It happens to many of us. As the New Year approaches, we conjure up visions of a clean slate, a fresh start. We think about changes we want to make in the new year – such as committing to exercise more, learning a new skill, spending more time with family and friends. We feel optimistic and energized by the possibility of it all. And, right around March, we realize that we just haven’t quite made the monumental changes we’d envisioned. We might feel disappointed in ourselves, defeated, like failures.
For military spouses, success can be hampered by PCS, deployments and more.
Make this the year that you set yourself up to reach your personal and professional goals! How? There are many tricks to make your goals more attainable.
Break your goals into smaller, more manageable tasks
Are you a “big picture” thinker? That’s great! But it’s important to realize that many steps are necessary to lead up to that big picture. Think about your end-goal. Is it to lose weight? Take the time to think about the smaller steps that will be necessary to reach that goal. Those steps might include: reading books on nutrition, learning low-calorie recipes, finding a calorie counting system that works for you, joining a gym, finding a weight-loss group. These can all be steps that will lead to a greater chance of success. And, individually, each step is more manageable than that larger, undefined goal of “losing weight”.
Map out a timeline
Set deadlines for each of your smaller tasks. Doing so will allow you to measure your achievements and track your progress. Seeing positive movement towards your end-goal will motivate you to stay the course, rather than becoming overwhelmed, frustrated and tempted to give up.
Share your dreams with others
By making others aware of what you hope to accomplish in the new year, you increase the odds of success. Family and friends can cheer you along the way and offer support if they see you struggling. This will also help you to set boundaries for family members and let them know that you are dedicated to reaching your goal. If learning a new skill is on your list, then it will be necessary to set aside time to help you focus on your work. Your family will be more understanding if you’ve explained that study time is necessary to helping you succeed.
Build your tribe
Your tribe is a group of people on whom you can count of to pitch in when needed. Your tribe can live near or far. Those who experience frequent moves may find it difficult to create a local tribe for support. Take advantage of the on-post military spouse events and get to know others in your area. These friendships will come in handy if you need help with childcare, household tasks, errands and more. We can all use a hand every now and then to free up time for study, personal care, or appointments. Be sure to reciprocate – you aren’t the only one with goals this year!
Reward and reassess
As you move along the path, it’s important to reward yourself for reaching small milestones. Sign up for a course? Treat yourself to a new notebook and pen. Have a book you want to read on the career of your dreams? Get yourself a cup of coffee and set aside quiet time to dive right in!
While rewarding your progress is important, so is occasionally reassessing your situation. Conduct frequent check points – how are you feeling? Are you still headed in the direction you want to be? Are there areas that might need more of your attention? If so, don’t be afraid to reassess your goals, and the steps necessary to reach them.
Get Financial Assistance
For military spouses interested in obtaining career training in the New Year, there are two great programs to help!
The Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts (MyCAA) Program
The MyCAA program is a workforce development program for spouses of active duty military members. Spouses can receive up to $4,000.00 in career education benefits funded through the Department of Defense. We offer programs that will train spouses for portable, in-demand career fields and are perfect for the transient lifestyle of our military spouses. Ed4Career has a team of military spouses and veterans available to assist you.
Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)
Ed4Career has many Career Training Programs approved and paid for across the country through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). WIOA funds training for unemployed and/or underemployed individuals to gain in-demand career skills. You may find and/or contact your local WIOA office by going here: careeronestop.org
For many of us, the biggest hurdle is just getting started. Once you’ve written down your goals and mapped out the smaller steps necessary to reach them, it’s important to get started right away. You will be at your most motivated at this time.
Following the above steps can help you to reach your goals. Another step to take? Visiting Ed4Career to see how we can help. With hundreds of online courses, students of all ages can improve skills, train for a new career, as well as enjoy lifelong learning, personal enrichment and professional development opportunities.
Whatever your goals for the New Year may be, we wish you all the best. Here’s to your continued success this New Year and always!