The number one question I get from readers of my blog is, “I want to do food storage, but I’m overwhelmed. Where do I start?” I wish I could just hold your hand, look into your eyes and say, “Just begin. You CAN do it!” However, I know that’s not what you want to hear. You want me to give you some formula.
I’ve been reading a book called, “With Winning in Mind,” by Lanny Bassham, Olympic World Champion rifle shooter. Because my daughter has been working on preparing for some big running competitions, I have decided to study the mental game for athletes. So, what has that got to do with food storage? Setting goals, visualizing them, and getting to a point where living with food storage becomes as natural as brushing your teeth, is a mental game.
No matter what you are trying to accomplish whether it is a cross country race or becoming an author of a book about food storage (Mmmm) or building your own food storage, you CAN do just about anything if you set goals and visualize them. If becoming an Olympic Gold medalist takes 90% mental training and 10% physical training, then could succeeding with food storage require some mental training as well?
Quite frankly if you THINK food storage is going to be hard or overwhelming or impossible, it will be. If you THINK food storage will be possible for your family because you trust in God to help you, it will happen. Whenever we put negative thoughts in our mind, we program ourselves for failure.
I know that sounds simple to say, but I really believe it. Over the past 20 years I never doubted that I could accomplish my goals with food storage. I wasn’t always sure where I was headed and I’ve questioned my ability to bake a good loaf of bread, but I stepped out into the darkness and began. That is the key. Faith requires taking a risk.
Sure you will learn along the way like I did that there are some foods that your family doesn’t like such as yams. However, I gained from that experience that now I know what not to store. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.
Start small with your goals. That’s why I love the 3-Month Food Storage Supply concept that the LDS Church teaches! It’s doable. And you can create it any way you want. Obviously some of you may want to focus on a year’s supply of food, but maybe it can’t happen in one year. So, perhaps focus on a 3-month supply in 12 months.
Start with what you already like to eat. Look in your cupboards and find canned, boxed or packaged foods that you repeatedly use. I don’t know anyone who only eats fresh foods. Some of you cook with rice and beans. Some of you eat breakfast cereal. Some of you bake with staples like flour, sugar and salt. If you get all your meals from a vending machine, you may be in trouble.
It’s important to teach ourselves how to cook or bake. Becoming self-reliant will help us save money, and teach our children important traditions. Keith B. McMullin said, “Children need parents who instill in them this righteous tradition. They will then do likewise with their children, and their stores will not fail.” We must be careful not to become too dependent on the grocery store for everything. There is wisdom in creating a home store that has a supply of food. We are not hoarders, but we choose to prepare for crises in our lives, so we can help others along the way.
So, if you are discouraged and just mind-boggled with the whole idea of food storage, grab that thought and throw it away. Let’s begin with a new beginning.
I decided to borrow some ideas on goal setting from Lanny, because I think he’s got words of wisdom that can apply to food storage:
- Determine a goal worth trading your life for – Would I trade my life for food storage? Mmmm. Gathering food storage does take time and commitment. It requires change to make it a natural part of my life. What exactly do you want to do? Gather a 3-month supply of food and then later evaluate if you can store more? Store a year’s supply of food and that’s it? Is this something you really want to do? If the answer is yes, then move on.
- Decide when you want it – How quickly do you want to get there? If you have limited funds, maybe it is unrealistic to focus on a year’s supply of food in a year. Perhaps you can only spend $10 a week extra on food storage. Then set a realistic timetable. I spend about $50 a month for my family of four on food storage, but I have been gathering for years. Maybe you will reach your goal of a 3-month supply in 12 months. That’s realistic.
- List the pay-value – Why is it important for you to achieve this goal? Security? Counsel from church leaders? “If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear.” D&C 38:30. Love for your fellow man? Three months from now you may not feel as motivated as you do today, will you lose focus because this really isn’t worth it? What will really motivate you to achieve this goal?
- Honestly evaluate the obstacles in your way – Is your husband not on board with you? Are you afraid to bake bread? Are you afraid you will buy the wrong foods? Do you think you don’t have enough money? Are you comparing yourself with the woman next door? Do you lack space? Knowledge? If you can use a computer or a cell phone, you can certainly learn how to plant a garden or grind some wheat. Fear immobilizes us. What can you change in yourself to get you to your goal? Spend some time on thinking about this one.
- What is your plan to get your goal – Lanny says, “The difference between a wish and a goal is that a goal has a written plan to get it. Wishes usually do not come true. Goals with written plans have a much better chance of being reached.” So, have you just been wishing to have food storage in your home? Take some time to write out a plan. Get some ideas at this post.
- Evaluate your plan before you proceed – Is the prize worth the price to reach your goal? Do you really believe food storage is worth it? How will gathering food storage affect my family? Is my plan consistent with my values? Listen to this talk by Keith B. McMullin.
- Schedule your plan – Get out a calendar and write down what you want to do each month to work towards your food storage goal. Break it into small parts so you can focus. Maybe you also want to gather some emergency supplies as well. Go to my 12-Monthly Food Storage Lists for some ideas on working on it a month at a time.
- Start now – You’ve planned so well, so now is the time to move forward and begin your race.
- Prior to reaching your goal always set a new one to take it’s place – It’s November and a new year is looming before you. Are you done? Do you want to set some new goals? Perhaps you want to purchase a generator the next year or build some more food storage shelves? Or change the order you have been gathering your food storage? Remember to set new goals.
- Stay with your plan until it is finished – Don’t slack off when you see the end of the year coming. Stay focused and finish the race. As a mother of runners, I’ve seen many runners slow down just before the finish line. I just want to shout, “Don’t do that!” Many races have been lost that way. Continue with your goals until they are finished all the way across the finish line.
Concerning hope, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf said, “Isn’t it wonderful to know that we don’t have to be perfect to experience the blessings and gifts of our Heavenly Father? We don’t have to wait to cross the finish line to receive God’s blessings. In fact, the heavens begin to part and the blessings of heaven begin to distill upon us with the very first steps we take toward the light. The perfect place to begin is exactly where you are right now. It doesn’t matter how unqualified you may think you are or how far behind others you may feel. The very moment you begin to seek your Heavenly Father, in that moment, the hope of His light will begin to awaken, enliven, and ennoble your soul. The darkness may not dissipate all at once, but as surely as night always gives way to dawn, the light will come.”
Just take a step forward, God will catch you, and your family will be blessed. I know you CAN.