What deployment goals do you set for yourself?
A deployment can bring a lot of change for a military spouse: maybe a new job, or new home. There could be a new baby too! Life may be different during deployment, but it is also an opportunity to make small changes that will help you reach bigger goals.
It’s smart to set deployment goals. As challenging as those months can be, they are also a great opportunity for personal improvement, new hobbies, and strengthened friendships. If you are having a new baby during the deployment, maybe your goal is just to keep everyone in the household fed! Other spouses set goals like losing weight, taking a class, or running a 5k. But did you know that there is actually a right way and a wrong way to set goals?
Following the S.M.A.R.T. system means you are more likely to achieve your goals! Setting S.M.A.R.T goals means goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Rewarding, and Time-based. (because don’t we all just love acronyms? )
Specific: This means your goal has details that can be used to nail it down. Let’s take weight loss, for example. Many women want to use a deployment to ‘get in shape.’ But that is not a specific goal because it could mean something different to each person. Specifics would mean something like ‘lose 20 pounds to reach pre-baby weight,’ or ‘feel comfortable in size 6 jeans’, or ‘run 3 miles every week.’ Achieving each of these goals would be a little different, because each is specific.
Measurable. A good goal must be measurable, so you can tell whether or not you have reached it, or how you are progressing. Something like weight loss can be measured in pounds or inches lost. Classes can be measured with grades. You can chart the amount of money you save, or the number of books you read, or the number of miles you run. In what way can you track your deployment goals? Pro tip: make yourself a brag wall to celebrate your milestones and achievements!
“Set specific deployment goals, and find fun ways to measure your achievement.” ~The Seasoned Spouse
Achievable. It’s fine to challenge yourself with a goal, but make sure it is a goal that you can realistically accomplish. You can’t just declare, “I’m going to save $1,000” if you haven’t first studied your household expenses. Neither should you plan to run a marathon next month if you have never trained before. Weight loss is great, but it isn’t healthy to lose more than 1-2 pounds per week, so don’t try to lose more pounds than there are weeks in the deployment. Try to be realistic about the amount of time and energy you will actually be able to devote to a project during a deployment.
Rewarding. On some charts, the R stands for Realistic. But to me that sounds just like achievable. So I prefer Rewarding. Why is this goal important to you? Are you doing it for yourself? For your husband? For your family? You will get very tired and worn out during deployment, so you want to focus on goals that excite you and motivate you, not something that will be a thankless chore. You can only do so much. Choose goals that will help you and make you feel proud.
Time-based. A good goal has a calendar finish line. For a deployment, the obvious time line is to meet the goal by Homecoming Day! However, it’s also important to set timely milestones. Otherwise you forget to spread out your efforts and rush them all into the last few weeks. That is stressful, unproductive, and usually not fulfilling. So put dates on your goals: read one book each month, finish two classes by Christmas, run five miles each week, save $50 per month, lose ten pounds by June, etc. If you have a time line for your overall goal, you can break it down into manageable pieces. Then you can easily see if you are keeping up or falling behind, and make adjustments along the way! A great way to track your goals, achievements, and milestones is with a planner notebook or app.
My Deployment Masterclass will help you choose deployment goals, get organized, and find the support you need to stick through them. Learn more about the Deployment Masterclass here:
Here are some deployment goals I have used during different military deployments. You can steal mine, or use these 5 tips to create your own S.M.A.R.T. goals! #milspouse #deploymentgoals Click To Tweet
So now that you know some of the strategies for setting goals, you can start to form some of your own. Need ideas? I’ll share a few of mine. Don’t try to do these all at once! These are different goals I have set for different deployments (not all at once!). You can see which goals I accomplished in my deployment goals review here:
– lose 20 pounds in 30 weeks
– write and publish 1 blog post per day for the deployment
– save $10 per week for our Disneyland vacation
– read a few chapters of the Bible every day, at a pace to finish the whole Bible in one year.
– spend at least one day each week writing 3-5 pages of my next book
– send at least one care package per month to my husband
– train for and complete my first 10k race in May (not sure about a realistic time goal yet. Maybe 1 hour?)
– complete training to be a Family Readiness Assistant by March, then attend monthly meetings and help with unit events.
– get frames for family photos and hang them in the living room by the end of deployment.
– paint the toddler’s bedroom during a family visit.
Oh yeah, and keep the kids alive and well-fed and mentally enriched. But see, that isn’t specific, or measurable, or time-based, so it isn’t a very well planned goal! So how about all of you? What are some of your deployment goals?