10 New Steps for Living a Strategic Life

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When it comes to living a preparedness lifestyle, from the get go I have focused on what I like to call “prepping for the rest of us”.  To me, this has always meant embracing survival strategies that transcend the weird, the strange and the off-the-wall.

The focus is and has always been prepping for ordinary folks who simply want to reduce their dependency on others, regardless, or in spite of, the woes created by Mother Nature, big business, and, sadly, the government and its political machine.

10 New Steps for Living a Strategic Life - Backdoor Survival

I call this living a Strategic Life.

I first wrote about living a Strategic Life back in October 2011.  A year later, that article, 10 Steps to Living a Strategic Life, became the basis of a book that I co-authored with my BFF George Ure at Urban Survival, 11 Steps to Living a Strategic Life: A Guide to Survival During Uncertain Times.

A lot has happened since then.  The world did not end in December 2012.  The nuclear meltdown at Fukushima became a lesson in cover-up and misinformation.  Ebola arrived in the Western World, and hurricanes, tornados, storms and natural disasters of all types have become extreme if not downright bizarre.  One other thing has happened.  Preparedness, encompassing both preppers and hard core survivalist types, has become big business.

Whereas those 10 initial steps were a starting point for living a prepared life, they now seem rather mundane and commonplace. This is because in their own way, bloggers and mainstream journalists write about these very same steps everyday of the week and at times, it seems as though everyone is writing about the same thing.

Get out of debt and grow your own food?  Sure, those are as much a part of the Strategic Life equation now as they were then but to me it feels like a been there, done that.

All of this brings me around to today and the here and the now.

A month ago I took pen to paper (and yes, some of us still do that), and renewed my personal goals for the year.  While doing so, it became clear to me that what I had done was to define 10 new steps for living a Strategic Life.

Today I share them with you.

10 New Steps for Living a Strategic Life

The following steps are presented in no particular order and, as a matter of fact, should be shuffled around as life and your current mental state dictate.

1.  Harden your home and prepare to hunker down if things get bad.

Note that only you can define “bad”.

For me, bad means a pandemic, a collapse of the economy or worse, society.  It also means a major natural disaster resulting in hungry and desperate people seeking food, water, and shelter.

2.  Define the word “comfort” in your own terms and surround yourself with whatever it takes to fulfill that definition.

Comfort can mean many things depending upon time and circumstance.  My definition includes a warm home and a full belly.  It also means a life with lots of hugs and without an iota of loneliness.

3.  Reduce dependencies on big pharma and prescription drugs that are being force fed by the medical and pharmaceutical communities.

I always recommend that you do this in partnership with an understanding physician who has your best interests in mind.

Experimentation is fine as long on you are not dealing with a life-threatening illness.  Natural remedies such as herbs and essential oils can work minor miracles but, in spite of what you might read and to the best of my knowledge, they will not cure dread diseases such as cancer or Ebola.

What they can do is mitigate the symptoms, and possibly stop the spread of viruses and bacterial infections.

4.  Learn to cook and eat simple foods that are low in cost yet nutritionally sound and calorically dense.

Eating healthy food should be no-brainer but sometimes even I struggle because let’s face it, chocolate cake with two scoops of vanilla ice cream is really good.  That said, learning to maintain a sourdough starter, cooking beets, and smoking meats are high on my bucket list.

5.  Exercise your body and mind by walking, reading, and opening your mind to new ways of thinking about life.

Almost everyone I know is stressed-out these days.  Those that work outside the home are putting in long hours, leaving home before dark and coming home after dark. Those that work from home are often always on call, with work related texts and emails seducing them at all hours of the day and night.

For a brief period each day, shut down the smart phone, the iPad, and the laptop.  Step away and breath some fresh air. Bundle up if you have to, then stand on the porch or take a walk so that you can take in the universe.  Think about yourself, your life, and your loved ones.

If you are spiritual, think about God or a higher being.  Open your mind to the possibility and try to remember that in spite of everything, the glass is always half full.

6.  Learn at least three pioneer skills that you will be able to call upon if we reach a tipping point and the SHTF.  See 46 Pioneer Skills for the Modern Homesteader.

No one person can do everything, so pick three and learn to do them passably well.  I want to learn to bake with a sourdough starter so I am not dependent upon yeast for bread making.  I have already started to grind my own flour using a manual mill; it is not easy but I did it.  I still need to pick two more.

If you pick three skills that interest you and they will become hobbies and not chores.

7.  Take time out everyday for yourself and the pursuit of hobbies that fulfill your need to relax and to be creative.

This is a close cousin to numbers five and six but because it is so important, it warrants its own strategic focus.

8.  Laugh.  Laugh more.

When is the last time you laughed?  While compiling this list I had to ask myself that because honestly, I could not remember.

9.  Keep a journal.

I hope you will choose to take pen to paper but even if you write a few words into a computer log, memorialize your thoughts and experiences.  Hit the delete key when you are done, or not, the choice is yours.  It is the process that counts.

