How to Successfully Retire if You Have a Type A Personality

You probably know some people who have Type A personalities. They are driven, goal-oriented,  rigid, competitive, and edgy. They thrive on being over-committed and they like to take charge. They’re perfectionists who have low tolerance for incompetence. Type A people thrive in a fast-paced, demanding work environment.

While these qualities may be desirable for career advancement, people with Type A personalities are twice as likely to suffer from stress-related illnesses and heart attacks as their more relaxed counterparts.

Perhaps this describes you.

If you have a Type A personality, transitioning to retirement may be especially difficult. After you retire, you will no longer have an impressive job title or management responsibilities. Job status will no longer matter. You will be on the same level as any other retiree. You are more likely to feel lost or adrift due to a lack of purpose, structure, and responsibility.

Here are ten ways that people with Type A personalities can adapt in order to enjoy a happy retirement.

1.  Get out of the house often.

Immerse yourself in the external stimulation provided by people and things happening around you in order to avoid boredom. Engage in physical activity to burn off energy and reduce stress.

2.  Volunteer with a non-profit organization.

Many charities will benefit from your organizational skills, either by you helping with their day-to-day operations or serving on their board of directors.

Volunteer for a group that does something you find highly worthwhile so you will enjoy a sense of accomplishment for how you spent your time.

However, be careful not to exert pressure on others. Most other volunteers aren’t accustomed to fast-paced work environments and don’t want to experience pressure and stress when they volunteer.

3.  Set new goals for yourself.

During your working career, you probably had annual, quarterly, monthly, or weekly goals. Those goals may have been sales targets to meet, products to deliver, or any other type of measurable performance metrics.

If you find that you miss having goals to strive for, you can create some personal goals that will motivate you and give you a sense of purpose. For example, you can set goals for how many days you walk, the distance you cycle each week, or improving your golf game.

These should be goals you accomplish on your own, not things that depend upon the contribution of others to succeed.

4.  Learn to be more patient and expect less of others.

Try not to get frustrated when others don’t match your level of motivation or urgency. When you join a new group, resist the urge to take charge and be careful not to try to over-organize others. That will make you unpopular quickly.

5.  Live less by the clock.

After you retire, your time will not be nearly as structured. If you have been accustomed to work days dictated by a schedule and filled with meetings, this will be a significant adjustment.

It’s up to you to fill your days and your life with activities that are meaningful to you.

Although you can structure your day as much as you want, try to allow for more flexibility and spontaneity in your day-to-day routine. You can still enjoy a rewarding and satisfying day without requiring things to happen at specific times.

6.  When you join new groups, let others lead.

Although your natural tendency is to take charge and get things done, you will discover that sometimes it’s more fun to simply enjoy an activity as a participant.

Let others lead, even when they are not doing as good a job as you could have done. There are no performance goals or profits at stake. You will be giving others the gift of developing their skills and doing something meaningful to them.

7.  Avoid competitive situations.

If you enjoy activities that involve keeping score such as golf, bowling, or tennis, try to focus less on the score and more on simply having a good time and enjoying the company of the people you are with. If you can’t let go of keeping score, then compare your score to your previous scores rather than the scores of your fellow players.

In the grand scheme of things, it really doesn’t matter who had the best score today.

Similarly, when you play board games or card games, focus more on enjoying the social interaction with the people you are playing with rather than on who wins.

8.  Take classes.

Lifelong learning is healthy for all retired people. Attending classes, studying and completing assignments are positive, productive ways to satisfy your Type A tendencies.

9.  Remind yourself often that’s it is okay to relax.

Hopefully, this is what you have worked all your life for. You’re not wasting time if you are doing something you enjoy.

After you retire, there are very few deadlines other than paying your bills on time. Almost all other deadlines are self-imposed and have no real consequences to others.

10.  Adopt the mindset that after you retire, you have a new job.

That job is to be happy and relaxed and enjoy the rest of your life.

You can set goals, create schedules, and make plans to do the things you have always wanted to do. You can evaluate your performance by assessing how happy you are. You can strive to do the best job of being happy, relaxed, and fulfilled you possibly can.

Please feel welcome to comment below.

Reprinted from my blog on U.S. News – On Retirement.
© 2017 Dave Hughes. All rights reserved.

Photo credits:
Busy-stress-time management: TeroVesalainen.
Food bank volunteers: Ben Philabaum. Some rights reserved.
Man looking at watch: JESHOOTS.
Pickleball players: Michael Martin. Some rights reserved.
Hammocks on the beach: Jdmoar. Some rights reserved.

6 Responses

  1. William DeyErmand says:

    Social interaction outside the home, even just as a spectator, is good for our mental health. It provides a chance to speak to others, gives us something to look forward too, and can be a way of making new friends. I am looking forward to more events in the daytime instead of after work.

  2. About Creativity says:

    Well written.

  3. Carol says:

    Thanks, Dave! Thus is just what I needed this Monday morning, no longer the start of my work week, but of what my what can I do to be happy and healthy week.

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