As we look into the next decade, I ask you to take some time to make some resolutions to help improve yourself both mentally and physically. Unfortunately, resolutions are challenging for many of us. If it takes you a whole year to resolve something that could significantly improve your life, do you think it will be easy to fix? I’m guessing probably not; otherwise, you would have started already and wouldn’t need a significant holiday to make you make a life-changing plan.
Let’s face it, New Year’s resolutions are almost useless unless we apply them. In fact, studies reveal, the percentage of Americans who keep their New Year’s resolutions is in the single digits. But the process of developing resolutions can be useful and instructive when it causes us to think.
No one can speak for all veterans, and I am not pretending to do so here. Nor am I attempting to tell anyone what to do; in fact, most of us probably do most of the things on this list already. But for the next year, and hopefully longer, I am committing to myself to live by each and every one of these resolutions. And if you are a veteran, I hope you will so too.
1) I will tell my story. Every veteran’s story needs to be told. Sharing is therapeutic as it helps repair the mental wounds of war and keeps others informed about the battles we fight for them. These stories help encourage and inspire the next generation to support and defend the Constitution and our great nation. But I will ensure to tell my stories the right way and keep true faith in my country and to my fellow veterans.
2) I will not act entitled or in a manner as if the world owes me for my service. The world does not owe me anything simply because I am a veteran. All I want is a fair shake and the benefits I was promised as I was there for my country. Although appreciated, I do not feel entitled to expressions of gratitude for my service. I will not go live life with a chip on my shoulder expecting that I deserve “more respect” simply because I had the privilege of serving my country.
3) I will help my fellow veterans when, where, and as much as I can. Veterans should strive to help each other. I will patronize other veterans’ businesses, and if I own my own business, I will employ veterans as a priority. I will support charities that provide a meaningful benefit to veterans. When appropriate, I will support veterans seeking public office. More importantly than any of the rest, I will give a shoulder, or an ear, or a hand up for any veteran who needs it.
4) I will ask for help when I need it. Twenty-two veterans A DAY committed suicide in 2015. That number, unfortunately, is not improving. I do know that I will NOT be one of them. I will not quit on myself, my country, or my fellow veterans, nor will I allow other veterans to do so. I will attack life with the same vigor I attacked the enemies of our country. I will not defeat myself.
5) I will check in with my buddy’s Gold Star family. I know it’s hard, I know it can be awkward, but it’s essential to look in on the families of our fallen. Pick up the phone and/or make a visit; it means so much to families to know that they are not alone, and their loved ones are not forgotten.
6) I will remain engaged with my fellow citizens and set an example as a responsible citizen. The military is the most respected institution in the United States, and I will help keep it that way. I will live by example of being a responsible citizenship and hold all fellow veterans to set the same standard.
7) I will always be proud of who I am, what I’ve done, and those who stood beside me. I don’t need to wait for history to judge whether my actions in servicing our country were right or wrong. I know in my heart that I did the right thing, and I’m proud to have carried the flag of our nation into battle on behalf of her people. I am equally proud to have stood shoulder to shoulder with America’s in the greatest country on Earth.
8) I will help write the next chapter of our nation’s history. In a time of great social and political divisiveness, economic crisis, poor national leadership, and simmering anger, America needs its veterans, perhaps now more than ever before. As the veterans of the Revolution emerged to lead the nation, modern veterans must put their leadership, team spirit, ingenuity, selfless service, and willingness to take risks to work for this nation. I will make assimilation and re-integration a priority; I will NOT sit quietly in the shadows and complain about the condition of my country and not do anything about it. I will lead by example.
9) I will take care of myself both physically and mentally.
I will work on improving my physical and mental health to help lose a few of those unwanted pounds and gain some energy that has disappeared. This task is a difficult one with my busy schedule, but if I allocate 30 minutes a day at first, then keep increasing this time accordingly, my health will improve, and visible results should be seen. Better health makes a happier veteran.
10) I will take care of myself financially.
I will improve my financial fitness by working on paying bills off and improving my credit score throughout the year. I will also work on improving my savings account to ensure I have a goal of three-times my monthly income saved for emergencies. Better finances make fewer worries.
These are just a few resolutions that by no means are set for everyone to follow. You may have your own you want to follow or may want to add to these. The overall goal is to improve your life in the upcoming year to prosper both physically and mentally. Happy New Years, everyone. Let’s do our part to make this year better than any other year.
Image provided by Yehlen, S. (2018). Why Do We Make New Year's Resolutions? MentalFloss.com. Retrieved from https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/60776/why-do-we-make-new-years-resolutions