With a new year comes new goals, new diets, and new aspirations. Many people choose this time of year to set a plan towards bettering themselves and their lives. Many of these people have complete control over making these plans a reality, and can achieve it by simply following steps 1, 2, and 3. The military family does not get to experience this privilege. We have little control over where we live, how long we live there for, or the quality and accessibility of civilian careers and education. However, even though we may not have control over these components, there is one thing we do have control over, ourselves, and our attitude.
It happens to the best of us. Negative Nancy swoops into our minds and we wallow and moan, sometimes out loud, sometimes only to ourselves, about how we hate this, or hate that, or this is unfair, or that is unfair. It can go on and on and become quite the spectacle. Sometimes this wallowing is greatly needed. I am always an advocate for this occasional behavior and say complaining is welcome and encouraged. But, there is a line when this complaining is no longer helpful. You have to know where that line is and be careful not to cross it.
So what do you do when you’re faced with the military challenge of a journey you did not choose, and you’re not especially excited about facing? Well, you have a few options:
- Reflect- Take some time and reflect on your personal goals and what you would like to achieve during this time. Set realistic expectations and make a real plan about how you can achieve it. This may include an alternative route than what you originally anticipated. It may be longer and harder, but you WILL be stronger and more resilient because of it in the end.
- Be Positive- Speak positive affirmations out into the universe. You are strong. You are capable. You will do XYZ. Nothing will get in your way. You will overcome.
- Plan- It is not enough to say, “I want to do this” or “I will be better”. You NEED to make a plan. Write it down. You want to be healthier? I will meal plan on Friday. I will grocery shop on Saturday. I will food prep on Sunday. Write out your plans. Follow them. Make a sticker chart if you have to. Adults are just big kids who like stickers too!
- Reward Yourself- Did you go a whole week without feeling sorry for yourself? Did you make a new friend this week? Did you apply for that job or school? Treat yourself!
The military lifestyle likes to throw new things at you all year long. This is a never-ending journey. Sometimes it’s a thrill when it is happening. Sometimes it feels like it’s never going to end. Sometimes it’s a “laugh later” kind of experience, and sometimes it’s a “if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry” kind of thing. Whichever moment you’re currently in, know that you are not alone. Know that even though you may not have chosen all of the challenges that come with it, you do have the choice on how you face it. Choose to be strong. Choose to be a MilSpouse.