By Danielle DeSimone
It’s almost 2023, and as the saying goes – “new year, new me.”
New Year’s resolutions are always a fun opportunity to improve your life and tackle new goals in the coming year. But for proud military supporters, 2023 resolutions are also a chance to give back to the U.S. military and their families.
Excited to learn how to simultaneously improve your life and the lives of the American military community? Here are 5 New Year’s resolutions for military supporters in 2023.
1. Practice mindfulness by always remembering the sacrifices made by service members and military families
Many people who make New Year’s resolutions do so with the goal of practicing mindfulness in the following year, so they can be more considerate and intentional in their thoughts and actions.
And what better way to be more thoughtful than to take the time to think of our nation’s service members and their military families?
Studies show that 81% of military community members feel that civilians in their local community do not truly understand the sacrifices made by military families. It can be difficult to persevere through constant moves to new cities and countries, long deployments, separation from loved ones and the dangers of daily military missions without the support of your surrounding community.
This upcoming year, let’s work harder to always keep our military community front-of-mind. Remember that the day-to-day lives of service members, military spouses and military children can be challenging in ways that civilians may never fully understand, and that they are undertaking great sacrifices to ensure our freedoms.
In doing so, we can take stock of all we have to be grateful for, thanks to our military, and we can be better prepared to support them in times of need.
2. Improve your health by giving back to the military
As the New Year approaches, everyone is discussing what new healthy eating habits they’ll adopt and their new workout regimens they plan on tackling January 1st. But did you know that you could improve your physical health simply by supporting the U.S. military?
Studies show that people who offered social support to others in their network and gave back to charities had lower overall blood and arterial pressure than those who were less generous with their time and money.
Similarly, a study by Carnegie Mellon University found that adults over the age of 50 who volunteered at least four hours per week – reaching 200 hours or more in one year – were 40% less likely to develop high blood pressure than their peers.
And another study discovered that participants who regularly volunteered were “at a lower risk for mortality four years later.”
In other words, the more you give back to those around you, the longer you may live.
By supporting members of the military community – whether it be through a straightforward donation to a military support organization such as the USO, volunteering with the military, or simply being an outspoken military supporter, you could lead a more fulfilling and healthier lifestyle.
All while helping our nation’s service members and military families!
3. Boost your mental health by volunteering with the USO
Another common New Year’s resolution is to improve your mental health and outlook on life. And what better way to do that than by giving back to others?
Fun fact: According to behavioral economics and psychology studies at Duke University, if you receive generosity from others, you may experience short-term happiness, but if you are the generous one doing a good deed for someone else, you are more likely to experience long-term happiness, and to a much greater degree.
Research also shows that oxytocin, the neurotransmitter that regulates social interaction, increases in some people who regularly volunteer, which can improve their overall mental health.
And it’s even been suggested that people who give to charitable causes are happier than those who don’t, with generous participants showing “greater life satisfaction.”
In other words, treat yo’ self and be happy for a day, but give back to others, and you’ll be treating yourself (and the people around you) to even more happiness for a longer period of time.
Volunteering for a military support organization such as the USO is a great way to do just that.
USO volunteers are a crucial part of our organization’s mission – without them, we would not be able to offer support to all six branches of our nation’s military at more than 250 USO locations around the globe. From helping host USO events that boost military morale to supporting service members and military families during the emotional process of a dignified transfer and more, USO volunteers help keep America’s service members and military families connected to everything that gives meaning to their service.
Learn more about how you can volunteer at your local USO center by clicking here.
4. Learn something new about the military community
Many people enter a new year with the goal of learning something new – whether that be a new skill, a new language or a new musical instrument, the options are endless.
Military supporters can commit themselves to learning more about their military community – and especially the unique challenges they face, and why it’s important to support the military.
Dig into the difficulties military spouses face while trying to pursue a career on the move, duty station to duty station. Learn how milspouses embrace their signature “can-do” attitude to lift each other up as a community.
Dive deeper into the concerning trends of military suicide and military mental health challenges, and how the USO is trying to help. Learn how our troops are overcoming challenges and supporting each other in difficult times.
Or even just reach out to a service member, military spouse, or military family in your community and ask them about their life. Take the time to listen and learn about their experiences.
In doing so, you may learn so much more about the challenges and triumphs of our nation’s military community – just ordinary people, doing extraordinary things.
5. Be an outspoken advocate by voicing your support for our U.S. service members and military families
Actions speak louder than words, but words can have an impact, too. As a military supporter, one of your 2023 resolutions can be to voice your support of America’s service members and military families. Express your gratitude for their service and sacrifices. Share what you personally are doing to support the troops and their families in a tangible way.
Who knows? Sharing your support of the military may inspire others to do the same, either by contributing to military support organizations such as the USO – which assists active-duty, Reserve and Guard members and military families around the world – or reaching out to lend a hand to members of their own local military community, or even just sharing stories of their own support of the military.
Your words can make a difference. And especially when shared with military members themselves.
67% of service members and miliary families feel that their civilian communities do not truly appreciate the sacrifices made by military families. And while you may not be able to fully understand the challenges they face unless you yourself are a veteran or a member of a military family, we can certainly show that we appreciate them.
So don’t just voice support among your civilian community – reach out to those in your local military community as well.
Thank a service member for the work they do. Tell them how much you appreciate the time they spend away from their loved ones, the risks they take to complete their missions. Ask a military spouse if they need help during their service member’s deployment, or assistance finding a new job at their next duty station. Acknowledge that the life they lead can be dangerous and difficult, but that their sacrifices are not in vain.
Every day, they are protecting American citizens and our way of life – and in 2023, we will be making sure that they know we are eternally grateful for their service.
More Stories Like This
Why Is It Important to Support the Military?
As military supporters, we know that we support our nation’s military – but why is it so crucial to make sure service members and military families have the help they need to carry through their challenging lives and duties? Here are five reasons why it’s important to support the military.
5 Ways the USO Supports Military Spouses
Known as “the backbone of the military,” military spouses are crucial members of our nation’s military community. The USO is committed to supporting not only service members throughout their time in service, but also their military families. Here are 5 ways the USO supports military spouses.
What is a Military Support Organization?
There are many military support organizations, military charities and veteran service organizations out there, but it can sometimes be difficult to understand what each one does. Find out what a military support organization like the USO does and how we assist service members and military families.
More from the USO
Sep 26, 2023
Cesar Millan Announces the First-Ever USO Canine Volunteer of the Year
Watch Cesar Millan announce and congratulate the 2023 USO Canine Volunteer of the Year. These certified therapy dogs provide support to the people who serve and their military families at several of the 250+ USO Centers around the globe.
Sep 25, 2023
On the First Day of Basic Training, Coast Guard Recruits Can Turn to the USO for Support
Every Tuesday at Philadelphia International Airport, Coast Guard recruits heading to Cape May for basic training know they can turn to the USO to be there with them through every step of their military service -- including that very first day.