We polled our readers and here are 20 of the most common goals we heard for the next 12 months. In no particular order, here they are.
1. No more bashing
It is amazing how adults can be bullies – especially online. Within the military community, I’ve seen milspouses bash each other in person and online for parenting decisions like if they should have kids or when to have kids, family matters, accompanying your service member on a PCS or training, working out of the home vs. stay-at-home-mom status, and on and on the list goes. I’ve read articles on milspouses bashing others about being too dependent on your service member and articles on milspouses not depending enough on your service member. Not only are we all hard on each other, but I’ve noticed a trend of women (moms especially) becoming harder and harder on ourselves.
Personally, I expect more from myself than anyone else ever would. It’s not okay for us to be so unrealistic and set the bar too high. I challenge each and every one of you reading this to stop comparing your life to the brief Instagram snapshots we see from other women. Stop trying to be “as good as” everyone else and be as amazing as you are – without the comparisons!
2. Time for you
Taking time for yourself can be crucial for sanity. Sometimes, all it takes is 10 minutes a day where you can focus on yourself and remember that you still matter. It’s important to give yourself some down time and take care of you along with the house, kids, PCSing, work, etc. Don’t allow your own needs to go ignored so long that you lose a sense of who you are or get overwhelmed with all the outside factors in life! Taking care of yourself is also a key part of taking care of your kids and spouse!
3. Live for now
For military spouses, it’s easy to always be thinking ahead or looking to the past. We mentally prepare for future PCS seasons. We excitedly anticipate our service member’s return from deployment. We wish we still lived at a previous base where we already had friends. We yearn for easier times (past and future). But living for now can bring us much more joy and happiness. You might not be at an ideal installation. You might have to make it through a long deployment. You might have a list of things you wish were different. That being said, there are things going on in life you can enjoy in the present. Find a way to focus on each day’s joys and trials instead of worrying about the future or wishing away time!
Even if you’re not planning on joining (or returning to) the workplace anytime in the immediate future, it never hurts to keep up networking and stay informed about your individual field or keep your eyes open for opportunities to grow and develop skills. You never know what connections you might make that can be helpful down the road. Keep an open mind, put yourself out there, and establish a solid network of personal and professional connections.
There are so many programs out there available for free or discounted to military spouses. This includes certification programs, free classes, continuing education credits, and a variety of other options. More and more programs that were previously only available to veterans are opening up opportunities to military spouses as well. Take some time to learn a new skill! Check out the MyCAA program if your spouse is E1 – E5, W1 – W2 or O1 – O2. I’ve rarely come across an individual who completed a degree or certification of any kind and really regretted the time, energy, and money they put into it. It might take some adjustment on your home life or work life, but it’s good for the mind to be constantly learning and it feels so good to accomplish things like this.
6. Get healthy
I’m not suggesting you hit the gym 2 hours a day or go on a crash diet. However, more data is always coming out about health issues associated with poor diets and lack of exercise. Even just 30 minutes 3 times a week has been shown to be extremely helpful. Find a way to squeeze some healthy lifestyle changes in! Start by trying portion control more often. Don’t eat out frequently. Find a workout buddy. I’ve seen girls find workout partners or groups through local base Facebook pages so they can help keep each other on track and support a healthier lifestyle. For more inspiration, read about Stroller Warriors.