As preppers, we need to challenge ourselves regularly. Some of these challenges may sound ‘easy’ while others may be a bit harder, it just depends on where you’re at with your preparedness. I encourage everyone, no matter where you’re at in your prepping journey, to do this 12 month challenge.
In this post you’ll see a detailed outline of each month. Below, you’ll find a PDF download with a blank monthly calendar that you can print 12 times, along with the challenge outline for each month.
Print the calendar 12 times. And print the monthly challenges. Stick them somewhere convenient where you’ll see it often. Write at the top of the calendar the month, year and the challenge for that month. Feel free to switch up the challenges to do them any month that suits your needs.
You don’t have to use the calendar provided, it’s just a way for you to mark when you did the task(s). And/or when you want to do the task(s).
You can start this 12 month challenge at anytime.
It doesn’t have to be the start of a new year.
Just start now.
The easiest way to remember to do this challenge is to put a reminder in the calendar on your phone, to-do app, or in your planner or wherever that says something like “Preparedness Monthly Challenge”. And to also have the print out(s) easily in sight.
Good luck and have fun!
January – Set weekly/monthly budget and time
Have you ever sat down and really taken a hard look at your finances and time? I want you to take the whole month and really evaluate your time and money.
Map out when you realistically have free time. How do you spend that free time? Is there any time that can be allotted toward preparedness goals? Even just 30 minutes a week is better than nothing, even if it’s just reading a blog post or watching a couple YouTube videos.
How much money do you realistically have to spend on prepping? Budget out your finances onto a sheet of paper, in a word doc, excel, whatever. Write out every little bit of money that comes in and goes out. And then decide how much money you can spend on preps each month. Even if it’s just $20, that’s perfectly fine! There’s no right or wrong number.
Bonus: Make a list of your preparedness goals; items, skills, knowledge, to-do’s, etc.
February – Make/update emergency plan
Do you have an emergency disaster plan? If so, I’d highly suggest taking time this month to look over it and update it as needed. Have any locations, phone numbers, circumstances or anything else changed? I’d highly suggest putting a reminder in your calendar to update your emergency plan at least once a year.
If you don’t already have an emergency disaster plan, now is the time to get one made. Get the whole household together, if possible, to make this plan. The more informed, the better. In this plan, you’ll write-up things like:
- Important phone numbers
- Bug in location(s)
- Bug out location(s)
- Alternative routes to school, work or bug out location(s)
- What to do in case of “such and such” emergency or disaster
- Types of natural disasters in your area (hurricane, tornado, etc.) and types of emergencies (fire in the home, etc)
- How you’ll get to a safe place
- Forms of communications to contact each other
Print this plan and make it accessible to everyone in the household.
Bonus: create checklists for all your kits, bug in procedures, bug out procedures, etc.
March – All About Water
This month, focus on your water needs. Remember, water is used for cooking, cleaning, hygiene and drinking, along with other various needs. Humans use quite a bit of water. Your usage will also increase during hotter months.
- How much water do you already have stored on hand? (at least 2 gallons per person, per day, plus pets)
- What are your water filter and purification systems?
- How can you procure water? (nearby stream, rain barrel, filling sinks & tubs, water heater, etc.)
- How do you plan to continue to store water? (getting a gallon every week at the grocery store?)
- How do you plan to store the water? (in the gallon jugs, filling up jerry cans, filling up barrels, freezing water, etc.)
- How much space do you realistically have to store water?
- How will you use water for hygiene purposes?
- What food storage needs water?
- Do you have an inventory of how much water you have on-hand?
Bonus: go to the grocery store and get a few gallons of water.
April – All About Food
Focus on your food preps this month.
- What types of food do you have stored? (canned, freeze dried, MRE’s, etc.)
- Do you have an inventory list of your food, expiration dates, when added, where located, etc.?
- Do you regularly eat the food that you store?
- How often do you supply food for emergency purposes?
- Have you create a food storage menu to make planning meals easier?
- Have you ever cooked with your food storage?
- How are you storing your food? (in buckets, mylar bags, etc.)
- Where do you store your food? (behind the couch, in the closet, in bins made into a table, etc.)
- Do you dehydrate your own meals and snacks?
- Have you ever canned your own food?
- Do you garden?
- Have you ever sprouted seeds?
- How often do you rotate your food?
- What are your alternative cooking options?
Bonus: go to the store and pick up a few cans of food.
May – Mock Drill
It’s time to run a mock drill. Mock drills teach us a lot about where the holes in our plans are. These drills aren’t meant to be perfect, they’re supposed to be learning experiences. You are in a controlled environment, testing your preps, skills, knowledge and plans. Write down all your holes, questions and wonderings as you go through and/or after the drill. Be sure to have a discussion about the drill afterwards with everyone who was involved. Here are some suggestions for the types of drills you could run.
