A New Year can mean a new you. Come January 1, strive to improve yourself by sticking to your New Year’s resolutions. For most people, it’s going to the gym more, getting takeout less, and other lifestyle improvements along those lines. Of course, life in the military is very different from civilian life and this means different types of resolutions. Here are some for folks in uniform to consider.
1. Stop showing up to PT hungover/drunk
Getting up early to workout can be tough enough with the regrets of last night’s drinking sessions weighing you down. You know you have PT the next morning, so ease off on the drinks. Everyone can tell that you’re hungover/still drunk and it’s not a good look. Ibuprofen and water can only help so much; even less if First Sergeant is leading PT. You can still attend the barracks parties, but know your limit and try to stick to it. You’ll be better off for it. Alternatively, if you’re already in the habit of showing up to PT sober, consider working towards a perfect PT test score by pushing yourself harder and/or working out a little extra on your own time.
2. Turn in your leave request earlier
Yes, pass is a privilege but leave is a right. Still though, your leave request has to be passed up the chain of command and that takes time. The training room and S-1 can process your request as quickly as possible, but it’s not going anywhere if the next recommender or approval authority isn’t available. Give yourself and the process time to work by sticking to the prescribed timeline. Not sure what that timeline is? Ask your chain of command; that’s what they’re there for. Additionally, be polite when dealing with people who handle your leave. They should also be professional and handle all business equally, but you’ll catch more flies with honey than vinegar and you’re not going to get your request expedited by being rude. This can also be applied to finance and supply.
3. Inventory your issued gear
Remember all that gear you were first issued? Still got it all? You probably use some of it regularly, you might have replaced some of it with better personal gear, but there’s bound to be a few items that were tossed in a box or closet and all but forgotten about. If you can’t find it come turn-in time, you’re paying for it. Do yourself and your personal finances a favor and inventory your gear. You should have a record of everything you’ve been issued from socks to armor. If you don’t, ask your chain of command. They might be upset, but you’re doing the right taking responsibility for your gear and they’ll understand that. Be sure to differentiate between gear that has to be turned in and gear that doesn’t. Then, crucially, keep track of it all. Otherwise you’ll be doing this again next year.
4. Buy that spare reflective belt and keep it in your car
Admittedly, this one is service specific. For those who are forced to wear the belt of obedience during PT or on ruck marches, the embarrassment of forgetting it is familiar whether it be firsthand or secondhand. So, make your future self thankful and finally go buy yourself a spare belt to keep in your car. Don’t have a car? Keep it in your buddy’s car. Regardless, have a spare reflective belt on hand somewhere you can retrieve it for the day you inevitably forget it. Until then, you’re sure to be a lifesaver for someone else who forgets their own belt. It’s an inexpensive investment that will surely save you a chewing out.
5. Stop making fun of the Air Force…and start making fun of the Space Force
Chair Force this, Chair Force that. We’ve all heard the plethora of jokes poking fun at Zoomies. Realistically though, the Air Force has proven itself extensively in combat. From the much-loved A-10 to combat controllers like Medal of Honor recipient Tech. Sgt. John Chapman, the Air Force has certainly earned the respect of the other branches at this point in its history. The Space Force, on the other hand, is very much the new kid in the family. Until the guardians intercept a ballistic missile, take down a Russian satellite, or finally get spaceship door gunners, it’s time for them to start getting the friendly teasing that the Air Force has suffered through.