You know the drill when a new year begins: everyone around you makes ambitious resolutions to exercise more, eat less junk, lose weight and build wealth. But by February, so many of those resolutions have fallen to the wayside. So this year, let’s do something different. As Women Veterans, let’s forget New Years Resolutions – instead, let’s set goals in 2024 that are specifically, smartly designed just for us.
Priorities for Women Veterans
Why do so many New Years Resolutions fall by the wayside? Often it’s because we don’t understand our “why,” or maybe the resolution itself is unrealistic or too big. So, let’s begin by thinking honestly about our unique needs as Women Veterans. Then, we can prioritize effectively and set realistic goals.
By and large, Women Veterans face unique challenges that impact our mental health, professional growth, community network, financial health, and physical health. Research shows – and most of us would agree – that if we can address these key areas, our post-military success will drastically change – for the better!
So let’s prioritize one or more of these areas in 2024. Consider your own personal needs – which one of these areas is calling your name? Lean into that, and let it be the foundation upon which you build habits to reach goals in 2024.
Prioritize Mental Well-Being
Startling numbers of Women Veterans struggle with mental health distress. Depression, PTSD, chronic stress, or difficulties resulting from Military Sexual Trauma impact incredible numbers of Women Veterans. Making your mental health a priority in 2024 isn’t just a smart thing to do – it’s absolutely essential.
How to do it: VA offers specialized mental health care just for Women Veterans. Counseling, inpatient and outpatient treatment, and targeted services for particular forms of mental health distress are all available to you.
Plus, VA also offers mindfulness resources, to help you develop naturally calming practices. Mindfulness practices can mitigate stress, anxiety, and post-military challenges. You can access mindfulness education through resources at VA, and you can even download the free Mindfulness Coach app to help you practice.
Network for Professional Growth
It’s no secret that, following their transition from the military, Women Veterans experience longer employment gaps than their male counterparts. Furthermore, they commonly earn lower salaries than their male counterparts or take jobs for which they are overqualified. If you find yourself experiencing this, professional networking can be a catalyst for change.
How to do it: Professional networks are instrumental in career development. After an event, follow up with the mentors and peers you met. Keep business cards so you can send emails, call, or connect on LinkedIn to continue conversations or ask questions. Whether it’s a career fair, industry conference, or a local networking event, these gatherings can open doors to career opportunities and valuable insights. As you build these relationships, you’ll expand your network of professionals who understand your experience and skills.
WVIF actively promotes networking through events, connecting Women Veterans with professionals who understand their unique journey. Follow our social channels to learn about the next event!
Engage in Supportive Communities
Research shows that supportive community groups ease transition struggles for Women Veterans. Within supportive communities, Women Veterans feel seen, heard, and honored. Being part of a community that genuinely cares will root you in a compassionate group of women who share your experiences.
How to do it: Find a local or national organization and find out when the next meet-up or event is being held. Take the leap, and sign up! Whether you’re meeting for coffee, participating in an organized outing, or volunteering for a local need, you’ll find a sisterhood of people who care and a sense of belonging to help you feel supported.
WVIF is proud to provide that sisterhood to its vast community. In addition to national events, WVIF also has local chapters that organize their own events and volunteer efforts. If you’re interested in joining us, visit our member page to learn more.
Plan Finances for Ongoing Success
Financial planning is critical to post-military success, and it’s important to review your plans regularly. Many Women Veterans are the sole provider for children, and they face higher rates of homelessness, food insecurity, and financial distress than their male counterparts. Numerous factors contribute to these struggles, but regular financial planning is one strategy to help prevent them.
How to do it: Financial planning can be complicated and confusing. But, multiple resources are available to you through VA.
Access VA resources to learn about planning a budget, managing debt, getting a home loan or even discussing ways to prevent homelessness. There, you can also access a wealth of information and tools to help you review assets and explore avenues of financial assistance.
Access Earned Healthcare Benefits through VA
Regular check-ups, mental health support, and preventive care contribute to overall well-being. Health is wealth! For Women Veterans, accessing earned healthcare benefits through the VA is crucial to your post-military experience. Surprisingly, not even half of Women Veterans are enrolled in VA! These are the benefits that you EARNED through years of service! If you’re not enrolled, make a plan to do so in 2024.
How to do it: Your local VA has a dedicated Women’s health clinic, focused on delivering you tailored healthcare. Plus, VA also operates free programs to acquaint you with the many women-specific resources that they offer. Consider signing up for the Women’s Health Transition Training.
Consider WVIF Your Partner in 2024
Setting and achieving these goals in 2024 is not just a personal triumph; it’s a collective empowerment. WVIF stands as your partner, dedicated to providing the resources, support, and community you need.
Already, WVIF has programs in the works for 2024. Join us now, and we’ll help you make your goals for 2024 a reality.