy enough if you’re not.

Give yourself the opportunity to slow down and relax so you’ll be able to listen to your intuition and your heart in a better way. When you relax, you give yourself permission to unwind from the busy job you just retired from and create room for new possibilities. Creating space by relaxation is not what the ego wants, but you want to transcend the ego to go to your heart, where the real answer lies in what you want in retirement.

Enjoy a nice relaxing holiday, book spa days, spend as much time at the beach or pool, or enjoy reading a good book many hours in the day until you have the feeling you’re totally relaxed and unwinded from the job you just retired from.

Read more: Does Retirement Make Your Lazy? A Truth Guide

Tip 3: Quiet The Mind

You need to quiet the mind to know what is in your heart. The moment of stillness is the moment where new ideas and inspiration come to you.

And a good way to quiet the mind is to meditate but also just sitting in a chair and doing nothing for 15-20 minutes a day can help you quiet the mind. For example, watching the clouds, trees, birds, and flowers. And try not to engage in your thoughts that pop up, but see them as clouds passing by.

Tip 4: Listen To Your Intuition

Many people are not able to notice the difference between the mind/ ego and the voice of their intuition.

But we should listen to it because our intuition knows better what we like and dislike. It’s a magical well of wisdom you want to tap into when finding what you want to do after retirement. Your intuition knows what your soul wants, and that’s why you always need to listen to it.

So let me help you with that.

Finding things you love to do after retirement isn’t an intellectual pursuit; it’s something you need to feel.

But how do you know what following your intuition feels like?

You’ve definitely felt it before, but because of perhaps your busy life and career, you forget how to listen to it properly. And that is not surprising because we’re trained and programmed to think with our minds and make decisions based on logic. But intuition isn’t logic at all. Intuition is a soft voice and feeling in our body that is difficult to listen to when our minds are screaming the whole time. That is why quieting the mind is such an important part of this journey.

Listening to your intuition can be trained just like training muscles in your body. When you notice it more often and follow through with what it is telling you, this muscle/ voice of intuition becomes louder and clearer over time.

You can train it with small decisions throughout your retirement day. For example, ask yourself: Do I want a sandwich or pancake for breakfast? And see what it feels like. It sounds so silly, but it really helps. Continue doing this with any decision during your day, so it becomes easier over time and helps you along the way when you need to make bigger decisions in your life.

Example of How Intuition Feels

I should say Yes
My head says Yes
Logic says Yes
Reason says Yes
Friend says Yes
My gut says no. I don’t know why it says No, but it says No. 
My intuition says NO

Tip 5: Excitement Is Your Compass

Your heart/ soul gives you clues by the way you feel. And excitement is your guide and compass to figuring out what you want to do after retirement. Therefore ask yourself, what excites me the most? And let that be your compass.

Or notice when excitement kicks in when you’re thinking about something or doing something new. And know that this is your clue. And try not to overanalyze it or use your brain when this feeling comes up. just feel through it and give it space, and let your imagination from the heart take over.

Tip 6: Ask Yourself Questions

Another way to figure out what you want to do after retirement is to start asking yourself questions. Grab a pen and a piece of paper and try to answer the following questions quickly without overthinking them.

Questions to Ask Yourself

  • What is a topic I can read 500 books about?
  • What’s the thing I never get bored of? 
  • What is something I love to talk about?
  • What do I love to do without getting tired?
  • What is a stress reliever for me?
  • What gives me satisfaction and joy?
  • What could I do for five years straight without getting paid?
  • What would I do if I had all the money in the world?
  • What would I regret NOT doing in my life?

After answering these questions, you may better understand where to go next. Sometimes the answers are pretty straightforward, and you know what to do next. And sometimes you have to experiment and look a bit further in a particular direction.

Tip 7: Be Honest With Yourself

Figuring out what you want means you must be completely honest with yourself. Often fear or feelings of unworthiness and self-doubt get in the way of things we really want in life.

Therefore, you must see what blocks you from doing the things you love. Sometimes this can be uncomfortable or shocking. And instead of pushing it away or burying these revelations deep in yourself, you need to look yourself in the mirror and find the courage to work through these issues. Only then can you get closer to doing things that are aligned with your heart.

