Each January, many people get busy setting goals. But why wait until then to reflect on things you want to work on? As the seasons change, the pace of our lives often changes as well. Military life comes with many events that happen at the same time every year – so why not set goals around them? This method can provide a systematic approach to living – as well as a different perspective on the pace your life.
I’ll use myself as an example. By the end of the summer, my hope is that my family and I have enjoyed the season fully, including the slower pace that those long summer days bring. My goals for summer could be to simply slow down, enjoy the sun and take a vacation. Maybe I just wanted to spend a few lazy days by the pool reading a book – and taking a minute to breathe. But, like clockwork, the JAG picnic rolls around every year to close out the summer season. It’s really hot, a lot of fun, and a chance to connect with our military friends new and old. It’s always a sign that summer is officially coming to an end. Then, it’s time to shift my thinking toward the fall and a potential PCS.
If my family is embarking on a PCS, my goal will be to remain as stress-free as possible throughout the process – that will be my sole focus for most of the early fall season. Since a PCS requires working out a lot of logistics, I may set a goal for myself to disconnect from all electronics for 30 minutes a day to make sure I’m getting in a quick workout. These goals, in alignment with a stressful event, help keep me sane and productive. If my family isn’t moving and the fall season is a little slower paced, my goal would be to participate in the Army 10 Miler, which is traditionally held each October.
With winter comes the holidays – a hectic time with attending many military and non-military events. Usually, my goal is to make sure that I’m taking time for myself amidst the craziness. I usually plan out a baking schedule, too! I typically start the day after Thanksgiving and make a batch or two of cookies every couple of days, then freeze them for gifts. I try to get done shopping early so I’m not scrambling at the last minute. And lastly, my calendar is updated with both of my children’s activities – and I share it with anyone affected. No surprises! Once the holidays are over, I take time for introspection – it’s a great time to turn inward, set some realistic personal goals and hibernate (spending time alone and with my family).
Then, spring comes – it’s a time for renewal! Spring is a great time for growth and planning next steps. When a PCS is on the horizon, this is the time to discuss the possibilities of what that might look like. If we know where we are going to be stationed, looking for a place to live and checking out the base are two big things to focus on. I also find that this is the perfect time to reflect on last year and how it was for me personally. What would I change? What would I keep the same? How do I want to grow? It’s the perfect time of year to stretch myself a bit!
Aligning your personal goals with the seasons can be refreshing! It can provide you both a sense of urgency for things that must be done and a sense of peace as you check them off. And, setting goals for taking care of yourself and your family brings balance to your life. Here’s my challenge for you: look at a calendar and write down what you want for the next year. Remember to keep it manageable! What are your goals for the next season of life?