Let’s explore what it means to have a Super Aging mindset that will help you clearly define a solid framework for the rest of your life.
“In a moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing to do…and the worst thing you can do is nothing.” Theodore Roosevelt
Uh-oh. That’s often the first thought of a person who wakes up one day and comes face to face with the fact that they are aging.
It’s during that pivotal moment that some spring into fight-or- flight mode and do everything in their power to stop it. Others throw their hands up in defeat.
Yet, there are still others who determine to live differently. They develop a Super Aging mindset—a mindset that supersedes the traditional way of thinking about age and invites a sense of opportunity, adventure, and empowerment.
So, what kind of “ager” are you?
- Are you consumed with worry about the future?
- Are you constantly trying to stop the aging process through whatever means necessary?
- Have you given in to “old age” thinking, and believe you have nothing left to offer?
Wherever you are in the aging process, it’s not too late to change your mindset—and the course of your life.
What does Super Aging mean?
The term “Super Aging” defines people who are mentally or physically capable of performing as if they were decades younger.
While a small percentage of people naturally fit into this category, others choose to embrace it as a way of confidently navigating the retirement years.
Let’s explore what it means to have a Super Aging mindset, a mindset that will help you clearly define a solid framework for the rest of your life.
It will require you to reevaluate some long held attitudes, cast aside widely-held aging stereotypes, and change a few habits.
It will challenge your way of thinking and processing information.
And, it will encourage you to build new thought pathways that build confidence to take you where you want to go.
According to Harvard Health Publishing, “Super-agers keep moving out of their comfort zones to gain new areas of expertise.”
With the Super Aging mindset, you’ll be challenged to think outside the box, explore new concepts, and ultimately gain the confidence you need to outsmart aging.
So, are you ready?
Let’s look at a few mindsets that are key to the Super Aging lifestyle.
A New Beginning
The first step in developing a Super Aging mindset is to view retirement as the beginning instead of the end.
It’s the start of a new era, a time to embrace change, and launch a new lifestyle. After all, this is the beginning of the rest of your life!
In his book, Retire Inspired, author and financial advisor, Chris Hogan, says this: “One of the first steps to take on the road to your dream retirement is to realize we’re not just talking about the end of your life. When some people hear the word retirement, they immediately start thinking of death.”
My friends, retirement does not equal death! Retirement equals opportunity.
For the first time in your life, you have the opportunity to:
- Create your own schedule.
- Explore new hobbies and passions.
- Travel to new places.
- Connect with people on a deeper level.
- Enjoy some much-deserved rest.
- Find meaning and purpose doing the things that matter most to you.
Approaching retirement with a beginning mindset is key to starting strong. It allows you to open this new chapter of life with a healthy perspective and encouraging outlook. What a difference this can make moving forward!
A Purposeful Outlook
Former Olympic champion, Jackie Joyner-Kersey, once said, “Age is no barrier. It’s a limitation you put on your mind.”
While we can’t will away our age, we can think differently about it.
In fact, the sooner you adopt your personal retirement identity—an identity that is confident, enthusiastic, and purposeful, the sooner you can start living up to your fullest potential.
Are you starting to recognize the difference from the traditional mindset to the Super Aging mindset?
The old way goes something like this:
- I’ve reached my final years. It’s time to shut down and let others take the lead.
- I’m not able to do what I used to do, therefore I’ll limit myself.
- I’m no longer able to contribute to society so I guess I’m washed up and useless.
In contrast, the Super Aging mindset goes like this:
- I’ve reached a new season in life and I can’t wait to explore the new opportunities it will afford!
- I might not be able to do what I used to do, but I’m ready to learn new things.
- I am a valuable member of society with a lot to offer. I’ll make myself available to the younger generation.
The Super Aging mindset views age as a friend instead of foe. It determines to make the best of every situation and live with intentionality.
Then, as obstacles arise, you are less intimidated and more empowered to face them head-on. Instead of giving up, you’ll move beyond your comfort zone and explore all of your options.
Purpose is the core of the Super Aging mindset, which will propel you to plan your course and take small steps forward to make it happen.
