Planning for RetirementRetirement Transition and Change

5 Principles of a Successful 3rd Act Plan

By September 24, 2022 May 8th, 2023 No Comments

To create a really successful 3rd Act plan, one that really makes you happy and feeling good about your life, you need to incorporate the five key principles of creating a great plan.

Positive Emotions in your 3rd Act

You want to create a plan that elicits positive emotions in your life. One way of doing that is to make sure to include what you want to do on a daily basis that makes you feel really good.

For instance, you might wake up early and have a cup of tea and spend some time outside in your garden. That would be a great way to create some positive emotions.

Or you might find a way of including a walk with your grandchildren every day – perhaps taking them to school. That’s another way of creating positive emotions with really simple pleasures.

Positive Relationships in your 3rd Act

You also wanna make sure that you have positive relationships in your life as you go forward.

One thing I do with my clients is to help them review their friendships and other relationships. Which ones to they want to take with them into their 3rd act? Which ones are time to let go of?

Keep the ones that make you happy, appreciate you, and give you support. You want the people that are really on your side.

Involvement in Activities in your 3rd Act

You also wanna have work and involvement in activities that give you a sense of accomplishment.

When you’re working, you can get a great review or a gift for a  job well done. After you’ve retired accomplishments can be a challenge without that structure.

Find a way that you’re doing the activities that are really connected with your passion and purpose in life, and that you also get acknowledgement from your friends, from your community, from the business that you’ve started or the new work that you’re doing.

That’s critical – to have a sense of accomplishment.

Sense of Engagement in your 3rd Act

It is important to have a really great sense of engagement, which can be a challenge in your 3rd Act.

If you’re working or raising your family, you get a sense of engagement because you’re really involved. You can get into a sense of flow about things.

But when you’re moving out of those roles, it’s important to design a new way that you’re involved in activities that take a lot of focus and that are a bit challenging.

You get that “lost” feeling when reading a good book where the plot just takes you away. Two hours later, you come to and you’ve read a lot and time has passed without you even knowing. That’s what you look for

Meaning and Purpose in your 3rd Act

Finally, find what gives you meaning and purpose now in your life… Not what gave you meaning and purpose when you were working your regular job pre-retirement, but what is giving you meaning and purpose now.

What’s your raison d’etre? What gets you up in the morning?

It’s really important to really explore and see what hits that button for you at this time in your life.

So those are the five keys that you need to incorporate into your plan as you move forward and as you’re envisioning it. If I can help you in any way, maybe with places that you’re stuck, questions that you have about your 3rd act, please go ahead and sign up for a discovery call. I’d be happy to help. Thanks so much for taking time this morning to watch this video, and I look forward to speaking with you soon. Thank you.



The 3rd Act was founded and is led by Patricia Cavanaugh — a seasoned psychotherapist and licensed coach who has helped hundreds of retirees find their path and purpose in this phase of life.

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