10.  Don’t put off living while waiting for an apocalypse that may never happen.

Sometimes I feel that hard core preppers and survivalists want something to happen so that they can put their plans into action.  Doomsday preppers, perhaps?

Please, if you do nothing else, don’t put off living the life you want for yourself and your family.  Just because you prepare, does not mean it will happen.  Could it?  Darn right!  Will it?  Sorry, I don’t have a time machine that will launch me into the future so that I can come back and tell you it is so.

This is important and between now and the end of summer, am working toward my own “living in the present” goal.  You need to do the same.  Don’t put something off just because the SHFT might happen between now and then and your efforts will be moot.  Just do it.

What Happens Next?

As you can see, these are all simple things that anyone can do.  Of course a lot more can be said about each one and I plan to do that.  I have recruited George, and together we plan to write an all-new book on living a Strategic Life, this time with a distinct, long-term preparedness and survival focus.

The Final Word

A few weeks ago I found a description of Backdoor Survival that said:

While this site is slightly more difficult to navigate, it has a wealth of in-depth preparation tips, particularly for those with large families and those who want tips on training their mind as well as their bug-out bags.

That made me smile because I have always felt that training the mind, and developing both a survival and coping mindset, were important components to long term self-reliance.  With that being said, I want to ask you for your thoughts.  What steps do you feel are key to living a Strategic Life?

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

If you enjoyed this article, consider voting for Backdoor Survival daily at Top Prepper Websites!  In addition, SUBSCRIBE to email updates  and receive a free, downloadable copy of my e-book The Emergency Food Buyer’s Guide.

Spotlight:  Here is what one reviewer said about the book that I wrote with George Ure:

11 Steps to Living a Strategic Life is the meaty bones of wisdom boiled down to a condensed, protein rich broth. Tasty, witty, not a lot of froth, just the facts on what it takes to live your life independently, deliberately.

Currently only 99 cents!

Bargain Bin:  Below you will find links to the materials I used to make DIY  Healing Lotion Bars.  If you have not tried “lotion in a bar” you are in for a treat.

Healing Lotion Bars - Backdoor Survival

Freshware 6-Cavity Daisy Flower Silicone Mold and Baking Pan:  I simply love my daisy mold!  Made of silicone, it can be used for forming lotion bars, soaps, cakes, anything.    My lotion bars simply popped out cleanly leaving no mess.  So inexpensive, too, that I also purchased the oval version.  Up next?  Hand crafted soap!

Silicone Mold for Soaps and Lotion Bars - Backdoor Survival

100% Pure Unrefined Raw Shea Butter:  This is the Shea butter I used and am happy that it was not gritty.  I don’t have experience with other brands so I don’t know if my success was due to technique or the Shea butter itself.

Coconut Oil:  Coconut Oil from Tropical Traditions is my preferred coconut oil.  I love it so much I purchased a 5 gallon tub.  Really, I did!  I find it very silky to work with and love the taste when used in cooking.  Note that no refrigeration is required and although it solid at room temperature, it melts at 76 degrees.  The Nutiva brand from Amazon or Costco works well too.

Every Prepper Needs Coconut Oil in Their Pantry | Backdoor Survival

Spark Naturals Essential Oils:  These are what you need for the healing lotion bars: Lavender essential oil,  Rosemary essential oil, and Peppermint essential oil. Enjoy a 10% discount on your Spark Naturals order with code BACKDOORSURVIVAL at checkout.

NOW Foods Essential Oils:  I use essential oils from Spark Naturals.  For healing purposes, I feel they are superior.  On the other hand, NOW Foods has decent essential oils at a budget price plus they can be purchased at Amazon.com.  Here are a few to get you started:  NOW Foods Rosemary Oil, NOW Foods Peppermint Oil, and Now Foods Lavender Oil.

Stakich Pure BEESWAX Pellets:  This is my second order of beeswax pellets (also called pastilles) from this company.  They melt quickly and I am happy with them.

Deodorant Containers, New & Empty; Pack of 5:  These are 2.5 ounces each.  I prefer these mini-tubes purchased from Spark Naturals for just 95 cents each.


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10 New Steps for Living a Strategic Life — 10 Comments

  1. Gaye,
    A lot of our generation have lived like this since the beginning. I do worry about the younger generations that don’t know of the farming collapse in the 80’s, the gas rationing in the 70’s.
    My mom grew up on a large working farm in Ohio, we kids in turn learned how to crop rotate, bale hay, fix electric fences and raise chicken for meat and eggs.
    I’m a chef, most people couldn’t slaughter an animal to save their lives if they were starving. I remember the first time I watched my grandmother kill a chicken, pluck it and make it for dinner. They had a smoke house, how many could smoke meat to preserve it to have future meals.
    It’s a lifestyle, you grow up learning all the skills you need to survive. At 55 I am learning everyday to be prepared for whatever happens, that gives me great security and peace of mind for myself and loved ones.
    Thanks for providing this wonderful blog, it’s one of the first I ever commented on because I felt you were right on the money in learning along the way to being prepared.

