Now that all of the holiday festivities are over and we get settled into the dawn of a new year, this is a good opportunity to think about how to get it off to a great start in terms of our preparedness efforts.  If we learned anything from last year, we’re living in unpredictable and uncertain times, and this is not the time to become complacent or indulge in too much procrastinating.

Take Stock

Take some time to sit down and evaluate where you’re at now in terms of your preparedness efforts.  Note your accomplishments, recall some setbacks, and try to remember any challenges that may have cropped up last year.  This will give you an opportunity to “clean house” and get organized in terms of building upon your successes without carrying around baggage related to things that didn’t work so well.  This is also a good time to re-visit any ideas that may have come to mind but fell through the cracks over the last year as well.   The new year represents a clean slate and an opportunity to dream and plan big, but it’s important to know where you stand at the moment.

Be Realistic

It’s really easy to start the new year with a lot of energy and enthusiasm only to let things fizzle out as time progresses.  One of the reasons this happens is that people tend to bite off more than they can chew in terms of setting goals.  Instead of making promises to yourself that you know you can’t keep, try taking smaller steps.  You can build on your successes as you go, and this can help to keep you from feeling overwhelmed.  Remember that the road to preparedness is a slow and steady one, and accomplishing lots of small projects can be more-fruitful than tackling a monumental challenge.

Only you know your strengths and weaknesses, so do some soul searching in order to fill your year with goals that you know you can accomplish.  It’s always easier to add more challenges along the way once you have a good foundation of successes to build upon.  However, these successes usually stem from having realistic expectations.

Stay Current

Try to build in some time to practice your skills and put your knowledge and experience to the test.  Don’t get stuck in the mindset that you know what to do just because you’ve practiced or studied it before.  We forget things, we make mistakes, we get things confused.  A little bit of practice helps us to stay fresh and keep our skills honed nicely.  Practice also helps us to identify things that don’t work as we planned, and this gives us an opportunity to address problems before we get caught off-guard in a real world crisis.

Evaluate Threats

Take advantage of the newness of the year to think of threats that may have particular relevance to you.  These change from year to year, and this little mental exercise is a great way to make sure that you modify your preps as necessary in order to have your bases covered.  Chances are that some threats that you’ve been preparing for years may not be relevant anymore as well.  While what constitutes a threat will mean different things to different people, everyone can benefit from going through this process as a way to effectively channel their efforts.

Inspect Resources

Finally, this is a great time to go through your stockpiles, check your gear and inspect your bug out bag or survival kit.  This will help you to identify and  replace things that have expired, become damaged or no longer work properly.

These are just a few ideas to help you to make this a banner year for your preparedness efforts.  Give these some thought, and feel free to share any useful suggestions or tips that can help the rest of us to get off to a great start as well.