If you want to be prepared, no matter what you are preparing for, it is much easier if you set goals and objectives and then make a plan to reach them. Without these, it is very hard to achieve the things you want to do. It is a new year and a good time to think about setting goals to start or increase your preparedness.

Why it is Important to Set Goals and Measurable Objectives

You know you should be prepared. Prepared for natural and manmade disasters, economic instability, job loss and lately, cyber and terrorist attacks. But just setting high-level goals makes it hard to accomplish anything. Let’s take a look at some common goals that thousands of people make each year and never accomplish:

  • I am going to get in shape this year
  • I am going to lose weight this year
  • I am going to start eating healthy this year
  • I am going to get prepared this year
  • I am going to be better prepared this year

So why don’t people accomplish these goals? Sometimes they are half-hearted. They know they should do something but are too lazy to actually try. Others start out trying but quickly lose interest because it is not easy. Others are committed to the goal at first but they didn’t take the time to define measurable objectives that help them realize accomplishments along the way.  

If you don’t set goals with measurable objectives, you burn your time and energy with subpar results. It is like shooting arrows into the forest hoping you are going to hit some game for your dinner tonight. It is not effective.

Goals and Measurable Objectives

For goal setting to be effective, you have to define measurable objectives that have a time frame and create a plan to achieve them.  Before diving in let’s look at some definitions from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

  • Goal – The end toward which effort is directed.
  • Objective – Something toward which effort is directed.

Interesting that they are almost the same but the difference tells us something. The Goal is the end of an effort and an Objective is a something that is achieved through effort.

They are used interchangeably a lot but I have seen them used in a slightly different way that helps you organize the effort in to a large bucket (goal) full of smaller buckets (objectives). The smaller buckets are easier to plan for and let you see and feel accomplishments quicker. So, let’s look at an example of how this makes reaching your goals more achievable.

Normal Goal Setting

  • I am going to be better prepared this year with water and food storage.

Better Goal Setting

Goal 1 – Increase my water preparedness this year

  • Objective 1 – Purchase enough water storage containers to have 30+ gallons on hand by March 1st

  • Objective 2 – Purchase a table top water filter for family use by July 1st

  • Objective 3 – Purchase individual water filters for each family member by February 15th

  • Objective 4 – Purchase water purification supplies by March 15th

  • Objective 5 – Install 2 rain barrel catchment systems in the fourth quarter of this year

Goal 2 – Increase my food storage to 4 months by the end of the year

  • Objective 1 – Increase pantry food storage to 2 weeks by March 1st

  • Objective 2 – Increase pantry food storage to 4 weeks by July 1st

  • Objective 3 – Purchase Freeze Dried Food for 1 month by June 1st

  • Objective 4 – Purchase Freeze Dried Food for 2 months by October 1st

Planning Tasks

Now that you have smaller buckets to complete, it makes it easier to create tasks to achieve them. For each of your objectives think about the daily, weekly or monthly tasks that are needed and start recording them in an electronic calendar. As you start filling up your calendar it is easy to see if you are being too aggressive on some things. Now you can push some dates back or change your objectives so that you are not overwhelmed.  

The following is an example of some of the tasks you might create to achieve the goals and objectives above.

  • Research supplies and equipment needed and total the costs by goal and objective

  • Determine how much money needs to be set aside each pay check to achieve the objectives

  • Reassess and adjust dates based on money available

  • Create list of pantry food needed for the 2- and 4-week objectives

  • Purchase XYZ every other week at the grocery store.

About Setting Goals and Objectives

Some things to think about when setting goals and objectives:

  • Don’t set your goals to low. It is better to set them higher than you think you can achieve even if you don’t achieve everything. If you only end up with 3 months’ worth of food storage, that’s ok. You have 3 months more than you did.

  • Review your objectives on a monthly basis to see if you need to adjust. You may see that your finances won’t allow you to complete certain objectives. No worries, you have to be realistic when it comes to money so just adjust the objective down a bit. On the other hand, if you see that you will easily meet one of the objectives, increase the amount or move the time frame up and add something new to your list.

  • Learn as you go and adjust. When you are preparing, you are constantly learning new things. That’s good but sometimes your new knowledge may mean you need to modify the objectives. You may decide you need to go a different direction or your priorities may change so give yourself the freedom to change the plan.

  • Define a “WHY” for each goal, print it out and tape it on wall so you can see it every day. This helps you to remember why it was important for you to do it and will keep your motivation up.

  • Celebrate each objective completed!


Having a vision for being prepared to take care of your family rarely gets done well, or at all, if you don’t take the time to define goals and measurable objectives. Without measurable objectives it is hard to tell whether you are on track and feel a sense of accomplishment. Even if you have already set some preparedness goals for the year, take the time to create measurable objectives with time frames. You will see how much better of a plan this.

Have anything to add? Have questions about Preparedness Goal setting? Let me know in the comments!

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Have a blessed day!

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  • Andrew Parks

    I was just discussing this topic with a friend. I am in the process of organizing my food storage racks and planning to have nearly 3 months stored away for my family along with several hundred gallons of water.

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