Survival Skills: 11 New Year's Resolutions for 2015

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A year ago we suggested a wide range of everyday survival resolutions, such as carrying a lighter in your pocket, getting some medical training, and stocking your vehicle with the necessary survival supplies. This year's list will build upon last year's, and hopefully serve you well in 2015.

1. Hit the range more often
More time at the gun range means becoming a better shot, a vital survival skill in self-defense situations. Unlike the gym, you needn't feel guilty if you don't go every day. Three or four times a month will keep the rust off.

2. Create a cache
It's never a bad idea to set up a secret stash of money, supplies, ammunition, or whatever you hold dear. This could be a watertight container buried in a stealthy location or tucked away in a clever hiding spot in your home. Just make sure that someone trustworthy knows your cache location. In the event of your untimely demise, someone will be able to retrieve the cache and deliver it to your heirs.

3. Plant something useful
Assuming the ground isn't frozen solid, winter is a great time to plant some fruit trees, grape vines, nut trees, and berry bushes at your home or your bug-out site. These can go into the ground anytime the soil can be worked, and it's less stressful on woody plants to be planted while they're dormant.

4. Pick up some fighting skills
A martial arts or boxing class can be just the thing to shed those winter pounds and give you some new tricks to protect yourself and those in your charge.

5. Learn to make different foods
Making your own food allow you to take your survival into your own hands. Sausages, cheeses, breads, and many other foods are fun to make and delicious to eat.

6. Learn to reload ammo
With a bit of an outlay for equipment and materials, this skill will keep you in ammunition for years to come. After the initial expense is recouped, you will soon be saving money on ammo.

7. Plan a bug-out-camp-out
A fun way to test your skills and your gear is to do a bug-out dry run. A weekend of camping and outdoor cooking will help you work the kinks out of your plans.

8. Conduct a fire drill
This exercise can prep your family for one of the worst common occurrences—a house fire. Make sure the whole family participates and takes it seriously. Repeat every few months.

9. Set up a network
If you have friends and family that are preparedness oriented, why not make it official? Get everybody together and have a discussion about what-if scenarios. A few informal get-togethers can cement relationships and firm up your plans to deal with emergency situations.

10. Pick a route
Got a bug out site or safe haven? Plan multiple routes to get there, by different modes of transport. Plot out courses by vehicle and by foot, and other means if you have more options.

11. Build a calendar
Print out a plain calendar and fill it with survival-related tasks and chores. Assign yourself some deadlines to make sure that everything gets done, and then start crossing them off as they're completed.

Happy New Year, everyone. Thanks for reading and submitting all of the great comments over the past year. Here's to an even better 2015!