Prepping is not everyone’s cup of tea. Or instant coffee flavored with powdered milk, because half the world has ended, but you get my meaning! If you don’t take toward personal preparedness and immersing yourself into an, admittedly, pretty scary subject matter at times then living a prepping lifestyle can feel like one big never-ending chore.
But it does not have to! By changing your approach to your tasks, looking at your mission in a new way and perhaps tweaking your attitude a little bit your new lifestyle can actually be enjoyable!
I know it sounds hard to believe, but you can take it from me: I have myself taken more than few novice preppers from skittish and sullen to excited adherents, and I can do the same for you.
In today’s article, we’ll be learning how to enjoy the never-ending daily commitment to prepping.
A New Adventure Awaits
Would-be subscribers to the “cult” of prepping tend to take a hesitant and dim view of the notion once they find out that prepping is more than just playing Cabela’s bingo with their latest catalog of outdoor goods, supplies and apparel.
A commitment to prepping means you’ll constantly be seeking improvement- in yourself and your abilities, in your plans, and your procedures- and you’ll also be learning as much as you can about all kinds of disparate subjects.
That’s the reason for my comment in the above paragraphs: when you think about it that way, it sounds an awful, awful lot like a never ending “Honey-do” list.
Chores, chores, chores! You can never rest, never take time to relax and woe betides the prepper who isn’t always “ready.” You might have just stumbled upon one part of my secret formula and not even realized it.
Hint: the way you think about it. That’s actually one of the first tenets of prepping- you must guard your mind and your thoughts.
If you approach prepping as an insurmountable, endless and Sisyphean series of tasks you are likely to never start, or only engage in a half-hearted way. By changing the track running through your mind, you’ll prime yourself for enjoyable and positive action.
Aside from improving your mental soundtrack, there are several other tips of my own devising that you can employ to good success if you are a non-starter or stuck in a prepping rut. You can use all of these tips in tandem or singly to good effect.
Either way, you’ll be sure to gain a little more enjoyment from your daily preparations and lose a little bit of sourness from that same old routine!
A Different Point of View
The first thing I would have you do is completely reset your “mind map” of prepping. Yes, it sure seems like a lot of hard work when you consider it, but is it really? Instead of a bunch of chores, homework and bookkeeping, look at it another way. You will be upgrading and improving yourself!
Everyone hates the things they are bad at, and likes the things they are good at, almost without exceptions. It is really, really hard to enjoy something you are bad at, and if you feel like you are a wee baby “Level 1” prepper while your peers, friends and family members are all Level 30 Gritty Survivors, it sort of crushes your self-worth.
But just like all tasks that focus on refinement and improvement there is so much more joy in the building than the ribbon-cutting ceremony. In your journey, you will be learning cool and valuable skills, taking massive ownership over your life and the outcomes in it, and shucking off the lazy, listless pallor of Bystanderism™ that has infested our culture. You’ll become a regular Renaissance Man or Renaissance Woman!
Growth and improvement has an almost addictive quality to it: after a very short period of resentment and aggravation (the rust coming off) you will soon crave the feeling of accomplishment that comes along with achieving your goals, however great or small.
Every day, you’ll become a slightly better version of yourself. In a year, the changes, mental and physical, in capability and bearing will be significant. How much better off will you look and be in 2 years time? In 5?
Don’t focus on that part. Focus only on the simple joy of self-improvement. Prepping is only the road by which you’ll arrive at your better, enhanced self.
Use a Checklist
Checklists?! Ugh, Tom, checklists are lame! I don’t want to use a checklist! This is exactly what I was talking about! Such a chore!
Snivel me timbers, reader! Stop your caterwauling for a second and hear me out. I swear before all of you, there is power in a checklist. Rather there is power in checking things off of a checklist
Just like the joyous and delectable anticipation and excitement of crossing days off a calendar on the countdown to a vacation or some other happy event brings a smile to the face of the dourest person, using a checklist to guide your prepping is a great way to up your enjoyment and stay on task.
It almost works like a hack- a hack targeting your very brain! In seriousness, watching a big list of objectives, missions and tasks whittle down to nothing at the point of a blood red sharpie will get you moving, no question.
You can make separate checklists to track your near, intermediate and long term goals or pile them all on one giant list with various markers to denote urgency, difficulty or importance.
You can jumpstart this process by making your first few days or even week really “top-heavy”: there are quite a few, effective elements of prepping that are so simple, so easy to do it is a wonder and an embarrassment that every single citizen in American does not already do them as a part of their lives.
These stupid-simple and easy tasks are no less important compared to more involved and esoteric preps, however, so do them you must, and you can check off these vital preps quickly to get going.
Things like having at least a 3-Day supply of water, stashed, shelf-stable food or other rations, an emergency equipment kit with basic tools, lights, batteries and so forth and more are things you can click off after one trip to a big-box store or even a jaunt around your own home gathering and then consolidating things you already have.
