Attention vs. Intention

Are you paying attention? What is your intention?

Attention vs. Intention. What’s the difference? And just what do they have to do with retirement planning? Plenty. Especially if you are unhappy with the idea of retirement and getting older.

Let’s talk about a bad situation. And let’s make it personal. You know you that you aren’t getting younger. Someday you may even need to retire.  It makes you unhappy. You spend your time complaining about how your life is over and how much better the good old days were. If you could, you go back in time. Remember how great you looked in your high school yearbook? Remind everyone about it and complain.  Retirement will be just a bad experience that’s reserved for old people. Like you.

Keep thinking this way and know that your attention is all about the future. Retirement will bad. Life as you know it will be over. Your intention is to keep things the same. It’s about maintaining things as they presently are.

Now let’s take the same situation and switch what gets your attention and what becomes your intention.

Yep, you are getting older and you can’t do anything about it. You are scared about what’s coming next. Retirement is around the corner. Who knows what it will be like? Accept that growing older happens and life changes. Hopefully you’ll never be tempted to have a perm again like you did in high school. Begin researching retirement lifestyles and understand more about what it means to retire. Use your concerns to motivate yourself to be educated and aware of what’s available.

Now your attention is all about the present. What can you do now to make your retirement successful? Your intention becomes focused on the future. Your intention is to fulfill your dreams about giving back, living in a warmer place, spending time with family, learning something new and maybe even discovering a fantastic new career. Your intention is to have a successful retirement. Your attention is concentrated on what you can do today to get there.

So what do attention and intention have to do with retirement planning? If the thought of it makes you into an grumpy complainer that no one wants to be around, it’s likely your attention needs to focus on the now and not on the future. If a situation makes you unhappy, think about reversing your attention and intention. Devote your attention to the now and look to the future with your intentions.

What are you paying attention to now? What is your intention for tomorrow?


Many readers find themselves stuck in planning for retirement. Retirement Style offers a number of resources, including our 30 Day Journaling Challenge, to help you get unstuck in working towards your best retirement. If you would like to speak to a certified retirement coach about your personal journey, please contact us.

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