A purposeful mindset goes hand-in-hand with an attitude that says, “I get-to,” as we’ll look at next.
A “Get-to” Attitude
Oftentimes, when it comes to aging, there’s a depressing sense of “have-to” instead of “get-to.” This can lead to an unhealthy focus on what must be done to merely survive instead of thrive.
The Super Aging mindset flips this way of thinking on its head and says, “I look forward to the new opportunities retirement will provide and I’m grateful for every new experience.”
The “get-to” mindset is one of positivity and excitement. It recognizes the new season for what it is and enthusiastically begins to build a new life structure.
According to a Boston University study published in 2019, “Researchers found that the most optimistic men and women demonstrated, on average, an 11-15% longer lifespan, and had far greater odds of reaching 85 years old, compared to the least optimistic group.”
“Having a “get-to” vision of retirement is key to faithfully preserving your past, enhancing your present, and building a remarkable future.”
Let’s paint an architectural word-picture to drive this point home:
- Your retirement foundation is built upon your strength of character, ingenuity, and values.
- Your structure (the bones) include the basic necessities of life such as food, clothing and shelter.
- Your drywall is the network of support such as friends, family, church and social circles, and advisors.
- Your roof is the covering of emotional, physical, and financial peace.
- Your final touches are the years of enjoying your retirement, experiencing amazing things, and living your best life!
The “get-to” mindset looks forward to building a new life full of hope and promise.
Even when obstacles arise, you’ll feel empowered to push through, which leads us to the next key in our Super Aging mindset.
A Fortitude Mentality
Typically, one’s mindset is defined as a mental attitude or belief about what is.
For the Super Ager, their attitudes and beliefs are grounded in a sense of fortitude that courageously believes the best—even in the face of adversity or loss.
My friend, Jennifer, once shared about a terrifying caving experience that challenged her to either move forward or remain stuck.
About that experience, she shares this:
“Naively, I thought going on a caving expedition in the Ardennes Mountains was going to be one of fun and exploration. I imagined our Belgian guides would lead us through wide-open caverns while we snapped pictures with our disposable cameras. Imagine my surprise when the guides stopped and pointed to a hole in the ground—a hole with freezing water running into it—and said, “This is where we enter the cave.”
I remember laughing nervously and looking around at the other people in the group, wondering if it was some sort of joke. It wasn’t. Not only did we squeeze into that small hole in the ground, getting soaked in the process, we landed in a series of underground spaces that would take more than four hours to get through. Several times, we were stuck in narrow tunnels on our hands and knees, one after the other, while our guides went ahead to find the way out. Only fortitude got me through that experience. My only other choice was to remain underground, trapped in the dark.”
A mindset of fortitude will help you courageously face retirement no matter how trapped you feel. You’ll consistently trek forward until you reach your next goal. This way of thinking will help you make the next best decision every single time.
Even as life’s unexpected twists and turns come, you’ll be flexible enough to navigate through them, which is another element of the Super Aging mindset.
A Flexible Frame of Mind
Flexibility is difficult for many retirees because it’s human nature to want everything planned out and implemented flawlessly. However, maintaining flexibility during these seasoned years is key to helping you steer around obstacles rather than be halted by them.
Here are a few examples of the flexible mindset:
- When an unexpected financial crisis hits, you don’t panic, you plan.
- When a health issue arises, you don’t give up, you fight.
- When relationships fail, you find new relationships to enhance your journey.
- When retirement isn’t what you thought it would be, you make it what you want it to be.
Flexibility enables you to expand your horizons and explore different options.
Remember, there’s always more than one way of doing things. If a life event takes a sharp turn in the wrong direction, you have the power to grab the wheel and turn it back!
Developing a flexible mindset is key to maintaining a “can-do” outlook.
It allows you to yield when needed, stop to reevaluate, and steer your life in the direction you’ve purposed.
Not only that, it dispels doubt and moves you towards a sense of empowerment.
The Empowered Mind
Ultimately, the Super Aging mindset is about moving from fear to empowerment.
