We hope that all of you had a fantastic, happy and healthy Christmas and New Year. And now that the holidays are over we can, hopefully, get back to somewhat of a normal schedule. As we’re all creatures of habit, to varying degrees. And the New Year is the subject of today’s piece here. Specifically those pesky New Year’s Resolutions. Because we are creatures of habit, every year most Americans seem to make resolutions on New Year’s Eve that by mid-January are already forgotten.
Which begged the question, “Who started New Year’s resolutions?” and are they are a relatively recent phenomenon? If you thought that we came up with it, you’d be in error.
The act of New Year’s resolutions goes all the way back to the ancient Babylonians, about 4000 years ago. Yes, the ancient people of what is now Iraq, about 100 miles or so from Baghdad were the first recorded people to make New Year’s resolutions. Their new year coincided with planting season, which was around mid-March.
The Babylonians would reaffirm their loyalty to the king and then promise the gods to pay their debts and return any objects they had borrowed. If the Babylonians kept to their resolutions the gods would bestow good fortune on them for the coming year. If not, they would fall out of the gods’ favor—judging from how things are in Babylon/Iraq today, it doesn’t appear too many kept their resolutions to their pagan gods.
The Romans too, appear to have celebrated their ritual of New Year’s resolutions. And they can thank Julius Caesar. In between conquering a few countries, Caesar, around 46 B.C. changed the Roman calendar and established January 1 as the beginning of the new year.
January, named for Janus, the two-faced god whose spirit inhabited doorways and arches, the month held a special significance for the Romans. They believed that Janus would look back into the previous year and ahead into the future. So they would offer sacrifices to Janus to have good fortune in the coming year.
Which brings us to the present… C’mon admit it, you’ve made those resolutions and between my time in SF, later as a contractor and here at SpecialOperations.com, we’ve made them and heard a lot more.
Some of the better ones we’ve heard as they relate to joining Special Operations are these, so take note! If you make any of these, write them down and make sure that you follow through with them in 2019:
Being a Volunteer For SOF:
When I was in SF and later as a contractor, I came across many, many good troops who just needed a kick in the right direction. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the following statements: “This is the year, I’m volunteering for SFAS”, or “as soon I come back from this deployment, I’m putting my packet in.” Or the dreaded, “I’m just waiting for the right time … to put in my packet.”
Guys, (and now girls), there is no right “time” to volunteer for SOF, you either will attempt it or not. If you’re waiting until the time is right and conditions are perfect, you’ll be old and gray and your window of opportunity is long gone.
Don’t wait, every day that you delay, that is a day that is forever lost that you can be a member of the greatest fraternity on earth. There will always be distractions, commitments, and things to pull you away from what you want to do. Don’t allow it to happen. Set the goal and stick to it.
“This Week I’m Going to Get Serious About My PT Prep”:
Oh, this is another one I’ve heard so many times, if I had a dime for every time someone said it, I could trade in my Caddy for a new one. Once you submit a packet for Selection and you’ve been accepted, the onus is on you and you alone to get ready. Most units in the military aren’t going to give you time in your normal duty day to prepare. It will have to be done on your own time.
So don’t waste a minute of it. Remember, once you walk in the door at Selection, you are telling the cadre that you’re ready to be assessed. And that’s the wrong time to wish you spent more timing carry a ruck and practicing your rope climbing skills etc.
We post a daily PT prep program here, 7 days a week in a four-month window to help you prepare. We’d encourage you to follow it and you’ll be ready. But if you don’t care for ours, there are several great programs out there that may be more to your liking. Or do your own prep. It doesn’t matter how it gets done as long as its done and done correctly. Train like your future depends on it…it does.
“I Still Have Plenty of Time to Break in Those Second Pair of Boots”:
Ouch! This is another common, often huge mistake. As we’ve stated here in the past, your feet are your lifeline in Special Operations. Next to your brain, your feet are the most important parts of your body when you are in SOF. Treat them right and they’ll carry you for thousands of miles over the course of your career.
Boots wear out, it is a fact of life. You may have a pair that fit like a glove but eventually, those will wear out. What then? If the answer is you planning on putting on a pair that are barely or worse, not even broken in, then you are on the fast track to failure.
This is a no-brainer. Have at least two pairs and optimally three that are as broken in as they can be. Your feet will thank you and you’ll find your Selection experience will not only be less painful but a tad easier as well. Rest assured, your feet will get wet at one point or another in the course. Change them out every day and your socks frequently, as needed.
“I Don’t Have Time For Continuing Education”:
This is another common issue among troops across the board. I was guilty of this one myself. While I was in the military, I signed up for every correspondence course or distance learning the military offered. But it wasn’t until almost half my career was over that I started taking civilian courses whenever the time would allow itself.
Today with the internet in place, even in remote bases overseas, the opportunities are there to take courses often. You won’t always be able to, especially during deployments but your education doesn’t have to stop, and shouldn’t while you’re in the military.
Colleges and universities today are much better at working with military students who are interested in continuing their educations. Take advantage of what’s out there.
So, here we are in 2019, and while the year has just begun, the work never stops and there are “no days off.” Did you make any resolutions this year? I didn’t and haven’t in a few years now. However, if you do, do it right. Write them down, make a plan and then see it through. Make yourself one of the 20 percent. It was posted on social media that up to 80 percent of resolutions made by people have failed by February.
In Special Operations, failure isn’t an option, so ensure that it doesn’t happen.
Let’s all make a resolution to go rucking more in 2019…Who’s ready? Let’s Roll.
Originally published on Special Operations.com
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