December is a great time to reflect on your year so far. However, this is definitely NOT the time to beat yourself up!
Instead, it’s a month for reflecting on all that you have accomplished. Oftentimes, my clients’ biggest accomplishments in health, wealth, and marriage aren’t running across the finish line of a 5K, having 5K in their savings, or staying married another 5 years—instead, they’re subtle little shifts in their thinking for the better. They involve embracing healthy habits and discovering ways to enjoy military life more.
Celebrate Your Successes
I dedicate October to celebrating success, but you can continue to make celebrating your accomplishments a priority throughout this holiday season as well. Ask yourself, “What successes have I had so far?” Your answers may include:
- Joining a new class at the gym this year or even signing up for a gym at all (even if you didn’t go as often as you’d like, you made an important first step)!
- Buying Christmas gifts in cash instead of building up credit card debt to worry about in the new year.
- Managing to make it through Thanksgiving without fighting with the in-laws or strangling Cousin Mike.
Forget about the goals on your whiteboard for a minute and focus on my “I am worthy of success” mantra. If you really think about it, I’m sure you’ll find something you were unexpectedly successful at this year that’s worth celebrating. After all, whether you remind yourself of it often enough or not, you’re already so successful as a military spouse.
I often have clients say, “I don’t want to spend money celebrating,” “I’m too busy to celebrate,” or “Krista, it isn’t a big deal that I cleaned out my closet” – but I want you to give yourself permission to celebrate the small things. Because we military spouses have such a hard time thinking up ways to celebrate, I’m going to challenge you to keep a running list of your accomplishments. I want you to add to this list all year long so that, next October, you’re ready to get out there and party!
Every day, I write down plays that friends recommend, books that mentors advise me to get, and movies that I read about in the paper, all while including things that make me feel jealous (you know that skinny couple that is posing next to a waterfall while the nanny is in the background taking care of the kids?!) because jealousy leaves clues—and those are things you should be celebrating as well.
Your celebration might not be as grand as treating yourself to a massage or popping a bottle of champagne—it might be something as small as writing a thank you note to those that inspired you. Or you might reach out to someone who has similar dreams and offer to help them get started.
Even if you can’t fly to Cancun, you can probably take a day and rent paddleboards when your husband is home from his deployment. Put these ideas in the back of your daily journal so that, when you accomplish something, however small, you can pull out the celebration list.
I use this technique for big accomplishments, like giving myself two weeks off work after I completed my dissertation, to small accomplishments such as taking one day off work before the kids go on school break.
This time of year, I try to balance my kids’ wish lists with my own list of ways to celebrate me. This lets me dream about the future even when I’m doing a less pleasant task like wrapping presents.
Please share something that you have ready and waiting to celebrate on your successes wish list in the comments section below.