I think one of the hardest things, regarding preparedness, is becoming emotionally prepared, and staying the course, not giving up. I feel like I am a fairly prepared person. In my home we have food storage, and all kinds of other preparedness things to make life easier “if” something happens, or “when” something happens, but the one that always stops me in my tracks, is the emotional preparedness when crap happens. I gotta admit, it stopped me again! For the past couple of months, I was stopped in my tracks, emotionally, and even spiritually, it felt like I went into survival mode, but it wasn’t a good survival mode. It was one where life kind of just stopped for a time.
Now, I am most certainly not telling you this, so you can feel sorry for me, because I am all good. I am on the rebound again, but I tell you this, because it is something we all need to understand. Stuff – crap – happens to all of us, and we can think we are prepared emotionally for it, and we think we will be able to keep our motivation moving forward, but reality is……… as I have found time and time again…………. it is darn hard! It is hard to keep wanting to do things, when you are in survival mode. It is hard to do much more than go through the motions every day. You have got to build yourself a firm foundation to stand on, so when the rain and floods build up around you, you will be able to get through.
I have thought of a few things that maybe can help us to keep going, to build our foundation. Things that will help us stay the course when life happens all around us. These will help you figure out your reasons right off the bad, for staying motivated. Is it your children? Your grandchildren? Your spouse? Your own survival? Your faith? Your friend? Your what? Why do you do what you do every day? Why do you care? You need to find this reason, or these reasons, because when you get kicked down hard, and it will happen, why do you care?
The most important one of all, I am going to say, is prayer. I have come to know that God hears prayers. I have always known this, but have seen first hand so many little tender mercies, tender miracles, to know that He hears every prayer. Never doubt this. It is really hard sometimes to want to pray, especially when you are angry, or sad, but do it anyway, and you will see little miracles happen all around you.
Now for another ten things I think will help you stay motivated and keep your head above water when life gets flooding around you….
- Set realistic goals. Successful people are successful because they know where they are going / where they want to go. Set your goals for your 72 hour kits, 3 month supply and longer term supply. Set three realistic goals in each area and post them on your fridge where they are in your face all the time. Review them regularly and revise them as needed. Your goals could be things like, – get our cold weather foam clothing this year, – build up our toilet paper storage to a 3 month supply, and – replenish our long term wheat supply and build it to 200 lbs per person. If you always have a list on your fridge with 3 goals……. you will always have something – a direction – to be working on. When you accomplish one goal, cross it off and replace it with another.
- Create a team of like minded people. Teamwork will help us reach our goals sooner rather than later. Meet together regularly, buy things in bulk, build on each others strengths; teamwork can take us far. I am a firm believer in working together. It makes things so much more fun. It spreads the work out, at least for the most part, if you have a team that helps you. Be careful though, because sometimes teamwork, means you do all the work, while the team benefits. Don’t let your team be this kind of team, or you will quickly suffer burnout.
- Plan carefully. Lack of planning can usually be our worst disaster. Plan, plan, and plan, then go and prepare. Research and know what you want, and how much. Planning will promote focus and will also reveal possible roadblocks that might lie ahead. I am a planner. I have calendars, books, notebooks, binders and all kinds of good stuff that help me plan what I am going to do. If have found that I often stray from those plans, but when I get lost in the muddle, it is easy enough to get back to the plan that started it all in the first place. Plans are then to guide us through good and bad, so make them, keep them handy, and move forward with them.
- Get enthused. Without enthusiasm, we will do nothing. Enthusiasm will bring success. Teamwork will help keep us enthused. This is where I struggle, because I am that person, who get super enthused about things, and then get bummed when I realize that I am alone in my enthusiasm. Others will not always buy into your enthusiasm, and that is just a truth about life. You will need to keep that enthusiasm, to keep you going. Others will undoubtedly try to kick you down, and they may even succeed for a time, but if you can resurface that enthusiasm, dig down deep and find it gain, you will keep moving forward. You will find your motivation to keep preparing.
- Stay focused. Keep your goals in sight. Change the way you think. Start thinking in everything and every place………..what would happen if………? It is really hard to stay focused. It is a habit – I think – that we need to create. I gotta admit, I am kind of like a squirrel on steroids. I can easily bounce from project to project, and before long I have so many projects on the go, it is almost impossible to finish any one of them. I have to constantly refocus my goals and habits. That is one good reason why having them posted in plain sight helps us maintain those priorities. Key word here being priorities. Doing good things are great, but not if they are keeping you from the things that are the most important.
- Create your habit. A habit will change your perspective and drive you to action. Create the habit of preparedness………..again, change the way you think. Making preparedness a habit, will only come with repetition. It will come with doing things over and over long enough that it becomes second nature to you. It will come from always asking yourself questions, to bring it to the surface in your life enough, that it will be at the surface in all you think. I don’t think it means you need to be a radical prepper, or someone who never does anything else…….. nope, I think it means – preparedness has become a habit enough, that you look at life a little differently. You look at buying presents and wonder what kind of things you can do to help someone else be a little more prepared. You look at the news and wonder what you can do to be prepared if things like that were to happen to you. You look at life around you – what others are going through – and you wonder what you can do to prepare for those kinds of challenges. If preparedness is a habit for you, you will change your mindset, so it is a way of life for you.
- Do more than is expected. Know your city’s emergency plan, share online your knowledge with others, use www.providentliving.org for help, keep small cash on hand (at least $500 in small bills), learn to date every food item that comes into your house, keep your preparedness organized………..well you get the idea, do more than just what you HAVE to do. Do what will make life better for you. Be the kind of person who is a doer, not one who sits around and waits for others to do for you!
- Discipline yourself. Change your habits, your buying habits and your thinking. In an emergency there are no second chances. We get one shot to get it right, so discipline yourself right now so that when the time comes for us to use what we know, we will be prepared. Emergencies are not forgiving. They are no respecters of persons. They don’t care where you live or how much money you have, or how big your house is. They will hit you just like any other person, and most likely when you are least expecting it. Be ready.
- Family communication. Set a good example for your family and communicate to them the importance of preparedness. Do you have a family emergency calling tree, a family budget, a family utilities shut off plan? Do you have all of your vital family information in one book? Do you have pictures of your home, and serial numbers of big items? Think of things like this and make a family plan so they all know. Never assume your family understands. I have found, time and time again, we talk amongst our family, thinking we all have the clear picture of what should happen, while in reality, we all have our own clear picture, and it is different from each other. This leads to confusion and frustration. Communicate well, and practice often, in order to know who does what, when, how, and why. Don’t expect that they will just know what to do. This is a bad plan.
- Faith! Again, I come back to the final point, with the beginning point. Strengthen your faith through prayer and preparedness. Faith combats fear. The truth is the truth whether or not you believe it, so prepare and then have faith that you will be okay. Don’t be scared, just be prepared, and never forget prayer, because God is on your side and is your best cheerleader, if you will let Him be.