Each January, we are given the opportunity to start fresh. “New year, new you,” is a slogan we often hear with the exciting promise of something better. Aside from shedding a few of the holiday pounds that I found last month, I thought about what I — as a milspouse — would like to accomplish and experience this year.

Here are some of my ideas and I hope they give you a little inspiration.

  1. Weekend exploration. Are you familiar with all the cool things surrounding your base? The time at each duty station is temporary, and I encourage you to get out and explore your surrounding area. Your traveling can be as extravagant as a weekend away at a neighboring city, or as simple as a hike through the nearest state park. I realize that in my year at my current station, I have yet to scratch the surface of what is around us, and now is the time to adventure as a family and make the most of this opportunity.
  2. Make appointments for myself. The military ensures that my husband’s health is up to date, and every time we move, I am in charge of finding care for my children, keeping their shot records up to date, etc. Who gets forgotten in the shuffle? Me. It’s time for me to finally find my own dentist and see that dermatologist I’ve been talking about. If you’re in the same boat, I encourage you to make some calls!
  3. Do a good deed for a military family. Giving feels great and we are in a community that relies on the support of others. Consider cooking for a family who is welcoming a new baby, babysit for the mom whose spouse is deployed, or reach out to the new neighbor who just moved in. It takes a village and one good deed may lead to another.
  4. Make a new friend. This one may be easier said than done, but we are all looking for someone we can connect with. Sometimes finding a friend that you can laugh with and confide in takes work, but this resolution may help you get out your comfort zone, reach out to discover similarities and smile more. I continue to stay optimistic that my next gal pal may be just around the corner.
  5. Go on dates. One-on-one time is very important in a lifestyle of frequent changes and separation. But this suggestion may be bigger than it first appears. When I say dates, I don’t just mean with your spouse, but also with your girlfriends, with your children, and even plan alone time for yourself. Find a babysitter, swap childcare with other couples, and make girls’ nights and guys’ nights a priority. Cultivating a variety of close relationships is good for the soul.
  6. Stay connected. Although we may have miles between us due to orders, it doesn’t mean that we need to lose touch with friends and family. Beyond simple social networking, texts and chats, the genuine act of making a phone call, having a video chat or sending a hand-written note can keep your far-away loved ones feeling special and close.

Sticking to Your Resolutions

The key to success in resolutions is to follow the goals and objectives model. A goal is your big picture item, and objectives are your steps to achieve it. For example, if your goal is to stay connected with your friend from a past duty station, your objectives can be: set up a monthly phone call; send her a birthday and holiday card; and plan a girls’ weekend extravaganza.

The greatest key to success is to find something you value that will enhance your experience and how you feel about yourself. Resolving to care for you and to be kind to others is far more achievable and fulfilling than working to make drastic fixes and changes. Happy New Year!


A self-described “Jackie of All Trades,” Army wife Jackie Toops is a mother of two and enjoys writing, travel, art, languages, slow cooking and peaceful parenting. She studied Interdisciplinary Humanities, Museum Studies and Nonprofit Management, and has overseen public relations for museums, galleries and universities. She is a contributing author for Wall Street International Magazine and has discussed her articles on-air with AFN Wiesbaden. She’s usually seen adventuring with her Canon, a coffee and two small children. Follow her on Twitter.



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