When it comes to staying happy, focused and in control throughout the latter half of your life, whether that’s in the last stages of your career or mid-retirement, it’s important to prioritise planning ahead. Whether that’s simply scrimping away money to buy that cottage you’ve always dreamed of, opening the perfect retirement business, like a bed and breakfast, or simply being prepared for the worst, whatever it may be, you should always have a plan.

Being ready and equipped for the future to come isn’t just something you should be doing, it’ll keep you happy, focused and centred. Here’s five reasons why that is.

You’re in Control

Planning ahead, knowing what’s happening, having detailed plans, lists and ideas for the future, all grounded firmly in reality, is the key core of staying in control of your life, and feeling like you’re fully in control is the best way to live. You know that even should the worst happen, you’ve got a plan for that. Likewise if the best possibility comes true. You’re unshakeable.

You’ve Got Something to Forward to

Remember when you were a kid, and the depression and sadness you felt the evening or day after Christmas, your birthday or a holiday? That feeling of it’s all over, now I have nothing to look forward to? Well, that never really goes away. As humans, we all need something good to look forward to, however big or small. Planning ahead lets you know what you’ve got ahead of you, and use it to bolster yourself on those days you can’t be bothered.

You Feel like You’re Headed Somewhere

Feeling like you’re drifting aimlessly at any stage of life is bad. It saps your motivation, creativity and happiness. Without feeling like you’re heading down at least some sort of path, it can be all too easy to stumble into depression and hopelessness, with all the mental and health implications that brings. Even just having basic plans and lists for the future is better than nothing.

pexels photo 515169 2 - 5 Reasons Planning Ahead Later in Life can Keep You Happy and Focused

If You Have Goals and Aims, you can build on them

Let’s say you’ve always wanted to try a certain hobby, or have always wanted to open a bed and breakfast, but never really thought about it in detail. There are tons of hobbies to try out there, it’s just finding the time to have a go. Obviously, planning ahead is key to even vaguely realising these concepts, but without major planning, you can’t hope to really succeed well. You can turn pipe dreams and ambitions into reality through grounded and realistic long term planning

Dodge Depression, Worry and Low Self-Esteem

We don’t tend to think about depression and mental health in older people, but as your career is winding down, and you’re finding yourself with a lot of free time ahead of you, and very little structure, it can be difficult to fill that void, and seeing the hours and days stretch ahead emptily can be incredibly damaging. But depression is not a natural part of aging.

Depression is increasingly common in older adults, and it relates directly to loneliness and feeling directionless, as well as chronic health conditions. If you have structure, plans, aims and goals, you can keep all that bad stuff at bay, and focus on being the you you’ve always been.