Leveraging USAF Doctrine for Civilian New Year’s Resolutions Planning

a New Year’s Planning Concept by Dr. Lydia Kostopoulos @LKCYBER

[A special thank you to Andy Emslie for his feedback on this piece.]

Some call military planning an art form. There is something remarkably satisfying about the clarity in military doctrine which I think can also be useful in civilian applications. As 2020 marks not just the beginning of a new year but a new decade, I have made a new years resolution planning concept using the U.S. Air Force’s Air Operations Directive (AOD) template as a fun exercise to think about the decade ahead. Also a useful thought exercise for businesses alike.

This article unpacks the USAF doctrine as it relates to civilian new year’s resolution planning. You can find the downloadable document on SlideShare.

USAF doctrine is on the left, with a modified civilian New Year’s Resolution minded version on the right. Below each part is an example of Person X who used this to plan his New Year’s Resolutions. I hope this inspires you to think about your resolutions and goals for the decade!

Person X:
a. Situation: I am currently overweight and I don’t feel confident about myself when I am in a swimming suit. I have a beach vacation planned for August and I want to meet and make new friends as well as play and run on the beach.
(1) Intent: I want to feel confident and good about my body in time for the beach vacation in August.
(2) Execution Guidance: I will feel good about my body no later than August, I will do it in a healthy and productive manner where I boost my confidence and feel ready to make friends.
(3) Supported: My friend Danny has a great physique, he lifts weights, eats healthy and is confident.
Supporting: My partner and my two children can help me with encouragement and not bringing unhealthy habits into the house.

b. Enemy situation: I love eating out, drinking beer and eating cookies. I also have a relatively stagnant lifestyle with my desk job.

c. Friendly situation: I have access to dieting books, a world class gym and friends who want to see me feel good about myself.

Person X:
Mission: I will feel good about my body by August so that I am confident and ready to make friends for the beach vacation to Florida.

Person X:
a. Intent: Feel good about my body and be confident and ready for the beach vacation in Florida.
(1) Purpose: In order to meet the intent of feeling good about my body and being confident and ready for the beach vacation to Florida I will eat a healthy diet, lift weights at the gym, and I will start a running program.
(2) End-State: By August I will feel good about my body with a physique to include flat abs, muscular arms and shoulders as well as the ability to run and play on the beach. This will help my confidence because I will be proud of myself and that will help me make friends.

b. Execution
- Resolution 1: Starting 1 January and continuing through December I will follow the diet laid out in The Lose Your Belly Diet: Change Your Gut, Change Your Life. By Travis Stork, Ghost Mountain Books (2014)
- Resolution 2: Starting 1 January and continuing through August I will follow the JEFIT app, Beach Ready Summer Body program and workout at the gym three days per week.
- Resolution 3: Starting 1 March and continuing through program end I will complete the Couch to 5K 9-week program and be able to run a 5k road race at the end of May.

c. Focus of Effort
- Resolution 1 will require following suggestions and recipes laid out in the diet book and the associated support material as well as changing my shopping habits. I will only have cheat days as directed by the program.
- Resolution 2 will require a gym membership and doing the exercises and suggested weights in the JEFIT app as well as staying on schedule for gym days.
- Resolution 3 will require purchasing the C25K book and mobile app and following the program verbatim so I will finish in time. I will start in March because I want to run outside to mimic the conditions of the 5k race in May.

d. Weight by Effort by Resolution
- Resolution 1 will be my highest weight of effort, abs are made in the kitchen, the other two resolutions will make me stronger and faster but only the diet will get me the flat abs.
- Resolution 2 will be my second weight of effort. A good weight routine will require dedicated scheduling to allow time for the gym as well as money for a gym membership.
- Resolution 3 will be my lowest weight of effort. While this is important to me, running the race is secondary to being able to run and play on the beach. As long as I complete the program and can run, the race is an additional benefit.

e. Acceptable Level of Risk
I will accept a low level of risk to meet my resolutions this year. Low risk means high priority to make them happen. Between now and August I will have two business trips and those are the only two weeks I will take away from my diet. Baring injury or sickness I will stick to my fitness routines.

f. Collateral Damage Guidance
As well as sticking to my diet I will have to cut out beer during the week, to include Fridays. This will mean I will not be able to continue my other hobby of trying a new six pack of beer each week from the World of Beer Store I have been frequenting lately. I will also have to workout at the gym in the mornings so that will mean earlier bed times and fewer late-night sitcoms with my partner.

g. Time Sensitive Target (TST) Guidance
When offered and when they fit my schedule, I will take cooking classes at the local food emporium, I will sign up for sessions with a physical trainer, and I will run shorter races as I find them.

h. Other issues:
None that I can think of at this moment.

Person X
I will need to coordinate with my partner on the best times to work out and do my share of the household chores and taking care of the kids.

Person X
Accountability for each resolution:

  • Resolution 1: I will keep a food journal of everything I cook and eat. The journal will be informal in that I do not have to track calories but rather just what I choose to eat and how it made me feel. I will share this journal with my partner so she can help me make better diet choices.
  • Resolution 2: I will log every workout and the amount of weight I lifted inside the JEFIT app on my phone. I will review my progress weekly and use the JEFIT community to keep me motivated.
  • Resolution 3: I will log my C25K runs on the phone on my app. I will also do the runs with my running buddy Danny since he wants to do the race in May also.

Person X did not use annexes when using this template for the New Year’s Resolution planning.

More information on Measures of Performance (MOP) and Measures of Effectiveness (MOE) can be found here.

Dr. Lydia Kostopoulos (@Lkcyber) is a Strategy and Innovation Advisor who loves to experiment and push the bounds of the possible. She helps her clients posture themselves to make the most of new technologies in the context of changing and emerging trends. She is currently conducting strategic research on technology and the future operating environment for the J5 at the U.S. Special Operations Command. She addressed the United Nations member states at the CCW GGE meeting on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS) and keynotes at technology and national security conferences. She speaks and writes on disruptive technology convergence, innovation, tech ethics, and national security. In efforts to raise awareness on AI and ethics she makes reflectional art #ArtAboutAI, and made a game about emerging technology and ethics called Sapien2.0 .

You can find her on Twitter, Instagram or Linkedin, for more about her projects check out her site.

Experimenter | Strategy & Innovation | Emerging Tech | National Security | Wellness Advocate | Story-telling Fashion | Art #ArtAboutAI → www.Lkcyber.com