Just like that- one, two, three, four, and tick tick tick tick- you are well on your way and taking your first serious steps into prepperdom! Congratulations, and keep going!
Do New, Fun Things, and Meet New, Fun People
So much of prepping that may seem, on paper, to be boring and mundane is actually highly enjoyable. From physical conditioning and defensive training to bug-out practice and route hazard assessments there are plenty of ways to engage your body and brain for fun and readiness.
Physical conditioning can mean pushing yourself in the gym (or in to the gym for the first time) or firing up a hardcore at-home fitness routine. Defensive training means learning to fight with fists and feet or with knives and guns- yes, scary at first, but also exhilarating and empowering!
Bug-out practice means a goodly hike or challenging camping trip, maybe one with some self-imposed challenges tacked on. Route assessment means saddling up in your car, on your bike or on foot and going around your town and county by different routes and really seeing it.
Of course you can put on your favorite tunes or a podcast and enjoy a little “me-time” on the open road! You don’t need to drive around scowling to do this right.
Your opportunities for engaging with people, familiar or otherwise, are aplenty if you prep correctly. Whether is it talking to strangers or your friends and family about you desires and activities you are sure to make meaningful new connections with them.
You can make new friends, even join a Mutual Assistance Group of like minded people. Among your family, at least a few will be taken with what you are doing and want to help or join you, and then you’ll be making memories along with stronger bonds
Yes, the reason you are doing all of this is serious and you should approach it with diligence and dedication, but you don’t have to sell your all your mirth for a nickel to be a good prepper. In fact, you’ll learn better and retain more if you are enjoying yourself, so lighten up a little.
If nothing bad ever comes to pass, just thank God and go on with your life. You at least tried a bunch of new things and enjoyed some new experiences.
Purpose, Activity and Industry
All of the above are the cure for the malaise so many suffer from brought on by modern life. Chances are you go to a job that you hate or merely tolerate, one where you stare at a lit rectangle all day, then you come home, do the same boring chores and then get back to staring at more lit rectangles. Yikes, no wonder suicide rates are what they are!
So much of our lives are now sessile, seated and sedentary. No way to live, especially when there is so much to live for and do. If you seriously subscribe to the prepping lifestyle, there will always be something for you to do, some new facts or skills you can learn, something to investigate or figure out.
Far from paranoia, you will likely develop a keen interest in curiosity in the world and people around you that you have not felt since childhood. Your job will just become the thing you do to get back to the thing that really motivates you.
Take myself as an example. Just this week alone I experimented with growing my own garden, starting small on an experimental level by trying to container raise a small herb selection. I was not very good at it, and they all died but I learned why (too much water).
I am starting the next “crop” and hope I’ll have fresh, home-grown herbs to use in my cooking soon. I killed three birds with one stone by heading into Mammoth Cave National Park for a little, actually a lot, of hiking (fitness) and actually broke from the trail to reach my destination using a map and compass (land navigation skills).
I drove up there by a route I never traveled before (route scouting) and the entire trip was a great adventure packed into one day: soothing, exertive and restorative.
A trip to my local range for some weekly pistol practice saw me running into some friends, one of whom is a very lackadaisical type who thinks his sheer force of personality will see him through any storm. He is not a good shot.
After horsing around with some good natured smacktalk on the range, comparing my targets to his sobered him significantly; he is now signed up for some serious pistol training with a well-known trainer. Mission accomplished on both fronts- I improved myself and, indirectly, a close friend.
Lastly, a casual remark at the vet’s office led to the veterinarian giving me a pretty comprehensive impromptu class on basic trauma care for dogs, allowing me at least a passing ability to safely and hopefully effectively render medical aid to our canine companions in an emergency. Something I had honestly not considered, but am now studying in earnest!
Folks, that was just this week, and only one of those days was a day off (my trip to MCNP). This weekend I will be meeting with another group of friends to give them a basic pistol class (they came to me of their own accord with the way things are going in the nation) and afterward we’ll be cooking out, cleaning guns and playing board games.
Does that sound like a pretty rich and engaging life? I think so, and yours can be the same if you commit and stay disciplined!
There is freedom in it, not bondage. Leave the life of helpless drone behind and become the cool aunt, uncle, mom, dad or friend that you always wanted. The pioneering, capable, smart and handy type that people can depend on and turn to if they are dealing with a broken stove, a broken heart or a broken society.
Prepping is only a chore to those who lack imagination. For those who have a lust for life, or a strong desire to love life again, prepping in all its forms will provide you with many opportunities for physical and mental stimulation and an ever changing rotation of activities to engage you.
All the while you will be improving your chances of survival and your own repertoire of skills and equipment. There is no reason you cannot have fun while you prep, and there’s also no reason not to pin this article on Pinterest, to come back to it in the future.