American Survival Guide

AN­OTHER YEAR IN THE BOOKS

- BY MIKE MC­COURT Lifestyle · Lifehacks · Francis Bacon · Instagram · Francis Bacon

Here we are again at the end of an­other year; al­ready! In look­ing back, the many events, good and bad, seem to merge to­gether into one blurred fast-for­warded high­lights clip. With a few ex­cep­tions, most of this year’s ex­pe­ri­ences are filed neatly into the sim­ple chap­ters of work, fam­ily, projects and fun, not nec­es­sar­ily in that or­der. Some things, how­ever, do stand out above the others. Hope­fully, it’s be­cause they were pos­i­tive times that we hope to re­mem­ber for a long time. Our old­est son’s wed­ding is a fa­vorite mem­ory of mine from this year. Un­for­tu­nately, as is the case with life, there are also the times that weigh heavy on our hearts. Lost fam­ily mem­bers, friends and beloved pets of­ten seem to be part of that side of the ledger. We don’t want to for­get those ei­ther but we try to find ways to re­call them with less pain and con­cen­trate on the good mem­o­ries as time passes.

Ei­ther way, now is a good time to look back and take stock of all the lessons we learned this year, whether from wins or losses. Of­ten, these things pass quickly and we don’t take the time to eval­u­ate the chain of events and we fo­cus on mov­ing on in­stead of re­flec­tion.

Here are a few ques­tions you might want to use to eval­u­ate how you han­dled your chal­lenges this year.

• Was this some­thing you an­tic­i­pated and, if so, did you have at least the out­line of a plan for deal­ing with it? If not, do you now?

• If your re­sponse to an emer­gency re­quired tools, gear or sup­plies, did you have what you needed and was your gear up to the task?

• If you had/have to re­place ma­teriel, will you do so with the same items or some­thing dif­fer­ent?

• If you had to en­dure the event with others, was ev­ery­one on the same page and fo­cused on the same goals?

• Can those re­la­tion­ships be im­proved for bet­ter out­comes in the fu­ture? How?

• Have you had fol­low-up conversati­ons with the others to rec­og­nize the pos­i­tive and neg­a­tive re­sponses to the event as a group?

• What things popped up that were un­ex­pected, and how did you re­spond to them?

• Do you feel bet­ter or worse about your plan­ning and/or ex­e­cu­tion than you ex­pected? Why?

• Did you have to ask for help to get through the event? Did you? If not, why not?

• Did you have to en­dure no­table hard­ships dur­ing or as a re­sult of the event? Did you han­dle them as well as you ex­pected?

• Are you still feel­ing the ef­fects of the event? Could you have done any­thing to re­duce this im­pact?

• If young­sters or se­niors were part of this event, how would you char­ac­ter­ize its im­pact on them?

If you go through this ex­er­cise, an­swer hon­estly to get the great­est ben­e­fit from it. Don’t ex­pect to come away with zero neg­a­tive re­sults, be­cause it’s im­pos­si­ble to plan for and ex­e­cute against ev­ery po­ten­tial threat. While you’re right to cel­e­brate your suc­cesses, don’t fix­ate on and beat your­self up over the ar­eas where you need im­prove­ment. You are stronger and more pre­pared for hav­ing en­dured those things and, as­sum­ing you learned from them, you’ll be more pre­pared in the fu­ture as a re­sult.

Sir Fran­cis Ba­con has been cred­ited for coin­ing the phrase “knowl­edge is power” and we agree with that state­ment. We’ve in­creased the amount of in­for­ma­tion we share with our sub­scribers and friends, and we’re proud to say that our on­line ar­chive at Asgmag.com has al­most 800 ar­ti­cles, with more be­ing added all the time. While you’re there, you may also sign up for our free weekly News­let­ter, set up print and dig­i­tal sub­scrip­tions and or­der back is­sues.

This year also saw us in­crease our com­mit­ment to our so­cial me­dia pages on Face­book.com/amer­i­cansur­vival­guidemagaz­ine, and we launched a new page on In­sta­gram at In­sta­gram.com/as­g­magazine. Please visit, "like" and share them. Fi­nally, you may sign up for the ASG dig­i­tal app at Pock­et­mags.com/us/amer­i­can-sur­vival­guide-magazine.

We hope 2019 was a good year for you and wish you and yours a very happy and healthy 2020!

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