The choices we make in life and how we react to events is a major factor in our happiness. In this regard, there are two types of people, those who act from a position of empowerment and those who take a passive stance. Empowered people take responsibility for their choices and act accordingly. Passive people let life happen to them and accept the results. Retirees can be susceptible to going from a career person's empowered mindset to a more passive way of thinking. To assure a happy retirement, it is important for baby boomers to recognize the difference between these two thought processes and to take action should a passive mindset start to develop.

Recognizing which mindset you are operating from is simply a matter of listening to yourself. People who are passive make statements such as:

-It was fate that I got the job at the library.
-How lucky it was that I retired when I did.
-We were destined to move to Arizona as soon as I retired.
-I would have done better on the exam if I didn't get butterflies.
-Look at what life has done to me now.
-If my husband had treated me better, I'd have more self respect now.
-My retirement income would have been a lot higher had that financial adviser given me better advice.

Notice how each of these statements puts the blame for events on someone or something else. This type of thinking can too easily lead to feeling like a victim. I have a client who took early retirement from a position as a public school educator to become a full time grandmother. Before realizing it, she gave her life over to her daughters as an "on call" baby sitter. In so doing she let them take over her daily schedule. Her complaint is "I'm supposed to be retired but I don't have any time to myself. They call me the night before and expect me to be there at 8 AM the next day to babysit. I love my family but they have taken over my life. When do I get to enjoy my retirement?"

The victim mentality is quite apparent from her complaint. How did this young, educated woman go from an empowered educator to a passive grandmother? Once she got into retirement thinking mode, she let herself stop operating from a position of power. The next step was to slip into the passive state.

People who operate from an empowered mindset would phrase each of the above statements as follows:

-I am so glad that I applied for that job at the library.
-Retiring when I did was a good decision.
-We gave a lot of thought into moving to Arizona.
-If I had been better prepared for the qualifying exam, I would have been more relaxed and scored better.
-With this latest turn of events, I need to adjust my plans.
-As a result of my husband's poor treatment of me, I had to find other ways to feel good about myself.
-I would have a higher retirement income had I learned more about investing.

Notice how in this second group of statements the speaker takes responsibility for his or her own life. This mindset leads to taking positive actions.

How do you change your mindset from passive to active? It is not difficult for most people but may require practice. Here is your 5 step program to follow. By repeating these steps regularly, you will be on your way to having more control of your retirement life.

1. Learn to recognize negative (passive) statements in your thinking or speaking. Use the above examples as a guide.

2. Write down a list of these passive thought patterns so you can be aware of them when they appear again.

3. For each passive thought, change it to an empowering thought and write it down. Use the examples above for guidance.

4. Practice saying these empowering thoughts out loud so that they feel comfortable to you

5. The next time one of your passive thoughts emerges, immediately replace it with the alternate empowering statement you practiced.

Your retirement is not a dress rehearsal. This is the real thing. You need to make the most of each and every day. Be empowered to live a well balanced life by developing the proper mindset. You'll be amazed by the improvement in the quality of your retirement.

Author's Bio: 

Tony Lacertosa, M.A. is a retired teacher and certified life coach with advanced training in health and wellness coaching. His practice specializes in working with young retirees and those who wish to retire soon. Through individual or group coaching programs conducted by telephone or in person, he guides these retirees through challenges of transitioning from work to retirement and supports them as they learn how to live the new, exciting, lifestyle that they create for themselves. For a free report on dealing with the most common causes of unhappy retirement go to his website at