By Carla Olivo, Marine Spouse

I’ve never been a huge fan of New Year’s resolutions. Most of the things in my life I’ve needed to work on are not quick fixes. But at this time of year, I definitely prioritize those things I want to work on. I try to break down the bigger goals into smaller, more manageable goals….bite size if you will.

Resolutions for the Military Spouse

Be Flexible

For instance, I want to lose weight. Last year, my goal was to lose 20 pounds. Well, twelve months later and several health issues later, I’ve lost 9 pounds. Did I reach my goal? No, not exactly. But in looking back on the year and the obstacles that came up, 9 pounds is a victory! Adapting to the circumstances throughout the year and making changes in my expectations helped me to drop the 9 pounds but also to not dwell on the fact that it wasn’t the original 20 I was hoping to lose. So being flexible and adjusting expectations can be key to moving forward with a goal.

The PCS or Deployment Goal

When my husband deployed, I was determined to downsize all of our stuff while he was gone. We had moved three times in four years with very little time in between to purge.  I was able to get rid of or donate some, but no where near what I had hoped in the year he was gone.

When he retired, and we bought a home rather than renting, I vowed to clean out the basement and garage. Well, we still can’t walk around either space very well. But I’ve made monthly trips to the thrift shop to donate, so I feel good about the progress I’ve made this year.

Small Victories

In the last year, I’ve made it to the gym more than in the past couple of years which I consider a victory given my work schedule and my volunteer schedule.

My stress eating is definitely better. Why undo all that working out right? But when I do slip and binge eat, I don’t beat myself up. I just vow to do better, and usually, I do.

Bite Size Resolutions

So whether you are tackling a huge resolution such as quitting smoking or a smaller goal such as being better organized for your next PCS, the key is to be realistic. Break the larger resolution into smaller, bite-size goals.

Instead of going cold turkey with the smoking, try cutting back from 20 a day to 15. Once that feels easy, cut back to 12. Before you know it, you will be down to one or two a day. And if it takes several months to whittle down to one or two, so be it. That is much better than going cold turkey only to return to a pack a day in a few weeks.

PCSing was always a huge hurdle for me. My husband usually didn’t receive orders until April which never left a lot of time for planning. I did freelance and volunteer work through much of our moving around years, so it was easy to move my work with us. But I could never quite get organized enough to make the PCS run smooth. In planning our last move, I started earlier with the purging. I also didn’t try to get it all done before the move. We weren’t worried about weight so some of the purging I actually planned for after the move. It made my life much easier. Look for ways to spread the workload or “To Do” list out.

The key to any resolution is to be realistic and break it down into “bite-size” tasks to set yourself up for your best chance at success. What are your goals for 2019 and what are the steps you can take to get there? Leave your suggestions below.

Carla Olivo has garnered numerous TV industry awards including the Associated Press award for Spot News Reporting, and Documentary Reporting. She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband, a retired USMC Lt. Colonel, and their two children.

Carla Olivo

Director Strategic Communications