- The Essential Military-to-Civilian Transition Resource

Spouse Series: New Year…New Goals

by Janet Farley, Contributing Editor

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Article Sponsored by: Indian Health Services

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The stockings are no longer hung by the chimney with care and the tree no longer stands center stage in the house. Welcome to the New Year. What better time to think about and realize those New Year’s resolutions than right now?

I recently chatted with a couple military spouses and asked them about their annual goals for 2016. "This year, I intend to set aside time each day to recharge so I know that I am bringing the best version of myself to the table and being more fully available to the people who I love,” said Jennifer Oswalt, who is currently stationed in Europe with her family.

Oswalt has given her resolution a lot of thought.

“As I move through life, I become more aware each day of how important it is to do self-care. As military spouses, mothers and professionals, it is easy for us to become excellent caretakers of everyone except ourselves!” Oswalt said.

“When I attend to my spiritual, physical, social, mental and emotional needs, I find that I am better able to cope with life's challenges and to more fully experience the joys of this amazing military life,” she added.

Oswalt isn’t the only military spouse who wants to do things a little differently in the New Year.

Robert Kalwaitis, an Army spouse and retired Soldier himself, wants to more fully experience the opportunities around him while being stationed overseas in Germany.

“I want to get off the couch and do more traveling with my family. We live close to so many other countries that we haven’t visited yet,” Kalwaitis said.

Of course, Kalwaitis will need to fund those travels, and his next resolution should take care of that.

”I also want to land a better job, one that is more in line with my military intel experience,” he said.

What about your New Year’s resolutions?

Whether you embrace them or hate them, annual goals are a good way to establish direction.

To be most effective, your goals should be SMART ones.


Specific goals always stand a better chance of being met than vague ones. A specific goal answers the questions of who, what, when and where.

Non-Specific Goal: I want to find a new job this year.

Specific Goal: I will update my resume and target three new employers in my career field weekly.


It’s important to set goals that can be measured. Updating your resume and targeting three new employers in your career field weekly is measurable. At the end of the week, you have either done it or you haven’t.


Your New Year’s resolutions must also be attainable. Otherwise, what’s the point in making them? I don’t mean to knock the concept of reaching for the moon and catching the stars, but if you truly want to accomplish something, it will be helpful if you can actually do it in the firstplace given your current or potential situation.

Updating your resume and giving it to three employers is fairly attainable unless you are stationed in a remote location (think Iceland) where your job search options may be severely limited. Even then, online options may exist.


As you set your goals, ask yourself if you are being realistic about them. Yes, they may be specific, measurable and even attainable, but are they also realistic? Do you have the necessary resources and knowledge base available to you to achieve real results?


Finally, resolutions are more likely to be realized if you’ve established a time frame for completion.

Janet Farley is a job search and workplace issues expert and the author of “The Military Spouse’s Guide to Employment: Smart Job Choices for Mobile Lifestyles,” (Impact Pubs, 2013) and “Quick Military Transition Guide: Seven Steps to Landing a Civilian Job,” (Jist, Inc. 2013).

Return to January/February 2016 Issue