New Year’s Day is upon us, time to kick back, relax, get over your hangover from New Year’s Eve and of course, partake of that great American tradition… making New Year’s resolutions. I’ve always thought of those as somewhat of a joke, considering that most of us don’t make it past a week, without breaking them. But, there are a few who actually make New Year’s resolutions and then have the self-discipline to carry through with them.
I guess in a way that’s what New Year’s resolutions are, a test of our self-discipline. After all, if we can’t commit to do something that’s beneficial to ourselves and follow through with it, how are we going to ever keep a promise to anyone else? Besides, how are you going to survive if you don’t have any self-discipline? If there was anything that required self-discipline, it’s survival.
Let me tell you a secret. I’m not sure if this works with everyone, but it works with me. That is, tell someone else your resolutions; someone who is close to you, who’s opinion matters to you. I use my wife for this, but you might have a close friend that you can use. Let them know and ask them to keep you accountable to your resolution.
You see, when we tell someone else, we’ve made much more of a commitment than just telling ourselves. Now there’s someone else who knows. We can no longer tell ourselves that we really didn’t commit to it. Not only that, but we know that breaking our commitment will make us look bad to them.
New Year’s Resolutions Just for Preppers
So, since we’re all preppers, why not use this quaint custom of New Year’s resolutions to help ourselves prep better in the coming year. Let’s make some prepping and survival resolutions, so that when the New Year is over, we’re better prepared than we are today. Here are a few ideas for you:
Learn a new survival skill
New years provide a new opportunity to learn new skills. I’m not talking about some little piddly skill, like learning a new way to start a fire; I’m talking about a major skill set, like learning enough medical skills to serve as your survival team’s medic, or learning blacksmithing. Something that will take some time and effort on your part, but also provide a real benefit to your family or survival team, when the time comes.
Get in shape
Let’s be honest, most of us aren’t in as good a shape as we should be. We’re a little overweight; we haven’t been hitting the gym like we should; and if we have to walk ten miles on a bug out, carrying a pack, it’ll probably kill us.
Physical fitness is an important part of surviving. So, shed those extra pounds and build up your stamina. If you can’t split firewood for half an hour, without a break or walk ten miles with a pack on, you’re not there yet. You don’t have to be Arnold Swarzenegger, but you should be better off than Pee Wee Herman.
Increase your survival stockpile by X amount
How much of a stockpile do you have? Is it enough? Probably not; most of us don’t have anywhere near as much as we would like. Well, make a decision now to increase what you’ve got. Pick a number of months worth of food that you want to add to your stockpile and print out a shopping list. As you complete those items, you can check them off your list, showing yourself your progress.
Complete a survival project that you have put off
I’ve got one of these. I started drilling a well this year and never got it finished. Part of that is that I’ve been busy and another part is that we’ve got a lot of clay. So, the drilling rig I’ve been using isn’t powerful enough. But that’s really no excuse. All it means is that I need to come up with a better drilling rig, so that I can finish that project.
What project have you been putting off? Maybe you’re like me and you just got frustrated with it; or maybe you’re not sure you can do it. Well, this next year is a great time to prove yourself wrong and get that project done.
Increase your energy independence by X amount
How far have you moved off the grid? That seems to be a common goal for a lot of preppers these days. Well, you probably can’t do all of it in one year, but you can do some of it. So why not set a goal for how much energy independence you’re going to gain next year? Maybe that will mean adding some solar panels or increasing your battery backup system. It could mean putting in a wind turbine. For that matter, you can gain energy independence by putting in a wood-burning stove as well. Pick something that you think will help you and make it a goal for this coming year.
Teach your family some new skills
It’s great that you learn survival skills, but your family needs to know them as well. What will happen to them if something happens to you? For that matter, if you’re suddenly thrust into a survival situation, are you going to do everything, while they sit on their hands? Better that everyone in your family has skills, so that you can all work together to survive. Even children can learn useful skills that will help.
Improve your shooting
Everyone needs this one. Set yourself a goal for how much better you are going to be able to shoot by the end of the year and then go to the range regularly to work on it. That difference could be dropping a four inch group down to a two inch group. Another way to look at it is to start tactical shooting at your local range. That way, you can learn skills like shooting while moving and shooting in low light. There is always plenty of room for improvement, so you may as well set yourself a goal and start working on it.
Develop a complete bug out plan
Many people have a partial bug out plan, but they haven’t really finished it. Your family will be a whole lot better off if you have a complete plan, especially the part about where you are going to go and how you will survive when you get there. Don’t let yourself be one of those people on the road, without a real destination. Finish that plan this year and put the things you need in place, in order to be able to put it into effect.
Start a vegetable garden
It takes at least a year to get the soil for your garden working well. So, if you wait until you need a vegetable garden, it’ll be too late. You’re better off starting now, so that when you need it, it’s ready to go. Besides, you probably need some time to learn how to get the most out of your vegetable garden, so starting now will give you the opportunity to have a much better garden in the long run.
Take the time to do it right. Build raised beds and put in underground irrigation. Everything you can do to make it so that it will be easier to use your garden when the time comes is worth doing. Labor savings methods and devices can be a godsend, when a survival situation arrives.
Start raising chickens
If you’ve already got a garden going, maybe you should add some protein to your gardening efforts, by raising chicken. You can either raise them for slaughter and eat them or you can raise them for the eggs. Either one will make a great source of protein for your family.
Chickens are fairly easy to raise, and they’ll eat anything, but you’ll need to build a coop for them and learn how to care for them. Just being able to get eggs from your chickens will make it worthwhile, as you’ll have an excellent source of protein, that doesn’t take much work to keep going.
Improve your situational awareness
Situational awareness is knowing what’s going on around you. It’s a very important survival skill, especially when faced by armed two-legged predators. It doesn’t matter if those predators are part of an angry rioting mob or they are sneaking through the woods. Increasing your situational awareness will help you to avoid ending up in a dangerous confrontation.
There are two parts of this. First of all, there’s noticing what’s going on around you. That means keeping your head on a swivel and really looking at the other people you see. The second part is being aware of the news, both locally and nationally. If a major disaster strikes, knowing about it as soon as possible may be the most important single factor in surviving it.