2024 New Year’s Resolutions of a Military Spouse

Written by Tessarose Brown

As 2024 approaches, I find myself reflecting on the past and looking to the future. These last few years have been extremely challenging as we transitioned from the civilian world into our new military life. Other than parenthood, I think being a military spouse is one of the hardest and most rewarding roles a person could take on.

There are many things I have gotten wrong and even more, I realize, that I got right. I hope that by sharing some of my insights and acknowledging the unique challenges of this lifestyle, I can help other military spouses embrace the opportunities that come their way.

Here are my top 2024 New Year’s resolutions as a military spouse:


1. Strengthen Communication

Military life is naturally nomadic, and for spouses, there can be long periods where the service member is not present due to deployments and training. Schedules can additionally be unpredictable as service members are on active duty 24/7 and can be called upon at the discretion of their unit commands.

Strengthening communication is essential in all aspects of your life, mainly between you and your service member, between you and their chain of command, and between you and your family and friends. So, make a New Year’s resolution to find out what ways of communicating work best for you, your family, and the unit.

We have a very busy family. Our daughter just started sports, my service member and I both work a fluctuating schedule, we do outings as a family, have individual social outings with friends, AND we have a 7-month-old baby. I made a New Year’s resolution this coming year to be more conscious that my service member is a visual person and a home calendar (NOT A DIGITAL ONE) works best for us.

Because neither of us has a set schedule, I sometimes need to “over-communicate” what our week looks like. For us, that means putting it on our home calendar and discussing important upcoming dates when he needs to be present. It also means asking him to put things on his workplace calendar. For some, this may be overkill, but find what works for you and your service member.

In this new digital age, there are numerous apps and devices that can help your military family stay in touch with friends and family back home. My parents FaceTime my daughters almost daily. This year, we are gifting our parents a photo-sharing device that will allow us to send photos on the days when video calls are not possible.

2. Pursue Personal Goals

It’s easy to lose your sense of self when your lifestyle requires you to put everyone else first. I encourage all military spouses to set New Year’s resolutions around their own personal and professional development. This includes going back to school, starting a new hobby, advancing your career, or starting the business you always wanted.

When my service member first enlisted, I had to prioritize supporting him and our family through the transition from civilian to military life. I am beyond proud of how I handled that time in our lives. However, becoming a temporary single parent, making a Permanent Change of Station (PCS) move to our first duty station, dealing with military spouse unemployment, and supporting my service member in his new role meant my wants, and sometimes needs, took a backseat.

Now that we have adjusted, I plan to start focusing on my personal and professional goals. Through the ASYMCA’s Military Spouse Writing Program, I have been able to fulfill a lifelong dream of mine and have my writing published. This has been an amazing experience professionally and personally, allowing me the training, work experience, and pieces for my portfolio to continue freelance writing. My next step is to apply to grad school for a Master’s Degree in Social Work.

3. Build A Strong Support Network

The saying “it takes a village” is even more true for a military family. When spouses are left home alone due to training and deployment, a strong support system can make all the difference for a spouse’s mental, physical, and emotional well-being.

Make resolutions to open your mind and hearts this coming year and focus on building and nurturing relationships within the military community. While military families can travel the globe, the military still makes it a very small world after all. Other spouses you have connected with could be following you to your next duty station. I know that finding and joining my military spouse organization gave me the safe space I needed to connect with like-minded spouses who soon became my friends.

Another easy way to connect is through volunteer opportunities. Identify organizations in your community that need volunteers. I speak from experience when I say volunteering opened doors for me in the military community. It also allowed me to find the military spouse support network that I needed to feel that sense of belonging and accomplishment within the military community.

4. Set Aside Time for Self-Care

One of the best New Year’s resolutions that a military spouse could make is prioritizing self-care and finding a work-life balance. Military life can be stressful! Make sure to reflect on what you can do to become a happier and healthier you whether that’s regular exercise, mindfulness practices, or dedicating time for personal hobbies and interests.

My 2024 self-care New Year’s resolutions are going to the gym three times a week and implementing healthier eating habits for myself and my family. I also resolve to find a better work-life balance for myself by planning monthly outings with friends.

5. Explore New Cultures

The military provides us with the unique challenge and opportunity of relocating to different states and even countries overseas. Some of your resolutions should be about exploring and embracing the local culture. This can include learning the local language, trying new foods, or participating in community events.

My favorite part about a PCS move is looking for the best food in the area. In the cold months, I crave authentic Vietnamese beef noodle soup called Pho. One of the first things my husband and I did after PCSing for the first time was look for local restaurants we could frequent. I also invite friends to lunch with me and we try new places to eat together.

Another one of my New Year’s resolutions is to research North Carolina’s history and take my family to see some local historical sites.

6. Prioritize Military Financial Planning

It is a common misconception that military families have it “made” when it comes to finances. While it is true there are many benefits awarded to service members and their families they are by no means “set for life”. The nature of military life, which is nomadic, requires frequent moves that can easily find a family in debt if they don’t manage their finances and understand the PCS process for reimbursement.

Resolutions around sound financial management in the new year are always a good idea. Come up with resolutions like creating a family budget, starting a savings plan, or learning more about investments. Luckily, there are many programs and services available specifically for military financial planning, such as the Army Financial Readiness Program.

7. Advocate for Military Families

I think that some of the most personally rewarding things I have done this past year revolve around advocating for military families. Using my voice in this blog has been so fulfilling for me. I have been able to tell my story to those who can relate but also bring awareness to issues that plague many of us when we join this life.

You can also volunteer, raise awareness on issues affecting military families, or participate in military spouse networks. Make New Year’s resolutions that have to do with advocating for military families and use the platforms you are given to pay it forward. It’s a small military world after all and what you have experienced someone else will, too.

8. Embrace Flexibility and Resilience

My final New Year’s resolution advice is to embrace flexibility and resilience. As you navigate the ins and outs of military life, reflect on the past year or few years and identify where you may have fallen short due to inflexibility and poor mental preparation.

Flexibility and resilience are essential characteristics of successful and happy military families. Reflect and embrace the idea that the only consistent thing about military life is that things will change and change often. With that acceptance will come the flexibility and adaptability you need to be prepared for anything.

Resilience is the ability to bounce back in the face of hardships and challenges. Make New Year’s resolutions like adopting a positive mindset, being open to change, and finding strength in challenges. Even through a tough PCS move or deployment, you can find a way to make lasting memories and positive experiences for yourself and your family.

The ASYMCA Offers Military Spouse Support

It can be tough to build your life as a military spouse. Learning to prioritize yourself, embrace flexibility, and build resilience is essential for spouses to actively practice. Luckily, the ASYMCA has programs that support military families. Programs like the Children’s Waiting Room and Operation Little Learners can help military spouses with children accomplish tasks and adjust to new duty stations. Other initiatives like Operation Ride Home and the Food Pantry support families during holidays and in times of need. ASYMCA also offers personal development programs, helping military spouses adapt and thrive.

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