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New Year’s Resolutions for Snowbirds

It's almost time to ring in the new year! And that may have you thinking about what you want to change or accomplish in 2022.

People have been making resolutions for thousands of years, although they didn't always coincide with the start of a new calendar year. (This article on the History channel's website has more about the history of New Year's resolutions.)

Popular New Year's resolutions include exercising more, losing weight, spending less, getting organized, reading more books, spending quality time with family and friends, learning something new, better self-care, and more.

While different reports suggest about 50% (or more) of adults make at least one resolution for the new year, many give up after a week, and statistics show less than 10% achieve the goals they've set.

But that doesn't mean you shouldn't re-evaluate your choices and reflect on the future you want for yourself! Your snowbird lifestyle may be fantastic, but chances are there are still some things you want to try or remove from your current way of living.

Let's take a look at some resolutions you might consider as a snowbird and a few ideas of how to stick to any resolution you make for 2022.

Cheers with champagne and golden bokeh on black background.

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5 Resolution Ideas for Snowbirds

The typical resolutions mentioned above are a good starting point. But snowbirds live a different lifestyle than most people, so try thinking “out of the box” for what to focus on.

Consider the following ideas to see if they are suitable replacements for more familiar resolutions you may have made in the past.

1. Say “Yes” more often. You may have well-established routines and activities you enjoy. But getting out of your comfort zone is key to making connections and meeting people.

You don't have to agree to something you aren't uncomfortable with doing, but give some new things a try! You might find unique places to enjoy, activities to participate in, and new friends by saying yes to opportunities.

And remember – this works both ways! Invite people you meet to join in activities you like to do too! 

Sample Resolution: At least twice a month, I will say “yes” to an opportunity or invite others to join me for an activity or event.

2. Visit smaller/local attractions and businesses. As a snowbird, you travel and spend time in different places during the year. But have you checked out the smaller firms or attractions in your local area?

While you may have visited the typical tourist destinations and chain stores and restaurants, seek out the hidden “gems” in your community.

Are there city parks (or state/national parks) you haven't explored? What about local gardens, museums, or coffee shops?

You might enjoy talks presented at local libraries, dinner at a local family restaurant, or productions at a community theater. Skip the large chains and give a local hardware store your business.

Check out Tripadvisor or local Facebook pages for ideas on where to go, and don't forget to ask others for recommendations of their favorite spots.

Sample Resolution: A least three times a month, I will find a new attraction or business to visit in my community.

3. Get back to the “basics” more often. If you're spending more and more time on your phone or computer, it might be time to re-evaluate your relationship with your favorite device.

Are you texting, emailing, and video chatting instead of writing a letter?

While electronic communication has kept you connected, don't dismiss the benefits of putting pen to paper for your brain health.

Skip the time you'd spend scrolling through social media and send a friend or family member a note to say hello! Write daily reflections or even “to-do” lists to boost your memory and keep your writing skills fresh.

Reading is important too, yet consider mixing up your reading habits using a combination of electronic books, audiobooks (or podcasts), and traditional paperback or hardcover books. You want to continue to challenge your brain in new and different ways.

Sample Resolution: I'll send at least two letters to friends or family members a month and listen to one audiobook each week in place of watching some TV.

4. Try more healthy foods and different types of exercise. Rather than focusing on losing “X” pounds and giving up after a few weeks or joining a gym you'll quit going to, consider how incorporating more healthy foods and doing exercises you enjoy could impact your waistline and overall wellness.

You might be surprised how much you enjoy new dishes when you give them a try. Eating a healthier snack once or twice a day and doing “meatless” meals a few times a week can make a big difference over time.

It's also a lot easier for most people to stick to more minor, incremental changes than drastic diets. 

Depending on your physical condition (and with your doctor's approval), consider adding in some new activities too.

Give the popular game Pickleball a try or add lap swimming or water aerobics to your exercise routine a few times a week. And don't forget the importance of including strength training – no matter how much you prefer cardio exercises. 

Sample Resolution: Once each day, I'll eat fruits/vegetables in place of the crackers and cheese or chips I usually have. I'll pick one new activity to try (hint – choose something different if you don't enjoy it!), and I'll add strength training in addition to my daily walk twice a week.

5. Organize your financial house. Even before the spring cleaning fever hits, you'll find plenty of people striving to organize their homes at the start of a new year.

Decluttering feels good! But getting your financial house in order is just as important too (and maybe more important for snowbirds!)

When you live in two places, you'll have more peace of mind when you get your financial paperwork (and electronic forms) in order. If you're spending more than you planned, consider tracking expenses and setting up a budget to get back on track. 

Also, make sure you've started an estate plan too. Remember, an estate plan isn't just for really wealthy people!

Everyone needs the basics of an estate plan to protect themselves and their loved ones. This includes an advance medical directive (living will and health care power of attorney), financial power of attorney, and a last will and testament or living trust.

Snowbirds (and others!) should also have an “In Case of Emergency” Binder.

Consider the digital ICE binder product, a fillable pdf document (you can type in information on your computer), and save/update it as needed.

You can also share it with trusted loved ones, so they have the vital information they need in case you have an emergency.

Sample Resolution: By April 1st, I'll create a document with emergency information to share with trusted loved ones and complete/update significant estate planning documents. I'll use Tiller to track expenses so that I'm not guessing about my snowbird budget

Tips for Keeping Your New Year's Eve Resolutions

There are steps you can take to boost the chances of keeping your resolutions. Here are a few tips to help you stick to your plans:

1. Don't give up or get discouraged by setbacks. Some weeks will be more challenging than others. And you may realize you set the bar “too high” for some of your resolutions. Take a break if needed, or make adjustments and keep moving forward.

You'll only be disappointed if you abandon something meaningful to you. Aim for making progress, not for perfection. Also, remind yourself why you made the resolutions in the first place.

2. Ask for help. You may not know how to organize your financial paperwork or what strength training exercises you should try first. But you shouldn't be embarrassed to admit you need to learn more about different topics.

We're all good at some things yet need help with other tasks! 

Chances are you will need some assistance or instruction at first; then, you'll be able to complete tasks (or at least parts of them) solo over time. And if you still need help to stick to your resolutions, that's fine!

What matters is you doing something you set out to do – no matter what it takes. 

Some people choose to “announce” resolutions to family or friends, which allows the people who care about them most to support them toward meeting their goals.

3. Have fun (as much as possible!) There are aspects of resolutions that are more “work than play,” – but if what you've chosen to focus on doesn't at least make you feel better or find more enjoyment over time, drop it and focus on other things more important to you.

Resolutions should create positive change in your life and spur you to take on new adventures and challenges.

Here's to a Terrific New Year 

Whether you make resolutions, set goals, or strive to build better habits, the time you spend thinking about what you want the next year of your life to look like is invaluable. Even if you don't intend on doing much differently, a little reflection goes a long way.

Remember, there's no right or wrong way to approach your resolutions and the new year. Each person has their own unique needs and preferences.

It's been a difficult couple of years for everyone! So be gentle with yourself as you try to make gains in different areas of your life.

But strive to make the changes you desire and fulfill accomplishments that matter to you for an enjoyable 2022.

Next: Enriching Ways to Volunteer When Snowbirding

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