  2. Gaye – thanks again for a great article that helps me make sure I have my bases covered. But is there a list of “pioneer” skills? Maybe you’ve covered this before or have a great reference? I can make candles, soaps and toothpaste, grow veggies and tend basic livestock. I grew up a tomboy so I can shoot, hunt, fish, and chop wood the right way. I still haven’t mastered crocheting, but I’m getting there. I’d like to learn more, and include my kids in the process, but again, I’d like to refer to a list to see what I know, what I think would be beneficial to learn, and what I’d rather barter with someone else for.

  3. Hi Gaye,

    I learned to sew on a treadle sewing machine over 50 years ago, but that machine is long gone. I recently bought a new Janome treadle machine and cabinet; the Zigzag stitch is very important to me and the older treadle machines do not have this feature. I plan to become proficient in using my new machine after I move this year. This purchase and my eventual proficiency in its use may become beneficial for barter purposes in the future.

    • I also learned to sew on a treadle machine. We both must be older than dirt LOL. BTW, I have a portable sewing machine and it can be run using el cheapo solar panels from Harbor Freight. I really need to brush up on my skills, though. I may start with aprons, just like we did in high school.

      • Yes, I will be 60 in a few days. 🙂

        I thoroughly enjoy every birthday I have. I am intentionally good to myself. I like to read a good fiction book, have my hot chocolate or tea or both, and relax for awhile. My husband will fix large scallops wrapped in bacon for us along with other favorite goodies instead of us spending too much money eating out.

        I had not thought about using solar power for a sewing machine. Solar power is on our “want” list. I have no clue as to how much electricity it takes to sew on a regular sewing machine. I have a 38 year old portable metal Pfaff 1212, but it can not be used as a treadle-type machine because of the belt and wheel design.

        I am going to practice with my new treadle machine by making aprons and pillowcases. I do like to wear aprons while I cook because I am definitely not the neatest cook. I am still looking for the “perfect for me” apron pattern that is easy to sew and easy to put on and take off.

  4. Great article, and taking it a step further, we not only need to live strategically, but also live strategically for the long haul, as in maybe, forever. It’s possible that if we diligently seek this route then when and if teotwawki hits, well, it won’t be such a traumatic event and not so long a fall to the bottom. Thanks for your efforts and Christ bless.

    PS: If allowed here is a little note for Gaye. I was raised as yourself, except down in South Georgia. We learned to do a lot on the farm, as you did too, but when a collapse does come, as in total collapse, will we be able to apply and hone those skills are will things be so bad from crime that we are reduced to foraging and hiding? It’s just a thot; glad you have the skills you have; keep on keeping on, thanks.

  5. Gaye,
    Thank you for the great information (and give-aways). I also have a treadle sewing maching, my great grandmothers, I sewed ALL my maternity clothes on it back in the 90’s. My treadle was made BEFORE the company invented a zipper foot attachment, believe me it was a bear trying to put the zippers in things LOL. Just one note though, make sure your cord is still taut, they tend to stretch, even sitting for awhile If there are repair places near you, you may be able to get replacement cords fairly cheaply or if someone is talented they may be able to make you one

  6. Hi Gaye,

    I have been lurking for several weeks now and finally think I have something to say about you blog.
    I just read this blog and 46 Pioneering Skills. Being in the process of moving from your neck of the woods to East Tennessee after retiring, I did an inventory of the pioneering skills I already have and others that I want to develop in the next few years. I came up with 12 skills I already possess at a fairly high level and 7 others where I have some competence and can readily improve with our move.

    I think there are 4 skills that everyone should have some level of competence:

    1. First Aid and emergency care. If you don’t have at least the fundamentals of taking care of injuries in teotwawki, you and those depending on you aren’t going to last very long. Even a slight injury, like a splinter, can cause serious problems if not treated properly.
    2. Fire starting. We need to know how to build a fire, in any conditions, to keep warm and for preparing meals. And we need to know how to do it whether it is dry, wet or in 3 feet of snow. In a teotwawki more people will die from exposure than disease during the first year, barring the event is a pandemic. Without heat (fire) getting soaked by rain at 60 degrees can lead to hypothermia. We just don’t think about that in our modern society.
    3. Getting grub. That can be hunting, fishing or/and gathering. We have to have the caloric intake and it has to have protein, carbohydrates and fat.
    4. Cooking over an open fire. It’s all well and good to have the wood burning stove, but what about if your out doing 3 for several days or have to bug out? No stove then.

    Well, that’s my thoughts on this. Come spring we will be putting in our first vegetable garden in more than forty years and polishing that skill, since this is first time in 15 years that we will have the space for a garden. Keep up the great blog, your doing a great service with your articles.


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