Special Operations families are often resilient and gritty. We keep going, even when things are incredibly difficult. Often motivated by challenges, which are abundant in our lives, our families buckle down for the things we believe matter. This can feel exhausting especially when deployments keep repeating, or your family’s needs are high. If your mindset becomes just “get through it” or “don’t quit,” the challenges can become exhausting, and this can take sneaky toll on stress management. These same gritty and determined characteristics can energize when you connect your values with something you aspire to achieve.
We all make resolutions, set new goals … lose weight, drink more water, exercise more, or stop wasting time. These goals are often associated with something we don’t love about some aspect of our life or ourself. Several weeks pass by and the gym parking lot thins out, facebook profiles reactivate, and sodas reappear in the fridge. When we come at a goal from a place of negativity or trying to prevent something we fear or dislike, good momentum is hard to maintain and our confidence diminishes. So often, we inevitably stumble, lose motivation and feel defeated when we stumble away from success. We see each misstep and focus on our weaknesses instead of our growth and what we value.
To keep goals meaningful, focus on what is possible and why it is important to you. Reframe your goal in terms of how your life will be better and take small steps toward it. Those small steps are motivating and essential to all challenging goals.
Example: Take an old, standard goal: “I need to exercise more – I’ve gotten out of the habit and put on weight.” This can be reframed as “I loved how strong I felt when I was exercising regularly. I want to feel that way again, so I will get back to fitness.” Or “I want to build endurance so I can go on longer runs. I love the stress relief – it is good for my family, and it is my priority.”
The goal is the same – more physical activity, but the latter focuses on positive gains instead of focusing on the negative aspects or the struggle involved with any change.
Every step we take toward a life we value makes us stronger, better, and happier. Every healthy choice we make is a win. Every fun family outing is cause for celebration. When we focus on where we are headed in life, instead of what we want to change, avoid, or slog-through, goals are meaningful, energizing, and propel us in directions we are proud to go. It is a change that makes “everyday” moments meaningful and memorable.
Mary Duffy is from Georgia. She has been an educator for over ten years, with classroom teaching in GA, NC, CO, and FL. She graduated from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Bachelor of Science in English Education. In 2018, she received her Masters in Education from the University of Kansas. Mary and her husband have two children and have been part of the Special Operations community for ten