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NEWS | Jan. 29, 2010

Are you prepared to weather the storm?

By Senior Master Sgt. Miriam Riegler 316th Contracting Squadron first sergeant

We are now in February and by now you have either kept your New Year's resolution or you have already dropped it; let's hope you have kept your promise. It is difficult to stay focused on resolutions, such as saving money, enrolling in a higher education program, or starting a new fitness program. We always seem to encounter challenges and obstacles that keep us from meeting our goals, but what can you do to better prepare yourself to ride out any storm life brings your way?

In the military, we conduct exercises to train and test our emergency plans in the event of any contingency; so, why not use the same approach with our personal lives? Living a well-balanced lifestyle will help us endure any challenges we face.

During inclement weather, aircraft are usually tied down for security and stability with four ropes, which keeps them from rolling and colliding with buildings or other aircraft. Using the aircraft analogy, I suggest having four "life-lines" that will secure a well-balanced lifestyle. What you need to do is no secret; you just have to practice it daily.

Be physically fit. Enjoy a healthy lifestyle that includes commitment to a strong fitness program (working out three to five times per week) and a well-balanced diet. This helps to ensure less trips to the doctor and maintaining a fit body all year will help you pass your biannual physical training test. Having a great personal appearance enhances your self-confidence, gives you a positive self-image and sets a good example for others to follow.

Be passionate. Being passionate about anything sets your mind to accomplish and exceed expectations, especially your own. Set goals, personal and professional, short and long term, but make them attainable so you can succeed. Meeting goals while surpassing standards can bring rewards such as recognition (tangible and intangible), monetary or even recommendations for higher positions. In the end, you will earn bigger rewards, such as improved self-esteem, which will help make you an overall happy person.

Practice a healthy social lifestyle. Whether at home or at the office, work toward having great relationships and manage to have fun. Don't neglect your family, for they are your number one fans and biggest supporters in all you do. The following "Eight Keys to Military Family Success" can help you strengthen your family ties:

1. Involvement - show interest in one another's lives. Stay in touch when on a temporary assignment or deployment.

2. Respect - Accept differences of opinion without being judgmental.

3. Encouragement - Support each other and be good listeners, promote understanding and self-worth.

4. Services - Take advantage of all programs the Air Force provides - visit the A&FRC and all 316th Force Support Squadron facilities; they have lots to offer.

5. Time - Share meals, do household chores and enjoy recreational activities as a family.

6. Share - Involve all family members in responsibilities and decisions affecting family life.

7. Readiness - Devise a family plan to help you with deployments and other changes common to military life.

8. Pride - Celebrate one another's successes. Encourage all family members to be their best.

Now, if you are not at home, it is highly likely you will be at the office. At a minimum, you spend eight to 10 hours daily at work, so it is critical that you establish good rapport and relationships with your colleagues - after all, they are your second family. Furthermore, involvement at the squadron, group and wing level events will help you gain a sense of belonging within the organization and will solidify professional bonds. Healthy professional relationships will make for an enjoyable work environment, yield productive employees, guarantees employment and financial stability. Communication at home and at work is essential to any healthy and successful lifestyle.

Practice a spiritual way of living. Having faith in a higher power who is in control can yield a sense of purpose and meaning to your life and will give you direction. As you know, things do not always go your way, but no matter how bad the situation gets, never lose hope. Faith, prayers, support groups, family and friends will get you through any and all tough situations.

As storms come your way, they may shake you up and potentially break one of your life-lines, but get yourself together and tighten up that life-line before it affects any of your other life-lines, throws you off track and causes havoc in your life. Remember to always keep your aircraft tied down; weather can be unpredictable and we must be prepared to weather all storms. Are you up for the challenge to meet your goals?