Happy New Year! I hope you rang in 2015 in style. With the new year starting people have been asking me what my new years resolutions are going to be. Rather than giving the typical answer of going to the gym/being healthier/improving habits, etc. I started to think, “What could I resolve to do to increase my level of preparedness?”
New Years Resolutions For Preppers
It turns out there are LOTS of things I can do and I was wondering if anyone else was in a similar situation, trying to look at 2015 and see what their prepping related goals should be. If you are one of these people, I have put together a list of my Top 10 Prepping Resolutions to help you along. You can find them below and where I thought it would be useful, I have included a link to a related article to help you accomplish your goals:
1. Make/Revise Your Bug Out Plan
Having a bug out plan laid out before a disaster strikes is the single most effective way of improving your chances of survival. Otherwise you are just reacting randomly and following the herd. Making a plan does not need to be complicated – I even created a FREE template for making your custom Bug Out Plan that you can download and fill out here. You can make one in under an hour. Once you have made your plan be sure to discuss it with whoever you plan on bugging out with and if feasible, practice executing it.
If you already have your bug out plan in place, firstly: AWESOME WORK! Secondly, it is a smart idea to review it periodically and adjust it as your needs and potential threats change. Pull it out and take a good look at it. Do you need to make any adjustments? Are you bugging out with different people now than when you made it? You may not to make any changes at all but you won’t know until you give it a good review.
2. Take Your Bug Out Bag For A Test Run
If you have your bug out bag packed and ready to go, GREAT JOB! You have taken the first steps towards being prepared. It is wise to periodically take it out for a test hike to make sure it is still manageable. You may need to carry it for DAYS on end, so if you aren’t able to comfortably carry it for a few hours, you may need to make some adjustments.
Learn this lesson now, before an emergency happens. Take your bug out bag out for a hike over varying terrain to test its weight, fit, and balance as well as your own ability to carry it. Make adjustments as needed, this may mean lightening the load or just shifting items around to improve how the bag sits.
You will be grateful you did this if you ever have to carry it for an extended period. Check out this article here for tips on packing and loading your bug out bag for comfort and mobility.
3. Assess Your Daily Needs & Make Your Every Day Carry (EDC) Kit
Having your bug out bag at home is great but what do you do to make sure you are ready to overcome life’s unexpected challenges when you are away from the house? Having an Every Day Carry (EDC) kit on hand will make sure you are able to easily tackle both frequently occurring problems in your life as well as those outlying bigger challenges that may strike.
The first step is to assess your personal needs and likely threats. Do you have a frequently occurring problem that would be made easier with a tool on hand? Do you often have to deal with low light conditions or other environmental challenges? Review your needs and see if there are any small, compact tools that you can put together into an EDC kit to keep in a pocket, purse, or backpack so they are always on hand. Here is an article I wrote about assessing your challenges and making your first EDC kit, which should make this easy for you to accomplish in under an hour.
“Many people look forward to the New Year for a new start on old habits.”
4. Build A Badass Bug Out First Aid Kit
If you are ever in the unfortunate situation where you are forced to evacuate from an unsafe situation for an extended period, the question of someone in your party getting injured is more “when” than “if”. Being prepared with both the first aid skills and proper supplies can make the difference between quickly patching them up and moving or bogging your team down for an unknown quantity of time.
When minutes are critical, getting slowed down by an injury can be deadly. There are lots of ready made first aid kits out there, some good and some bad. If you want to be sure that the kit you are packing in your bug out bag will meet your needs, it is best to pack it yourself. In my article on making your bug out first aid kit (click here to read it), I recommend focusing on the most likely and impactful of injuries:
- Trauma Injuries – Those that frequently result in a large loss of blood and are far beyond simple scrapes and cuts. These can be the result of a fall, car accident, or violence.
- Mobility Injuries – This can be considered anything that impairs your ability to move at your optimal speed. It may be a sprained ankle, injured back, or twisted knee.
Prioritizing these types of injuries will maximize your chances of keeping your group moving to safety. In the article (see it here) I also include a free downloadable checklist to use when stocking your first aid kit.
