Military Spouses: How to Make & Keep Your New Year's Resolution
Written by Susannah Wruk
It’s that time of year again when everyone seems to be making plans and setting goals on how they want to improve in the coming year. Military spouses are no exception to this annual mass self-improvement craze, but we often struggle to keep up with goals due to the busyness of military life, deployments, solo parenting, Permanent Change of Station (PCS) moves, and more. These factors can make it really challenging for military spouses to keep up with New Year’s resolutions. Here are some helpful tips to keep you on track with your goals for the coming year.
Set Realistic Goals
Perhaps the most important part of keeping your New Year’s resolutions is setting goals for yourself that are realistic and attainable. Setting goals that are too lofty or require more commitment than you currently have the time or energy for will only result in failure and frustration. A good metric for setting goals is considering whether the goal is SMART for you. SMART is an acronym that stands for:
- Specific: Your goal should lay out exactly what you are trying to achieve. For example, instead of “I want to lose weight this year,” your goal should be something like “I want to lose 2 pounds a month this year.”
- Measurable: Your goal should be something that allows you to measure your progress throughout the year. For example, instead of “I want to read more this year,” you might say “I want to spend at least 20 minutes per day reading.”
- Attainable: Your goal should be something that you can reasonably accomplish within the year. For example, a goal of getting to the gym every single day probably isn’t reasonable because it doesn’t account for sick days or rest days. Instead, you might set a goal of making it to the gym at least 2-3 days a week.
- Relevant: Your goal should be something that has personal meaning to you. There should be a reason behind it. Without relevance to your life, goals are easy to drop.
- Time-bound: Your goal should have an end date. Typically, New Year’s resolutions are goals for the whole year, but they don’t have to be. You could have a goal for each month or even weekly goals.
Using the SMART acronym will help you to set goals that are more achievable and personally helpful.
Find Resources to Help
It’s also important to consider what resources you have available to you when planning out your goals. Often, the biggest struggle for military spouses when it comes to setting and keeping New Year’s resolutions is finding time. This is especially true when a spouse is deployed and you are solo parenting or managing a household on your own. It’s also challenging keeping up with and sticking to plans through PCS moves or other unexpected life changes.
Thinking about these potential issues when setting your goals is a good way to set yourself up for success. Maybe going to the gym every day works for you right now because your spouse is able to drop the kids off at school in the morning, but it won’t work while they are deployed later in the year. By looking into childcare resources now, you are enabling your future success.
The Armed Services YMCA (ASYMCA) offers programs that can help support military families in keeping their goals for the coming year! Operation Hero is an after school care program that gives parents some much-needed time off while helping children of military families connect with peers who may be going through similar experiences.
Another ASYMCA program that could be helpful if your goals include spending more time with your kids is Operation Little Learners. This program helps military children (ages 2-5) grow academically and emotionally as well as prepares them for kindergarten through fun learning activities. Typically, these groups meet a couple of times a week and parents are encouraged to help their child learn through guided, play-based activities.
Maybe your goals involve investing more time in your health? The ASYMCA can help with that, too! At many military hospitals and treatment facilities across the U.S., the ASYMCA provides Children’s Waiting Rooms. These are free childcare centers that enable parents to attend doctor appointments without having to worry about keeping their kids entertained.
Support Military Families in the New Year
The ASYMCA recognizes the challenges of military life and strengthens local military families by providing an environment where service members can focus on their mission while their family’s vital needs are met at home. Through child development services, family support systems, and food programs offered at little to no cost to military families, the ASYMCA ensures no military family is left behind. Lend a helping hand to military families in the New Year and beyond by donating today!