Thoughts on the Year Behind and the One Ahead

Wow, what a year that was.  It was a year of milestones, and I have every one of our customers and readers to thank for it.  So I do that.  I thank you, sincerely and with great humility.  Without you I’d probably be getting a ‘bad attitutde’ on my annual performance review and fuming at my boss.


I saw my 40th birthday (with my 41st only a week away!) and spent the day with the favorite people in my life.  I reached the end of one career and the beginning of another.  I accomplished many goals, and missed some as well.  (AT anyone?)  My wife and I worked a lot of 16 hour days, with a few days like today where we take a little break during the day (We watched Green Lantern today during lunch- 3.25 stars; he was my favorite superhero when I was a kid, with Iron Man a close second.)  While the business has required a huge amount of effort, the rewards it has provided have been immense as well.  I love spending the days with my wife and dogs.  I love having the freedom to work in comfortable clothes in a comfortable environment.  Listening to the Cat Stevens channel on Pandora today while building orders has been a nice reminder of why we decided to take a huge risk with our future.

It has been a little wistful as well.  I wish my brother Todd were here to see what we’ve done; I think he’d be proud.   I wish our insurance didn’t cost as much as our mortage.  (We’ll be looking for a cash only physician in Nashville once our COBRA runs out this year if you know one!)  And I wish I could find a Mylar bag with a spout!  (Still trying!)

Like many, my wife and I are setting some goals for the year ahead, both personal and for the business.  On the personal side, many might be the same as some of y’all are setting.  I had a physical a few weeks back and I lost 9 lbs this year just because I haven’t been sitting in an office environment all day.  Instead, I’ve been slinging 50 lb boxes and Postal Totes, something I haven’t done since I was a much younger lad.  So I’ll try to lose another 9 this year.  So why not 50?  At my former job at Dollar General, we did ‘SMART’ Goals.  Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timebound.  Often, when we set ‘New Year’s goals’, we are Specific, but less than Realistic.  Sure, I’d love to lose 25 or 50lbs…but I know for myself, with all we have going on, it would put too much pressure on and I’d be more likely to give up than accept something more reasonable.  So why not just pick something Realistic to start with?

Arnold and our friend Meg

It’s kind of like that with everything in our lives, and I’ve always preached it to anyone I mention prepping to.  It’s better to set a goal of 1 month’s food storage if you won’t ever realisitically hit one year of food stored, whether it is due to space, time, or money.  Accomplishing a small goal makes us more likely to strive and succeed on a new one.  Failing at a goal makes many less likely to try again.

So this year, instead of the huge goals I attempted (and with more than a few, failed at) in 2011, I will be putting ‘Realistic’ at the forefront of our goal-setting. (Unless of course you are a venture capitalist and will grant us $300,000; I’d love to talk to you about some ‘Home Run’ ideas we’ve had kicking around!)  I still have some great things in store for those who have stuck with us (and another thank you!), but I won’t try to do so many at once I burn out and don’t get any done at all.

In my next post I’ll talk about the state of the business, where we are, and where we want to go in 2012.  You’ll also start seeing some guest posts from the AdviceWife later this month; she has some great things going on this year and I hope she’ll provide another perspective as to what goes on in our house in terms of prepping.

Again, thanks to everyone for a fantastic 2011, and we look forward to an awesome 2012 as well!


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