Tip 8: Find Recurring Themes

Often there are recurring themes that can help you figure out what you want after retirement.

Keep a notebook at hand and write down ideas, inspiration, and things you love when you go about your normal daily life. After a while, you’ll see recurring themes, giving you a clearer direction in where you want to go after retirement.

Tip 9: Go Back To Your Childhood

Big chances are that the things you love as a kid are still the same at retirement age. Perhaps not the same format, but a similar kind of hobby you had as a child can be a great success and a good clue in figuring out what to do after retirement. Write down your childhood hobbies and see which one excites you the most.

Tip 10: Radiate Positive Energy

Everything is energy. Everything material and physical is energy, and everything we don’t see with our naked eye is energy. It all has its own unique vibrational frequency. And the laws of the universe work in a way that similar vibrational frequencies attract each other. When you’re positive the majority of the day, you have a higher vibration and you’ll attract similar vibrational frequencies.

And here is where Albert Einstein comes in.

When you want to have a happy retirement, you need to radiate positive energy. You can positively influence this by doing gratitude and positive affirmation exercises every day and doing things that bring you joy.

Tip 11: Experiment And Explore New Things

The only way to figure out if you like something or not is to do it. Experimenting with all sorts of activities and exploring new avenues is a great way to figure out what you like and don’t like.

It can be helpful to plan a period of a couple of months or weeks after retirement to try out new things. These experiences will give you tangible answers.

Following all sorts of classes is an excellent way to experiment and explore. And a great platform for that is Masterclass, where you can follow 100+ different classes from the World’s Best Teachers in their field.

Watch thousands of lessons from the best as they share their stories, skills, shortcuts, failures, and successes. Just to drop a few names that offer a class on Masterclass: Gordon Ramsey, Aaron Franklin, Martin Scorsese, Dr. Jane Goodall, Christina Aguilera, Usher, Hans Zimmer, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Stephen Curry, Carlos Santana, Ron Finley, Jimmy Chin, Serena Williams, Dan Brown, and many more. New classes are added every month!

Tip 12: Know Your Goal

Knowing the goal of what you want to do can help you figure out in which direction you should be looking for things you want to do in retirement. Perhaps you have the desire to relax, learn something new, be creative or be active in retirement. Below are some examples.

Relaxing Hobby Ideas are reading, meditation, yoga, gardening, listening to music, etc.

Active Hobby Ideas are fitness, hiking, a team sport, dancing, cycling, etc.

New Skills Hobby Ideas: play a musical instrument, acting, learn a new language

Expressing Yourself Hobby Ideas can be painting, journaling, creating music, writing, etc.

Escape Reality Hobby Ideas are puzzling, board games, watching a film, and gaming.

Money Earning Hobby Ideas are selling arts and crafts on Etsy, blogging, freelance gardener/ accountant/ handyman.

Tip 13: Get Inspiration Everywhere

You can find inspiration everywhere. For example, you’re watching a movie, listening to the radio, browsing Pinterest, or reading a magazine. Everything can be your source of inspiration. You might get an idea that sparks your excitement.

For example, you can walk into a bookstore and start exploring and notice which area you gravitate toward the most, and you’ll know what interests you.

But you can also take a step back and not actively seek things but trust that the right idea will come at the right time.

Tip 14: Ask The Universe/ Your Guides For Help

A whole team of angels and guides are happy to help you with struggles in your life.

But they will not interfere with your life. You need to ask for their help, and only then will they give you subtle clues through certain videos that pop up on Youtube, a sign on the side of the road, or a friend that says something to you that you know deep within is a sign.

What you can do is, before you go to sleep, you can say.

  • Dear guides and angels, I don’t know what to do in retirement. Please show me the way and give me a sign. Thank you so much.
  • Dear universe, lead me the way to my hobby in retirement. Thank you

And then let it go and trust that the universe/ your guides will help you.

Tip 15: Create A Bucket List

A practical way to figure out what you want is to create a bucket list.

People create a bucket list with things they want to do in life before they “kick the bucket.” Your bucket list contains items of places you want to see, experiences, and things you want to do before you die. 

