A Cadet’s Guide to the New Year

RAF Air Cadets group photo from a Fieldcraft day at Dechmont Range in 2022.

Drink more water. Do more exercise. Eat more greens.

These are a few of the more familiar New Year’s resolutions that we hear every 1st of January as people use the resetting of the calendar to refresh certain areas of their lives.

As a new term begins, many Cadets will be looking back on their activities and achievements of the last twelve months, reflecting on areas of improvement and setting new goals for the year ahead. 

Members of Sea Cadets Leith supporting the Royal Navy as they hosted VIP guests aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia during the 2023 Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo

For those in need of a little extra inspiration, here are Lowland RFCA’s Top Five Tips for setting and smashing your goals in 2024:

Think about your time management – Have there been weeks where you ran late for parade night? Almost missed the bus to Annual Camp? Hit the snooze button one too many times in the morning? When it comes to school, work or life in general, being punctual and managing your time effectively is a useful and valuable asset. It sets you apart as a reliable individual and is a great way to reduce stress. Improving your time management can take a number of forms, depending on what works best for you: setting your alarm fifteen minutes earlier, having your uniform laid out or your kit packed up in advance, keeping a diary with all your appointments, deadlines and Cadet activities set out clearly to keep you on track – the possibilities are endless!

Cadets from Glasgow & Lanarkshire Battalion getting ready in camo cream and ear protectors as part of their Annual Camp activities.

Set realistic expectations for yourself – It can be very tempting to reach for the stars when making your resolutions, only to become frustrated or disappointed when you don’t meet your goals right away. Deciding to take up running in January isn’t likely to have you running marathons by March! Whatever your aims are, a useful first step is to sit down and think about what you’re capable of now, what you’d like to be capable of in the future, what you need to do to achieve that and how long you can commit to it. With careful planning, a consistent approach and fierce determination, there’s no reason you can’t get the promotion, qualification or award that you want.

The Lord-Lieutenant for the City of Glasgow and Lord-Lieutenant's Cadet for 2022, Company Sergeant Major Scott Connor.

Try something new, even if it scares you – As a Cadet, you have access to so many learning opportunities that would be difficult to find elsewhere. Some activities may seem daunting at first glance, but always remember there are other Cadets and adults there to look out for you and guide you. It can be very satisfying and exciting to overcome a challenge that has scared you in the past, and in many cases the skills and resilience you build up from these challenges will help you as you move through life, whether that involves performing First Aid in an emergency or taking on a tight deadline when your schedule is already full.

Sea Cadets out on the water at their 2022 Annual Camp at Boddam

Believe in yourself and in others – Teamwork is an important part of life for Cadets, whether they are taking part in sports, fieldcraft or competitions. To be part of an amazing team, you need to have confidence not only in your teammates, but in yourself as a contributor to your group. Listening to one another’s ideas, sharing knowledge and offering support to less experienced members of the team will do wonders for your personal growth and leadership abilities.

Three Army Cadets from West Lowland Battalion giving a thumbs up to the camera during their 2023 Annual Camp

Have the time of your life! – While there is a strong focus on discipline, training and learning in all branches of the Cadets, it’s important to enjoy your experience as well. Many Cadets who have aged out and returned as instructors and adult volunteers count the fun they had and the friends they made among the reasons they decided to come back, so seize every available chance to have fun and make fantastic memories.

Cadets from West Scotland Wing RAF Air Cadets sitting in an aircraft cockpit at RAF Lossiemouth.

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