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Early retirement routines & challenges

I'm spending a month in the UK, so I'm away from my normal routines. I missed doing my normal post last week, instead I found myself taking a nap on a couple of afternoons, and there was also some vegging in front of the TV watching things that I'm not really interested in.


In reality, none of these things are a problem. After all, I'm retired, so who cares if I miss making a blog post, have a snooze or watch some extra TV? Well, maybe the one person who cares is me - I want my early retirement to be active and productive (at least by my definition), and I don't want to find myself on a slippery slope to laziness and slumber. Believe me, I could easily head in that direction, even knowing I'd regret it in hindsight.


Routines might not be right for everyone, but I believe they can be a useful tool. We all use them, even if it's just to ensure we brush our teeth each morning and night. It might sound boring, but instead I see routines as a way to ensure I get to do the things I really want to do. I consider them to be a key part of my successful early retirement, which is why I've touched on the subject in a number of previous posts, including some of these headlines:


  • Routine can help with the transition from work life to retired life

  • We still have chores, and routine helps us get them done

  • Our retirement time is still valuable, and routine helps us to not waste it

  • Routines ensure that you do the things that you want

  • Nobody said that your routine can't include luxury

  • And your retirement routine can even include work!

These heading were part of a longer post from a few years back, Routine Early Retirement, in case you want to check out each heading in a little more detail.


In addition to routines, there are challenges, things that test us or take us out of our comfort zone. During our careers, challenges often come with the job, but they might not naturally form a significant part of early retired life. I feel some challenge is good for me, to keep my mind and body active, and occasionally taking me to uncomfortable places as I stretch to achieve an objective. Uncomfortable might not sound like a good thing to aim for, but what was uncomfortable one day can be more comfortable the next as we progress. I know that's not a good explanation, I just naturally think that being stretched and testing the edges of our comfort zone is healthy.


Photo credit: Chloe Emmerson

I promise that's not just made up so that I can talk about running again - sorry for regular readers, who have already had to listen to me droning on about my recent marathon!..but just in case you missed it, you can read it here. Anyway, three weeks after Lucerne Marathon, I ran a half marathon and got another new personal best time of 1:22:39. That's over five minutes better than my previous best, despite being four years older. It wasn't comfortable, and I didn't think it was possible, but I'm now very glad that I set myself a challenge of getting quicker.


For me, running gives me a whole bunch of benefits.


  1. I make it part of my routine, it is one of the things that keeps me busy.

  2. It can be a challenge. Whether that's simply ensuring I go out when it's cold or wet, or because I'm stretching myself training for an event or targeting a new time.

  3. It helps keep me fit and healthy, and I believe that includes mental as well as physical health.

  4. It's something that can be enjoyed alone, but equally it can be a good social activity too. In our town, Morzine, we're trying to get a weekly running group going. It's been great fun meeting new people, running with them and of course rewarding ourselves with a post run coffee.

  5. It burns calories, so I can keep eating cake😁


To be honest, I can hardly believe I made that time, but now I'm wondering what else is possible, what will the next running challenge be?


So there we have it, a short post about two things, routines and challenges that are an important part of my early retirement - just enough to ensure I don't snooze this afternoon, gets me back into my blog writing routine, and sneak in another tiny bit about running🏃‍♂️

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Geof Wassell
Geof Wassell
Mar 13, 2023

I shall be retiring 18 months early since I have already workedsufficient years to get a full state pension and I am bored of paying national insurance and getting no return for the honour. I shall simply become unemployed and will not be atempting to claim any benefit and shall instead live off savings ( not my pension pots) my father having died recently has left me in a very comfortable position. It is really useful to read your recommendations and guidelines since one thing I have found is that there are IFAs lurking like a group of sharks sensing blood they all want to give advice in exchange for contact details which they can use to terrorise misdirect an…

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Sorry to hear about your father, but it's quite a legacy that he is helping you retire early. I have mixed feelings on financial advisors. On the one side, I got caught by a disreputable advisor when I lived in Dubai (which was a very poorly regulated region) and I would run a mile from a similar situation again. I have also found that I'm happy with index/ETF investing for which I don't require an advisor. On the other hand, doing the best thing for our finances can be very complicated, for example, there may be ways to optimise our tax situtations that we just don't know about, so there can be times when using a financial advisor can be…


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Critical point of this whole post:


"It burns calories, so I can keep eating cake"

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Hi Dan, I couldn't agree with you more!

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David, agree entirely, for me its cycling, I make sure I ride every Monday and Wednesday morning, except in really bad weather when I head to the gym. Having to push for longer rides as the distances and elevations I started with initially quickly became less challenging. Gives my week structure and I especially enjoy the Monday morning to get the week off to a good start, I often think, would I rather be doing this or the Monday morning progress meeting with the grown ups in my previous role as a senior project manager, no brainer really!

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Hi Peter,

It must be a magical feeling when you're out on your bike and you think of the parallel to the Monday morning progress feeling. And even if someone has different points of view, the great thing about financial independence is that we have the choice.

One thing I didn't mention in terms of the challenge, is how great the reward is, the feeling we have when we accomplish. My recent examples have been official times from events, but it doesn't have to be so formal. It might just be feeling good after a ride, run or gym session, knowing that I did do my blog post even if slightly delayed, or making a saving on the car insurance…

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