How To Make Deployment Goals Happen

 In Military

Anyone who has gone through a deployment has probably set a deployment goal or two.  It’s almost like setting a New Year’s resolution, but we have a finite amount of time to complete it and the accountability of someone coming home and asking about it (if you chose to tell them).  

For the last almost four years, my husband has been on forward deployed ships. When he’s finished with this tour, he will have been gone 21 of the last 41 months, so we are no strangers to deployments….or deployment goals.  My first deployment, I didn’t really set any lofty goals. I honestly was just trying to acclimate to our new home abroad and meet people… that was overwhelming enough. I didn’t want to pile anything else on to my plate. However, with each following deployment I did set some goals to make sure I felt like I was using the time apart wisely.  

The first deployment, I decided I was going to get my OCONUS 15 under control (yup… it’s a thing, if you’ve moved overseas and gained weight… you’re not alone) by doing the Whole 30 and getting back to the gym.  The next deployment, I was working full time, but decided I was going to finish a book that I had started about PCSing to Yokosuka.  If you’re moving to Japan, and need some guidance on how the whole process works from start to finish, here is the link.  

So this deployment, I decided I was going to up the ante and set some serious goals.  Let me preface with this is our final deployment before shore duty, and we are moving back to the states.

 

  1. Lose 20 lbs (did I say it was the OCONUS 15?  I meant 20…)
  2. Write book #2
  3. Have our house 90% PCS ready by the time he gets home
  4. Launch a blog

 

Everytime I write these out or tell a friend what I’ve decided to set my mind to, everyone gives me a blank stare and asks “aren’t you working full time?”  To which I reply, “Yes, but I have no other responsibilities other than a cat, so this is the time to make things happen!”

However, truth be told, it’s a lot.  I realized that if I didn’t put pen to paper and make a plan, and also clear the mental clutter so I could prioritize accordingly, these things were never going to get accomplished.  So here is how I’ve been making sure I stay on track with my crazy deployment goals:

 

BE REALISTIC

One of the best articles I’ve ever read was from a mom with four kids.  She wrote about how moms with one or two or three will look at her and ask how she does it because they feel so overwhelmed with just the one.  She goes on to explain that everyone is at their limit. I feel like that also largely applies to being a military spouse.

Everyone is at a different place in their development.  Not everyone has moved before and learned the necessary coping mechanisms to flourish in this lifestyle. Some spouses are pros and can handle a PCS solo while their service member is on deployment and make it look effortless (this is who I want to be when I grow up).  

My point is to not take on more than you can realistically handle. I’ve been on both ends of the spectrum, just trying to get by and acclimate to my new surroundings, and working full time with four major goals on the docket. Set goals that are going to challenge you, but don’t set yourself up to fail.

MAKE A PLAN

It is easy to say things like “I’ll do that tomorrow” or “I’ll get to it next week.”  Which is why writing actionable steps to take with deadlines is crucial to your success.  You’re not going to get where you want to go without a roadmap, right?!

I suggest making it highly visible.  For my weight loss goal, I decided I was going to do the Whole 30 again, paired with regular exercise. The tiles in my bathroom act like a whiteboard, so I made myself a 30 day calendar with each tile having my exercise plan for the day and a spot to put my weight every morning.  Yes, I know I’m not supposed to weigh myself on the Whole 30, but it is just too motivating to not peak at my progress when I wake up.

BE CONSISTENT

One of my favorite quotes is from Zig Ziglar, “Success is one thing you can’t pay for.  You buy it on the installment plan and make payments every day.” I’m not going to lose 20 pounds in a day, or week… it’s going to take me a bit.  Launching a blog could be done in a day, but I wanted to do it right, which took time, research and effort to ensure I was turning out a quality product.  My book is still in progress, but with actionable steps that have deadlines and are in line with my other goals. I’m also taking house prep one project at a time.  

My point is that I spend time EVERY DAY contributing to one or several of my goals. Even if it’s making sure I get a run in, or churning out one more blog post.

BE ACCOUNTABLE

This one scares me… which is why it is so effective.  I don’t always share my goals with my spouse for fear of failing (I’m not good at vulnerable… or failure…I’m working on it).  I feel like the biggest game changer this past deployment was sharing my goals and hopes with my husband so he could check in with me and see how I was doing.  

I’ll be honest with you, there have been a few gut check moments when, after we would chat about progress, I had to ask myself “am I doing my best? I only have one shot at this, am I using my time wisely?” And I’ll tell you, that’s HARD.

Wife guilt immediately sinks in knowing he’s also working on his goals, and I’m not giving 100%.  So while it isn’t always easy, it certainly is effective to have someone who will hold you to account with how you’re choosing to spend your time and if those choices are lending themselves to your goals or not.

CELEBRATE SUCCESSES

Guess what, there’s nothing wrong with taking pride in progress when it’s happening.  My poor boss gets to hear every single morning how much weight I’ve lost, and how excited I am. My friends got lots of updates on how many articles I had written in preparation of my blog launch, along with questions about nitty gritty details like color palettes and fonts.  My husband gets lots of before and after photos of closets getting cleaned out, and trash bags of things that I’ve purged.

Don’t be afraid to share your progress and success with your friends and loved ones. They should be cheering you on, and it will only help fuel your fire to succeed!

 

So that’s my roadmap for deployment goals success.  Set a realistic goals, put a plan in place, be consistent with your efforts and surround yourself with people who will not only hold you accountable, but also cheer you on!  

You’ve got this friend! I believe in you! What goals have you set before, or are currently working on? How did you get there, or plan on getting there this time? Leave me a comment below! I would love to hear from you and send you some encouragement!!

 

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