- Blackout drill
- Bug out drill
- Bug in drill
- No water drill
- No septic/sewer drill
- Tornado drill
- Fire drill
- Hurricane drill
- Home security drill
- Car breakdown drill
Bonus: Run more than 1 drill.
June – Camp With Bug Out Supplies
Regardless whether camping is part of your bug out plan(s) or not, it’s a pretty good test to see if your bug out supplies are what they need to be by using them while camping. Get the whole family out, everyone bring just their bug out bags and use whatever is in them. You can even do this in your own backyard so that you’re in a controlled environment and if something terribly wrong goes down, you’re close by to home. You’ll learn a lot about what you need and don’t need by camping with it.
Bonus: Go completely grid down with no electronics (no phone, no ipad, nothing)
July – Walk Through Overall Security
It’s time to take a look at your overall security needs.
- Walk around your home, inside and out, through the eyes of a thief and see how you can bump up your security.
- Practice situational awareness everyday, know exits wherever you go and regularly people watch.
- Take a look at your EDC and make sure it’s working for you.
- What sort of defensive items or skills do you have and how could you improve them? (go to a self-defense class, dry fire at home, upgrade your security items, etc.)
- Don’t be a soft target.
- Practice gray man for your specific area.
August – Check Home Preps
This month, go through your home preps.
- How’s your blackout kit look?
- Do you know how to take water from your water heater?
- How many manual tools do you have? (including kitchen tools)
- How many emergency supplies such as duct/gorilla tape and tarps do you have?
- Do you have a way to cool or heat your home/room without electricity?
- Do you have alternative communications setup? (NOAA, HAM, etc.)
- Do you know how to secure your home in the event of a natural disaster?
- Take a look at your medications and make sure they’re the freshest they can be.
Bonus: look into more self-sufficient preps such as solar panels, beeswax (for candle making and so much more), generator, etc.
September – Evaluate your health
Keeping ourselves healthy is absolutely a priority when it comes to preparedness. If our physical or mental well being are compromised in a crisis, that can break us. Evaluate your overall health and find some realistic ways that we can improve ourselves.
- How are your eating habits?
- How often do you exercise? (walking is sufficient exercise)
- Do you take vitamins or other supplements?
- How is your mental health?
- Do you have a lot of stress?
- Do you medicate?
- Have you ever considered self-care options?
- If you have any disabilities or disorders, are you prepared for them during a crisis?
- How much water do you drink on a daily basis?
- When was the last time you went to a doctor?
- How’s your eye health?
- How’s your oral hygiene?
- How is your general hygiene?
Bonus: go for a walk/hike once a week with your bug out bag/EDC bag/hiking bag.
October – Inventory Kits
Inventory all your kits. Your bug out bag(s), blackout kit, first aid kit, fire kit, hunting/fishing kit, car kit(s), food kit(s), EDC kit(s), survival kit(s), etc.
Make sure all of your kits have useable items. If, for instance, the alcohol pads in your first aid kit have gone dry, this is a good time to switch them out. Look at everything inside of your kits, write down all of the contents inside each of the kits, as well as any expirations, if applicable. You’re also going to want to make sure all of the items are still relevant to your skills. If you want to downsize or upgrade, now would be a good time to do that, or at least to write down that it should be done.
Bonus: set a reminder in your phone to inventory your kits preferably twice a year, but at least once a year. Keep copies of the inventory lists with the kit, on your computer and in your emergency disaster plan.
November – Save Money
Being financially prepared is just as important as anything else. If you haven’t already, start saving money.
- Put away $5 a week.
- Have your bank automatically withdraw money from your paycheck into a savings account.
- Sell items you don’t need anymore and put that money away.
- Find ways to earn extra money on the side.
- See if you can cut certain expenses/subscriptions out of your life.
- See if you can cut down on your grocery bill.
Bonus: know the sales cycles and do your due diligence when it comes to making purchases. Get the absolute best deals by shopping around.
December – Test Your Gear
This should really be something that you do on a regular basis, especially when you acquire new gear. Before putting it into any kits or doing anything with it, test it first. False preparedness is bred because people don’t do their due diligence and test their gear, plans, knowledge and skills.
Are there any pieces of gear that you really need to test out? Maybe you have a tarp that you need to make some shelter with? Maybe there’s a fire starter you’ve never used? Perhaps you need to test some rain gear? What about that water purification method that you’ve never tried before?
It’s best to test gear in a controlled environment at or near your home. This way, if anything were to go wrong, or if you simply don’t like that piece of gear, you’re at or near home and can figure it out with minimal worries or stress.
Again, this should be a regular thing, but this month, make it your goal to get caught up on testing some gear that may have been missed due to life getting crazy.
You could also use this month to learn a new skill by practicing it throughout the month.
Good luck, have fun and conquer tomorrow, by preparing today!