As a life coach who works with many military spouse moms, I spend my days surrounded by highly motivated women making active progress in the areas of their health, wealth, and relationships. I’ve noticed that the clients who take charge of their habits are much more likely to achieve the growth they desire.
We all experience weeks where we feel in charge and those that leave us feeling less motivated (often due to the real-life challenges of military life). However, I’ve found that creating consistent habits provides an important foundation for success regardless of the ups and downs. It’s just so much easier to attain our stretch goals when we have our basic ducks in a row!
After speaking with successful military spouse moms, I’ve learned a number of common routines that help them get back on track or start making progress toward achieving their goals. Read about a few of my favorites below—and let me know your own successful habits in the comments section.
Habit #1: Drink more water
I recently learned that we’re supposed to drink half of our body weight in water every day to support our health. This means that a 150 lb. woman should consume at least 75 ounces of water each day! As soon as I heard this tip, I realized that I was falling short. So, I decided to implement routines around my daily water intake to make it a simple habit in my everyday life.
If you’re also stuck in the knowing/doing gap when it comes to water intake, try setting up some systems to help you reach your own daily goal. Some tips that have worked for my clients and myself include:
- Buy a fancy water bottle (that you love!) to help you guzzle water on your way to work and back.
- Drink a glass of water before each meal.
- Create a special space in your fridge for your water bottle and any fruits, vegetables, or herbs you like to add to your water, such as mint leaves, lemon, and cucumbers.
- Piggyback on a current habit. For example, grab a bottle of water on your way to your favorite workout class, knowing that you’ll chug it down easily after all that exercise.
- Add drinking a glass of water to your morning routine. Whether it’s a cup of tea or some warm water with lemon or turmeric, it will not only set the stage for an amazing morning, but the tone for your entire day.
You may even find that you like a particular brand or type of water. For example, I decided to start drinking alkaline water after learning of the various health benefits from Marcela Monahan, a successful mother of eight kids and brigadier general in the Marine Corps. I now order cases of alkaline water. Every time I open up a case that arrives on my doorstep, I’m reminded of my goal and take a drink right there.
I suggest starting with this healthy and relatively painless habit. Then you’ll be ready to continue creating a life that is highly successful in all areas.
Habit #2: Plan each day in advance
I recently had the opportunity to interview successful military spouse and virtual assistant, Melissa St. Clair. She told me that, as an expert on organization, she swears by evening planning. Every night, she creates her to do list for the next day, putting at least one “urgent and important” task early in the day. I love that she intuitively implements the idea of “eating the big frog”—tackling a major task first thing to get the momentum going.
Success experts explain that planning in the evening can be even better than planning in the morning. Because the timing of scheduling at night makes it impossible to get many activities started right away, your subconscious can begin working on the tasks mentally before you take action. This process also helps you put some classic Steven Covey “important, non-urgent” tasks on your to-do list rather than letting the stressors of the day get in the way.
As one of my first tasks with new coaching clients, I ask them to come up with good planning habits. Some also try to tackle one small, medium, and large action connected to their goal each day. Still others prefer to use their intuition as their guide—planning out their days based on current moods each morning.
Rather than focusing on the particulars, just try to make sure that planning your schedule in advance makes it onto your list of priorities. It’s a healthy habit that helps maintain balance between work, play, and life as a military spouse mom.
Habit #3: Write it down to make it happen
If you follow me on social media, you’ve likely heard me mention my passion for getting ambitions onto paper. Many of you know that starting each day with journaling is a key part of my daily routine. Something powerful happens when you write down what you’re grateful for and what your dreams are. It’s like a signal to the universe that you’re ready for more. I also try to write out my good ideas so that I can use them later on, instead of just forgetting them as I go through my busy day!
Some successful military spouse moms like Katherine Coule, a blogger for Rocky Roads and Rainbows, write daily in a gratitude journal. In it, they can reflect on blessings, even during deployments, relocations, and other difficult times. This helps them keep a positive mindset while appreciating even the small things.
Military spouse mom and business owner Lauren Lomsdale honed her writing habit to an art. She religiously relies on her planner, her Google calendar, and reminders to keep on top of busy days. As a work-at-home mom, she writes down her timeline for work and parenting tasks. She also designates themes for certain days of the week. For example, she might get on top of various projects by scheduling a Marketing Monday, Technical Editing Tuesday, or Web Design Wednesday.
I’ve found that creating workday themes helps a lot of spouses prioritize various areas of their lives and make progress. They get less sidetracked and are able to focus in on their short- and long-term goals. So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, grab a journal, the notes app on your phone, or a dry erase pen and get those thoughts down. Once you have them committed to writing, you can really start making them happen!
Habit #4: Engage in active reading
Reading is one of the best habits that I’ve developed in my life. I read to my kids before bed and spend most evenings after they’re asleep with a book or e-reader in hand. This habit keeps me away from less useful activities, such as watching television or zoning out on electronics. I especially love novels, coaching books, and texts surrounding areas where I’m trying to grow or find solutions.
For example, when my husband and I faced infertility, I read every book I could get my hands on. Instead of letting this and other problems control me, I learn all that I can on stressful subjects to make informed decisions. So many of my clients have found success by adopting this habit. One client said, instead of stressing about her new business, she goes to the library and reads marketing books. This practice relieves her anxiety while making her more confident to face her future.
Once you make reading a habit, it’s really hard to go back to wasting time with less meaningful tasks. Try shutting off your television for a couple of weeks and check out a few books that reflect your goals in terms of health, wealth, and relationships. Ask successful military spouse moms to share their favorite books or check out texts written by people you admire. I promise, after embracing this new habit, success is sure to follow!
Habit #5: Set habits that fit your unique needs
If you feel stuck, try these habits out. Or, if they don’t fit your current needs, create a list of routines to set the stage for success. This will inspire you to tackle your goals. Share your own tips in the comments section below—what habits work or don’t work for you?
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