2020 has certainly been a wild, chaotic ride and while many of us are ready and eager to get into a new year, it’s important to remember that nothing changes unless we make the effort. Though we can’t control what happens in the future, we can prepare ourselves as best as we can for the new year.
Here are 10 ways MilFams can prepare for the new year.
1. Get Personal Finances in Order
One of the greatest stressors in life is money, so it’s important to have a clear understanding of your current financial situation. Whether it’s juggling your monthly mortgage payment, making sure you have the right life insurance plan or even putting together a realistic monthly budget and sticking to it, getting your finances in order goes a long way to making the new year a good one.
AAFMAA is ready and available to offer you resources, personal finance tips and more to help you get on track for a successful year.
2. Prioritize Health and Wellness
While you absolutely do not need to set weight loss goals for the new year, it’s entirely beneficial to set some health and wellness goals. Dedicate a specific amount of time every week (or day!) to moving your body and eating nutritious food. Whether this consists of a leisurely walk or an all-out gym session; whether it’s just cutting out junk food or eating clean and drinking green smoothies. You won’t regret prioritizing your health and wellness this coming year.
3. Improve Time Management
We’ve all been guilty at one point of another of saying something to the likes of, “If I just had more time in the day, I’d get (fill in the blank) done.” Then 2020 hit and a lot of us had more time on our hands than we knew what to do with—but that doesn’t necessarily mean we accomplished everything that we meant to do. Don’t let habits of poor time management seep into 2021. Make a list of time-wasters in your life, areas you struggle with procrastination and other contributors to poor time management skills (like too much screen time), and then work on ways to improve in 2021.
4. Get Organized
A messy house, chaotic schedule and overwhelming work life all lead to a messy mind. Help yourself get organized in 2021 by not putting things off anymore. If there are areas of your home you’ve been meaning to organize, tackle it head-on. Help alleviate your packed schedule by organizing your time better or even letting the less important things slide. A year from now, you’ll be surprised at how physical organization can improve your mental state.
5. Appreciate Family Time
Missing a loved one who’s far away is normal, and it’s healthy to grieve their absence, but don’t let this feeling keep you from seeing the beautiful moments you already have with loved ones nearby.
Appreciate family time for what it is, and soak up every minute of it. Always keep space for the people who are missing, but spend more time focusing on the good that’s right in front of you so you don’t miss that, too.
6. Look for More Opportunities to Show Love
Deployments and other aspects of life as a military family present huge challenges, but don’t let these challenges make you bitter. Show more love in 2021; show it to your children, your friends, your parents, your spouse—even your coffee shop baristas or store clerks. After a year of hardship and negativity, make it your mission to send positive energy out into the world by giving as much love as possible.
7. Take Care Packages Up a Notch
While a care package filled with photos, sweets and warm socks are always welcome, try elevating your care package skills this year. Attempt new recipes for snacks and sweets alongside old favorites; include books to read or even video games; package thumb drives filled with photos of precious moments and home movies; add coloring books and pencils; throw in letters from the kids or other friends and family. Thinking outside the box when it comes to care packages not only presents you with a creative outlet, but will also surprise your soldier and surely bring a smile to their face.
8. Connect More with Distant Friendships
Military life is hard. So is keeping up with old friends who live in different locations. Years down the road, however, you’ll likely be so happy to still have them as friends, so don’t let the hardness of it keep you from making an effort to connect more.
If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that relationships are hard work, but we’ve never had more tools at our disposal to work on them. Send even more texts, pictures and postcards this year. Let your friends know you love them.
9. Build Realistic Homecoming Expectations
Here’s the truth of things: your military spouse’s homecoming isn’t always filled with rainbows and sunshine like you want. Sometimes it comes with difficult adjustments and obstacles to overcome. Rather than allowing this to devastate you, be realistic about your expectations for your spouse’s homecoming and make a plan to better prepare. This will help your soldier’s reintegration go much smoother.
10. Commit to Regular Date Nights
Obviously, date nights are nearly impossible to manage during deployments, but when your Military Spouse is at home, commit to regular date nights to help grow and strengthen your marriage. This will help you, your spouse and your children grow stronger as a family unit. Commit to nurturing your marriage a bit extra this year.
Do you have any goals for 2021 planned? We’d love to hear them!
Share your ideas on the SpouseLink Facebook page and follow to see what other MilSpouses are setting out to achieve. You’re sure to get great advice and inspiration, from personal finance tips to healthy meal prep recipes to virtual family bonding activities.