17 Tips to Make 2017 Your Best Year Yet

Thu, Dec 29, 2016 @ 08:12 AM Mary Ann Eckberg Military Life

Just the other day I picked up a shiny new 2017 calendar. Ready or not, the New Year is on its way!

While chatting with the writing team here at MilitaryByOwner, I am super duper excited about all of the good things in the works for the year ahead! More helpful hints. Additional handy checklists. Further easy-to-use resources.

Clearly, MilitaryByOwner is continuing its quest to support military members and their families. Buckle your seat belts folks - 2017 is going to be a spectacular year!

So, what about you? Do you have any New Year’s resolutions?

With 2017 right around the corner, I’ve spent some time pondering. There are changes to be made. Goals to strive for. Oh, and plans for plenty of fun along the way! Speaking of, I'm sharing some notes I penned in my journal titled, “17 Things I Resolve To Do In 2017!”

1. RSVP to a military spouse social event.

Gather for coffee. Rally for a playdate. Join in on a bunco night. Whatever may be planned, I’ll try to promptly respond to the invitation. Then, actually make plans to attend the activity.

Maybe I’ll meet fellow spouses assigned nearby. Perhaps I’ll laugh along with stories of survival of this spontaneous military life. Possibly I’ll get know a young spouse just embarking on this military rollercoaster ride. What’s the worst that could happen to me? Coffee breath? I’ll pack mints.

2. Try out one of those “Paint Night” events.

Does scrolling through pins and posts on Pinterest, Etsy, and Instagram count as “artistic”? If so, consider me Rembrandt! I vow to reclaim a sense of “me time” with a brush and canvas. Maybe even add in a couple of friends and make it a Girls' Night Out.

3. Call my Grandma more often.

Those dear sweet elderly relatives seem to genuinely enjoy hearing the latest of our family adventures, so I'll work on staying in touch. Along the same lines, I should look into volunteer opportunities with Senor Citizens in our community, such as

  • Playing bingo at an assisted living home
  • Greeting veterans at an Honor Flight event
  • Assisting with the local Meals on Wheels program
  • Doing yard work for those who are unable to tend to their yard or flowerbeds.

Giving of my time or putting in a little extra effort may ease some of the loneliness that an elderly person may be facing. 

4. Assist in a classroom.

Having manned a busy Pre-K classroom, I totally understand why a teacher may seem exhausted! Yet another career field with dedication above and beyond the call of duty. Maybe in 2017, I’ll pitch in at our local school or with our church Sunday School classes. 

5. Volunteer with the USO.

When we seem to be trapped at an airline terminal due to an extended layover, our family seeks out the many comforts of the USO Lounge. In this New Year, it’s high time I volunteer at the local USO chapter. Even simply donating goodies to re-stock the snack supplies at the local USO Lounge may be appreciated.

6. Think of random acts of kindness.

I love reading those feel-good stories on social media. I hope to pay it forward this year. Maybe, buying a coffee for the person in line behind me at Starbucks. Or, leaving good coupons by matching products on the commissary shelves. Will have to think of ways to bring a smile to someone else!

7. Tour local attractions.

Everyone around here talks about a local museum that they take their family and friends to when they visit. Now I need to take a day and pretend to be a tourist. Maybe I’ll learn some local history and enjoy undiscovered sightseeing.

8. Stop one bad habit: biting my nails. Start one new routine: flossing my teeth.

(Flossing more than just the day before a dentist appointment.)

Join us on Facebook! 

9. Just try walking.

Unlike the crowds at the local gym, I am not a fan of getting into a workout routine as the New Year begins. But, I could see myself boosting my daily step count by walking more. Maybe I could check out that popular park where everybody and their brother seems to go? Possibly I’d engage in an online step count challenge with a fun friend? Easily achievable goals may encourage me to get at least 30 minutes of exercise each day.

10. Research for our “someday” home.

After chatting with a friend who recently wrapped up his military career, he encouraged my spouse and I to spend some time researching retirement destinations.

His advice: “Look up both the fun stuff - like local trails and community events, and the not so fun stuff - such as tax rates and crime statistics.” Maybe if I do a little bit of online searching each day, we’ll be closer to finding a spot for our “someday” home and retirement ahead.

11. Empty that leftover moving box.

It’s soon to be 2017. The time has come. I must open that random box of whathaveyou in the corner of the garage. I vow to find a spot for the contents of that box or make plans to donate whatever mystery items I find inside.

12. Print those photos.

My love for photos is strong. My timing with ordering prints could use some work. First, I need to find an online deal on prints. Then I will finally fill that album on the coffee table with treasured memories.

13. Make some travel plans.

This summer and fall, we shared family bonding time with our relatives. Boxes checked. Requirements met. Thankfully, we are not spending an arm and a leg on travel expenses over the holidays. This allows wiggle room in the budget for a winter get-away. Or, maybe we’ll make plans now for traveling this summer? The calendar is wide open for plans for family adventures ahead!

14. Review the budget.

Much like the hassle of dusting knick-knack shelves or the horror of shopping at the commissary on payday, it’s never a joyous task to sit down and go over the budget. But it’s a good idea for me to tally things up as 2016 ends. By doing so, I may find where we could trim our spending. Saving a little bit extra will help down the road--those unexpected expenses are such lurkers.

15. Make preparations.

As I’ve noted over the years, with military life, a person never knows where the chips may fall. In an effort to feel more prepared, I'll consider

  • what to compile for a PCS binder
  • what to expect if an overseas PCS comes up
  • what to do before leaving a rental property
  • what steps to take before listing a home for sale.

Thinking of these details and making plans ahead of time should help lessen stress if/when similar things occur.

16. Prepare for deployment.

A quick scroll through any news site, and it’s clear our troops will continue to be deployed. It might be a good idea to have a few things lined up. Before my spouse inevitably takes off I need to ask about

  • power of attorney and legal documents
  • passwords for important accounts
  • keys to his vehicle, keys/combo to the safe, spare keys for the house
  • ways to communicate – Skype, Facetime, Messenger, email, etc.

For our family I need to think of

  • how to maintain a routine
  • potential travel plans to spend time with family
  • care package ideas that we could all help compile
  • positive ways to relieve stress

Thankfully, MilitaryByOwner highlights helpful tips for coping with deployment with a series of easy-to-relate-to blog posts and informative articles.

17. Dream!

Often, when a military spouse actually has the chance to dream,  they still imagine doing something practical. With that in mind, I could work towards a dream of furthering my education goals. Or, possibly I’ll polish up my resume' and apply for a dream job. Thankfully, there are plenty of resources and opportunities out there for military spouses to reach for the stars. Perhaps the promising year of 2017 is my time to make the most of it all.

This random list has been going through my head as 2016 comes to a close. Here’s hoping you have a moment to reflect on resolutions for 2017 ahead. Wishing you happiness and continued success throughout the New Year!

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