You can start by making a list of all the things you always wanted to do or that pop up in your mind spontaneously. You can use my article: 430 Ideas For Your retirement Bucket List, as inspiration.

Once you have your big list, let it rest for a while. And see which items you are gravitating the most to, and make a top 5 or top 10 or a top 15 of these items and rest on it again.

Until you know with your whole heart which thing on the list is the thing you want to do most, and there you have your retirement dream, plan, and goal.

Tip 16: Visualize

Another way to figure out what you want to do in retirement is to do a visualization technique.

Visualizing technique 1: Your Perfect Retirement Day
Visualize being retired, waking up in the morning, and going through the day step by step in what your most perfect retirement day will look like. Do this a couple of times and see which activities are part of your visualization.

Visualizing technique 2: Taking Your Last Breath
Visualize lying on your deathbed and taking your last breaths. Take a moment to really get into this feeling without getting scared because this technique can be very powerful. Now visualize what things you wish you’d done differently in your life or what things you hope you have achieved once you get to that stage.

This gives you great insight into what you really want in life after retirement.

Note: don’t let your mind get in the way. It tends to find obstacles and makes you think your dreams are impossible. This will not help this exercise. Let it flow as openly as possible.

101 Ideas On What To Do In Retirement

Here is a list of 101 ideas on what to do in retirement, which you can use as a source of inspiration.

1) Rock Painting

2) Scrapbooking

3) Antiquing

4) Knitting

5) Calligraphy

6) Candle Making

7) Coloring

8) Cross-stitching

9) Drawing

10) Flower Arranging

11) Flower Pressing

12) Macramé

13) Jewelry Making

14) Diamond Painting

15) Leather Crafting

16) Painting

17) Upcycling

18) Photography – There is an amazing Online Photography Masterclass by Annie Leibovitz at Masterclass

19) Pottery

20) Sewing

21) Soap Making

22) Wood Working

23) Ceramics

24) Mosaic Making

25) Nail Art

26) Comic Strip Book Making

27) Bird House Making

28) Family Photo Album Making

29) Cooking

30) Baking

31) Mixology (Cocktail Making)

32) Wine Making

33) Beer Brewing

34) Sommelier (certified wine taster)

35) Cake Decorating

36) Dining Out

37) Latte Art

38) Molecular Gastronomy

39) Grilling

40) Bread Making

41) Pasta Making

42) Chocolate- and pâtisserie-making

43) Vegetable Growing

44) Hot Sauce Making

45) Cheese Making

46) Archery

47) Swimming

48) Biking

49) Bowling

50) Dancing

51) Stand Up Paddleboarding

52) Golfing

53) Hiking

54) Ice Skating

55) Martial Arts

56) Running

57) Surfing

58) Tennis

59) Gardening – There is an amazing online gardening class on Masterclass by Ron Finley.

60) Astronomy

61) Bird Watching

62) Camping

63) Hiking

64) Geocaching

65) Fishing

66) Kayaking

67) Sailing

68) Scuba Diving

69) Snorkeling

70) Skiing

71) Snowboarding

72) Traveling

73) River Rafting

74) Ballet

75) Flag Football

76) Basketball – There is a fun Basketball Online MasterClass taught by Stephen Curry

77) (Aqua) Aerobics

78) Volleyball

79) Dating – For more information, read my article: How To Meet Senior Singles

80) Dinner Club

81) Host Game/ Quiz Nights

82) Wedding Officiant

83) Singing

84) Airbnb Hosting

85) Acting

86) Bingo

87) Wine Tasting Club

88) Volunteering – Read more about it in my article: Why Do Retirees Volunteer?

89) Team Sports

90) Mentoring/ Coaching

91) Dog Training

92) Pet Sitting

93) Line Dancing

94) Cheerleading – Get inspired by this senior cheerleading squad:

95) Reading

96) Board Gaming

97) Cross Word Puzzles

98) Home Decorating

99) Jigsaw Puzzling

100) Learning A New Language

101) Writing (poetry, book, play, movie script, columns) Gift your mom access to Online Writing Masterclasses by the World’s famous writers.

Kirsten Veldman

Since 2017, my husband and I have been location-independent retirees. With hundreds of articles written, I'm passionate about helping other retirees!

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