Staying motivated can be tough. What worked for me was finding that thing that can keep me going indefinitely. For me, that’s my wife and kids. Everything I do is for them– my fitness level, my prepping, my everyday activities…..everything! Every time I don’t want to go to the gym, I think about them. Every time I stock some ammo or food away, I think of them. I do it for their safety and health as well. I am not the most fit person in the world, nor am I the most prepared, but I give it my all for them. See where I’m going with this? Find that thing or someone or someones that keeps you going no matter what. Then just keep at it.
Don’t let yourself get complacent. There was a saying that was spray painted on a wall on our base in Iraq; the sign’s message was “Complacency Kills”. It was right. Complacency can and will get you killed, whether it be from letting your body go to just not paying attention to the warning signs, which can come in many forms in our lives. These signs can be everything from high cholesterol to that wire partially buried road side. Ignoring them is dangerous.
When you’re more physically capable to take care of yourself, there is more of you left over to care for your family or friends. You are able to pick up your kids and run longer. You can hike further with more gear with fewer stops. You can build a camp or shelter quicker. You can fight longer, and you can search longer in the rubble after a tornado. You can also carry an extra bag or two of that sweet and hot jerky that you crave in your bag. If you find it in yourself to improve your health and eating habits, you may find that it can be contagious. Then, family and friends will see you looking and feeling better and will want the same for themselves. Maybe they will then join you in your workout routine or in something as simple as just eating better or smaller portions.
I know many people have injuries, health, and age considerations to think about. There are a lot of conditions that can keep us from being physically fit or able. I see a lot of them in my current field. People have to deal with bad knees and problems with their back, feet, and so on. Many have heart issues– CHF, high blood pressure, low blood pressure, and so forth. Others deal with lung issues, like asthma. I could go on all day and not cover all of that many health issues that could keep you from making the hike to your bug out location. However, I am in no way telling you that you should give up hope; there are still some things you can do to increase your time in a TEOTWAWKI situation. Do you take meds? Keep some of those, at least a month’s worth, on hand. Have a network of fellow preppers who know your situation and can help you get out if need be or who can get supplies and meds to you. Do you have a need for certain medical supplies beyond meds? Keep those on hand. Also for those who know people that suffer from a health condition, get with them and see what they need. Maybe keep some of what they need on hand at your place in case their stash becomes stolen, destroyed, lost, or depleted. It could be your loved ones that need you to look after them.
Do you have any ailments that can be taken care of or improved? Got a cavity that you have been putting off? Imagine a time when there is no dentist to take care of it as it worsens. Need glasses or corrective work done? It sure would be hard to shoot well if you can’t see. These are just a couple of examples of things that could make a survival situation tough if not impossible. If you have the means of taking care of them, do so while you can or it is at least easier.
The mind is a powerful thing. If you do not keep yourself calm in hairy situations you can find yourself dead quick. However, the mind can be trained and filled with knowledge to keep you going in a WROL situation. Knowledge and training weighs nothing and goes everywhere with you. Fill your head with a wide array of knowledge. Get training or read up on first aid and trauma care. Learn foraging skills by taking a class or reading. Learn tracking and trapping skills. If you have the means to do so, take classes from experts of the various subject matters that interest you. YouTube is great, but there are a lot of people that pass on bad advice or outdated information. Regardless of your subject of interest, keep learning and progressing your knowledge base.
With that being said, keep up on your reading and training. There is a saying that I learned in the Marines: “If you don’t use it, you lose it”. It means that you will find things hard or impossible to recall later on especially under stress. It applies if you, for example, only trained with a tourniquet once years ago. It also applies if you practiced doing tactical and speed reloads with your rifle only a couple of times. Your fine motor skills go out the window when you are in the fight for your life. You will be relying on muscle memory. You need to practice any life-saving skills until you have that muscle memory. If at all possible, practice them in stress-induced situations. Those that have gone through the military can back that up. There is a reason your drill instructor was in your face screaming at the top of his lungs while you did a variety of tasks and drills. He was building that stress up to get you used to it. I’m not saying grab your wife and have her scream and throw socks at you while you fold the laundry, but maybe before you do a mag change drill you do some pushups and pull ups to simulate the increased heart rate and exhaustion. Or when you are practicing doing some medical skills, have your buddy dump your med kit out in your work space while he times you and your patient is flailing acting up their injury. If you have a good friend or group that you prepare with, you could always go the boot camp way of doing things at home. There are many ways to induce physical and mental stress upon the human body. How ever you do it, do it in a safe way.
Not only will you have more tools in your mental toolbox, but your confidence in high stress situations will improve. You have to have confidence in what you are doing. Otherwise, you will freeze or second guess your decisions, which could possibly get you or your loved ones hurt. Should someone take a round to their leg, you need to know how to take care of it immediately without hesitation. Or if your weapon has a stove pipe, you need to know how to remedy it. Like I stated earlier, learn it and keep remediating that skill.
Imagine that your wife, your two kids, and you are going through your morning routine. You’re eating breakfast while the kids are watching their morning cartoons. You say to tell them, “Turn the TV off so we can go outside and play in the yard.” They put their dishes in the sink and get their shoes on. You head outside as your wife gives you a kiss and goes to finish up her nursing homework. As you reach the trampoline in the backyard, you think to yourself “I forgot to weed eat around this dang thing.” Your kids are laughing and wrestling. You then feel the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. The neighbor’s plug-in electric lawn mower stops. The cars on the busy street a block away all stall. The traffic lights stop working. Your wife comes out and says the power went out and her phone isn’t working. You soon realize that the world as you knew it has changed.
Let’s fast forward two weeks. Things have been okay since you had prepared food and water over the last several years. Unfortunately, not everyone has done the same. Stores are empty and people are getting desperate. They are hungry and don’t know that they could be having a nice meal on the dandelions in the backyard. So, they go looking; they’re looking for people who have food. You have food, and they want it. You hear someone yell from outside, “I heard you were a prepared person.” Soon a crowd of armed, angry, hungry, and desperate people amass on your front lawn.
Do you have the confidence in yourself and your training to combat the threats should they not leave? If you have to fight someone hand to hand do you have the strength? If you take a round to the arm can you keep your calm and bandage it with proper technique? Do you have the stamina left to run with your kids out the back door with a pack on? Could you take it upon yourself to answer “yes” to all of these questions, truthfully? Your family depends on you!
The fear of death can do some amazing things for you and to you. It can make you fight harder than you ever have, but it can also cripple you and leave you weak and defenseless, scared, and crippled. Prepare yourself for the benefit of you and your family.
We all check our BOBs as the seasons change. We rotate our food stores to keep it fresh, and we clean and maintain our firearms. Yet, we do not all improve our health and knowledge base. It’s not easy, I know. It takes time, but we all know the benefits of doing so. I have three pistols that I can replace totally or parts as needed. However, I only have one body and one life. For my family, I am going to give it the best shot I can.