While this doesn’t come naturally, it can be developed through consistent, intentional attitudes and actions.
But before we get into the practical applications of the empowered mindset, let’s look at some of the most common fears that come with aging:
- Fear of loneliness or being alone
- Fear of outliving your savings
- Fear of being forced out of your home
- Fear of losing independence
- Fear of ongoing health issues
- Fear of not having the proper support network
- Fear of lacking purpose in life
- Fear of losing a loved one
- Fear of change and the unknown
These are real fears that deserve real consideration.
It’s not unlike pro mountain climber Matt Lloyd, who found himself in a precarious situation on a literal wall of ice in Vail, Colorado.
About this harrowing experience, he said, “I had never experienced anything like this, and there was nothing I could do to stop the shaking. I knew I had to control it or there would be fatal consequences. After what seemed like an eternity, I began taking deep breaths and forcefully exhaling the air to try and take command of the sinking ship that was my nervous system. It started working, and a plan took shape. I focused my mind on small, specific tasks.”
Matt’s mindset, to focus on small, specific tasks, is what got him through that near-death experience.
And when it comes to our retirement mindset, it’s going to be an attitude of empowerment that helps us focus on small, specific goals.
Each challenge that comes can be handled with peace of mind and clarity.
Even when the unexpected happens, you can remain calm, cool, and collected.
You might need to revisit your plan “B” or come up with a plan “C,” but overall, you’ll examine each situation with an attitude of strength and empowerment.
For example, let’s say you’ve been planning a once-in-a-lifetime vacation and you finally have the funds to go. You buy your plane ticket, plan for lodging and meals, research what to expect when you get there, and happily take off towards your destination.
However, unexpected events come along and threaten to ruin your trip.
- Delayed flights
- Missed connections
- Travel-related illness
- Unmet expectations
- Cancelled events
All of these things are possible, and some actually come to pass, but instead of letting them ruin your vacation, you reevaluate things and adjust your trip accordingly. Once you’ve solved the problem, you can resume your vacation fun.
THIS is the perfect word picture for the Super Aging mindset.
An unexpected event doesn’t thwart your whole retirement; it redirects you towards something different—but just as, (or even more), rewarding.
Friends, Super Aging starts with mindset and purpose. Your way of thinking will make all the difference in the world!
And as you change your mindset, you’ll move forward with clarity and purpose.
Every bridge that stands between you and your destination will be crossed with confidence and determination.
Consider these empowering affirmations for your journey:
- For every problem, there is more than one solution.
- Taking one step in the right direction is the best step to take.
- Your possibilities are endless!
- This is a wonderful season of life—embrace it!
Keep in mind, a Super Aging mindset isn’t about avoiding your true feelings and emotions. Instead, it’s addressing them, validating them, and redirecting them from a sense of fear to empowerment.
Tips for developing a Super Aging mindset
Here are some practical tips to help you develop a mindset of empowerment:
- For each decision, write down the pros and cons. Examine them objectively.
- Research your options. Ask for guidance. Engage with legal, financial, and elder care professionals.
- Discuss your thoughts and plans with trusted friends or family members.
- Sleep on every decision. Avoid making abrupt decisions that are emotionally charged.
- Move forward with the next right step—no matter how small.
- Stop and reevaluate things anytime you hit a roadblock.
- Practice optimism. Believe it will all work out for the best.
Although we’ll talk more about your physical wellbeing in the future, it’s worth mentioning that your physical habits and routines have a major impact on your mindset.
If unhealthy habits consume most of your waking hours, you won’t be able to handle the mental challenges that come your way.
If, on the other hand, you’re paying attention to living a healthy lifestyle, you’ll find the Super Aging mindset far easier to develop.
The bottom line is, your mindset is a culmination of attitudes and beliefs.
Rather than allowing your emotions or circumstances to dictate your destiny, you’ll develop a purposeful outlook, a “get-to” attitude, and a flexible frame of mind that takes you from fear to empowerment.
So, let’s turn that pivotal uh-oh moment about aging into a moment of empowerment that says, “Watch out world. Here I come!”