The Deployment ABCs is a 26-week series where I cover every deployment-related topic, from care packages to homecomings to OPSEC. Tips, tricks and maybe a resource or two to help military spouses navigate their way through the craziness that is a deployment. If there’s a topic you’d like for me to cover or are interested in adding your own thoughts to, send me an email and we’ll chat!
I don’t think time could possibly move any more slowly than it does during a deployment. I’ve learned that only marking off the seemingly endless days just isn’t enough to speed things up so before each deployment I set goals. And lots of them. Some are personal, some are professional and some involve just surviving. But as I work towards and accomplish each one, I find that the days go by a little faster. As my list gets shorter, the time ahead seems far more manageable. But I have learned that not all goals are created equal and I’m sharing a few tips for setting better deployment goals today!
Make them enjoyable
Deployments already stink so why would you force yourself to spend that time doing something you hate? Pick something that you’ll actually enjoy accomplishing and you’ll be surprised at how easy it will seem! I usually pick things like catching up on scrapbooking, reading and binge watching my favorite shows and organizing as much of the house as I can. To some folks, that may sound like an awful way to spend four months, but I love it! They aren’t necessarily things I’d do when A is home because they’re more solitary activities and we try to focus on spending that time together. But when he’s gone, I don’t feel bad about indulging my own interests a little bit more. Bring on all the washi tape!
Anything can be a goal
Maybe you’re going to run a marathon. Maybe you’re going to learn a new language. Maybe you’re going to do laundry on a weekly basis. Whatever YOU decide YOU want to accomplish is a goal. There are no right or wrong goals. Sometimes my goals consist of literally just making it through an event or holiday. And that’s ok. Even if you think it’s silly or too easy, add it to your goal list. When you accomplish it (because we all know that you will) you get to see some immediate progress.
Write them down
Perhaps it’s the compulsive list maker in me, but writing something down makes it more real to me. Plus it’s infinitely more satisfying to cross something off a list once it’s done than to just move on to the next one. You also now have visual progress of how far you’ve come, both with the deployment and all that you wanted to accomplish.
Cut yourself some slack
Ideally your goals are ones that you have a reasonable chance of accomplishing. But let’s say that for some reason, you just don’t quite finish that painting project or the perfect curry still escapes you. It’s completely ok! Unless maybe if you are a professional painter or curry maker, but you get the idea. My point is that stuff happens and that stuff often interferes with your ability to crush your deployment goals before homecoming. The good news is that if you’ve made it to homecoming, you’ve accomplished your biggest goal: surviving deployment.
Do you set goals for yourself during a deployment to help keep time moving? What tips would you add to my list?