5. Talk To Your Friends & Family About Getting Prepared Together
It is possible (and in some cases easier) to prepare on your own. However, anyone who has done this for a while will also tell you that prepping alone can be a slog. There is so much to think of and do. This is compounded if you have taken on the responsibility of prepping for your entire family.
Take the opportunity to sit down with your family, friends, or whoever else there is that you plan on bugging out or bugging in with and have an informal chat about what you have been doing, what you want to accomplish in 2015 and how they can become involved to help themselves.
These conversations can be awkward and I am not going to lie, they will not always go the way we want. However, opening up the dialogue can go a long way in getting the people around you to understand your perspective and at least gain an appreciation of WHY you choose to spend your free time looking to the future and setting down plans to make sure you are in a position to thrive. With any luck, you will be able to recruit some helpers to make the work go faster!
6. Master Your Basic Survival Skills
There is no better way to improve your chances of survival than by learning new skills and honing your existing ones. There are the basic skills:
These should be in the arsenal of EVERY prepper. You can’t consider yourself prepared without knowing the basics of those 4 (our article here covers the fundamentals).
Bushcraft is an even more refined discipline of outdoor skills and advanced preppers also aim to master this skill set. There are many elements of bushcraft that encompass the basic skills and take them to the next level, making the great outdoors itself a tool. For more info about getting started in bushcraft click here.
“Character is the ability to carry out a good resolution long after the excitement of the moment has passed.”
– Cavett Robert
7. Reduce Your Bug Out Bag’s Weight By 10%
When packing your BOB it is easy to get carried away packing everything including the kitchen sink. There are just so many possible problems and a near infinite amount of gear to choose from.
Nearly all of us could be well served by taking periodic looks at our bug out bag and seeing what we can either do away with or combine into a multi-purpose tool to save weight and space.
10% is a good starting point but if you can reduce your bag’s weight by even more, you are on the right track. For tips on adding multi-purpose tools to your bug out bag, check out this article here.
8. Improve Your Physical Ability To Bug Out
Unless you are regularly running triathlons, this is an area where we can all use some improvement. The better physical shape you are in, the easier an evacuation will be for you. In addition, more fit people are able to provide more physical support to their bug out team or family.
If you haven’t exercised in a while, start off slowly to avoid injury. Keep at it and work up to being able to carry your bug out bag over long distances. Here is a helpful article from Backpacker.com about types of excercises to try out to improve your functional strength and endurance.
“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.”
– Abraham Lincoln
9. Help 1 Person You Know Get More Prepared
You may know a friend, relative, or neighbor that wants to get prepared but just does not know how to get started. Take them under your wing and help them get off the ground. It may mean teaching them a basic skill, helping them get their bug out bag together, or having them over next time you are working on a prepper project.
Getting your community as a whole more prepared is a fantastic goal that will pay dividends the next time a disaster strikes, it may be the person who you helped get started that lends you a hand when you are in need. If they are looking for a basic resource to learn about getting started prepping, you can point them to this article here.
10. Take Action And Follow Through!
Even the best intentions are useless if you do not follow them up with actions. If you make any of these resolutions or another one that you come up with, BE SURE TO FOLLOW THROUGH. Preparedness is a long journey of constant improvement, no matter what you have done in the past, there are always more skills to learn and more tools to master.
I know that it can be easy to get excited at the beginning and then lose steam as life gets in the way – look at any gym on January 1 and then again in February. To help you follow through with your prepping goals I want to offer my help. If you want to commit to a preparedness related New Years resolution, email what your goal is to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do this and I will personally follow up with you to keep you on track.
That’s right, I will personally email you to help keep you focused and if need be, help overcome any stumbling blocks that hold you up along the way. This is my personal New Year’s resolution, and I look forward to following it through!
Do you have a preparedness New Year’s resolution that you are willing to share? Is there one that you have accomplished in the past that you want to inspire us with? Please let us know in the Comments Section below, thanks!