Totally achievable New Year’s resolutions for vets who’ve been out of the military for a while

Happy New Year!
Adam Linehan Avatar
soldiers firing 120 in syria
U.S. Army Soldiers, with Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, fire illumination rounds from a 120mm Mortar during base defense live fire training in the Central Command (CENTCOM) area of responsibility, Mar. 16, 2021. The Soldiers are in Syria to support the Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR) mission. The CJTF remains committed to working by, with, and through our partners to ensure the enduring defeat of Daesh. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Torrance Saunders)

Getting out of the military is like being born again, except this time you’re not a baby. You’ve got money, and skills, and muscles. The world is your oyster! Maybe you plan on using your newfound freedom to write the great American novel, or summit Mount Kilimanjaro, or learn Spanish. But first, you need to have some fun. You’ve earned it.

Sometimes that fun lasts a little longer than you thought it would — weeks turn into months, which turn into years, until suddenly you wake up one day and you’re 50 lbs overweight and, dammit, you’ve lost your shoes again. You think, how did this happen? It doesn’t matter. There’s no point in dwelling on what could’ve, would’ve, and should’ve been. You have to focus on the future — and there’s no better time to start turning your life around than next year, after all the eggnog and leftovers are gone.

But if your list of New Year’s resolutions includes stuff like running marathons and washboard abs, chances are you’ll just let yourself down. Fuck that. Would you rather the next year be a complete and total success? Use this fail-proof list instead.

1. Complete a pushup

Remember pushups? You did a lot of them in the military. Do one this year. And no cheating! Go all the way down, and all the way up. Then stop. Don’t try doing any more than that, or you’ll risk discovering that you can, in fact, do only one pushup. That would be very depressing and defeat the entire point of this simple confidence-boosting exercise.

2. Shave, sometimes

A beard is a great way to conceal a face that’s practically bursting at the seams from years of too much Coors Light and Arby’s horsey sauce, but they’re also itchy and require a lot of maintenance. Sometimes they even smell like wet gerbils. This year, treat yourself to a shave every once in awhile. That special someone in your life will thank you.

3. Get a haircut

If you’re going to shave off your beard, you might as well get a haircut. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy — a $10 trim will suffice. Once you’ve done this, take your new ‘do for a spin so you can expose your scalp to as much nutrient-rich sunlight as possible before it goes into hibernation again. Also, be sure to take a selfie and upload it to Facebook to trick people you haven’t seen in a long time into thinking that you’ve still got your shit together.

4. Drink water

Water isn’t nearly as delicious as, say, a 32 oz Big Gulp of Mountain Dew — and, sadly, doesn’t get you drunk — but it is the primary source of life on Earth. Be sure to drink some of it this year, especially when you’re thirsty, or if your urine is often the color of hot molasses. This will help you feel less like shit — and, ultimately, keep you from dying of dehydration, which is an inglorious death.

5. Learn to salsa

There’s been a lot of talk of revolution lately. But trying to overthrow the government is for the birds. Why not join the dance revolution instead? A spicy blend of Caribbean dance moves and intoxicating rhythms, salsa is great exercise and therapeutic for the soul. And who knows, maybe one day you’ll find yourself twirling into the arms of your dream girl (or guy).