Bushcraft Goals and Development

Bushcraft Goals

Bushcraft Goals and Development.

It is good to stop and reflect on what we are doing and have done. It is Essential to set new bushcraft goals, both as individuals and as a family in relation to Bushcraft. Here are a few questions to ask yourself.

  • What have I/we done in the last year?
  • Did we achieve as much as We wanted?
  • Did I/we achieve our  bushcraft goals?
  • What goals are we going to set for the upcoming year?

Setting The right Bushcraft Goals Is Empowering

When we look at what we want to achieve with regards to bushcraft it is easy to set huge goals. This is okay as long-term goals, but you need achievable short-term goals. At some time we have all set ourselves goals that are not achievable, and we have failed. The results can leave us dis-empowered. We give up feeling we are not up to the task and are a failure. I know I have done this in the past. The important thing to do is say that was then I am here now, and I will get it right this time, moving on from here.

I have had to set and achieve goals in.

  • The police as an undercover police officer and other covert policing methods.
  • Practicing and teaching bushcraft skill
  • in many other areas of my life.

In addition to the practical experience, I have had the opportunity to study various areas of psychology to post graduate levels. Combining this has led me to look at how you can achieve your goals in bushcraft.

Basic Principle of Bushcraft Goal Setting

Bite sized Chunks.

One of my mentors in the police was known as the cliché king, he would use cliché after cliché. It would drive some people mad, but I still remember many of the lessons he taught me and use them today. I can hear him saying “Rome wasn’t built in a day” or “Slowly, slowly, catchy monkey” On most  occasions he was right. Stopping and taking a step back will help you learn and/or achieve more in the long run. It is true when you look to plan what you want to learn and how quickly you will do it. Secondly, you don’t need to learn everything now, this very minute. Take your time and learn a little and often will mean you will master the finer points of what you want to learn. This is very true when you look to set your bushcraft goals regarding developing bushcraft skills.

When you choose a new bushcraft skill to learn or master an existing bushcraft skill you need to acknowledge that they are big tasks and you will not learn the best technique or learn to the highest standards if you try and do it all in one go. In fact there is a big chance you fail or become disillusioned with the subject you are looking at.

Child or Adult, we all need our Bushcraft Goals.

The same goes when you are looking at planning what Bushcraft skills you will teach children. Overload their brains and you will put them off learning, not just what at that moment but in other learning environments.

Bushcraft Goals

Bushcraft Goals

If you set large bushcraft goals with short time frames it can appear a daunting, impossible task and even the thought of trying can be off putting. So break it down into small steps. Every small step you make is a goal achieve and will give you a boost and be motivating. In no time at all you will have achieved a larger goal, to a higher standard. This is important when we work with children and young people. It teaches them how to succeed and how to motivate themselves whilst they are learning other skills.

Step By Step, Mouthful by Mouthfull

During the training to become an undercover officer we were told we had to achieve some tough goals and we were put under pressure. We were told at the beginning what the main goals were and if we fail, we were history and would never be allowed to apply again. This was done to mess with our heads, they didn’t want quitters they wanted to know when it got tough you wouldn’t give up or break down. The answer to how you achieved success was to keep going one small step at a time and you will be successful. I thought about quitting, but it wasn’t an option. I wanted to be part of the special ops department. Each little goal I passed each step I took, was one more step towards my goal. On day one it seemed a million miles away and unachievable. Many fail the course but when you speak to those that pass they are all very different people, but they will tell you they just kept on taking small steps, bite size chunks.

How do you eat a mountain? The answer One mouthful at a time.

Keep Bushcraft Goals achievable, not too high.

Although you need to set bushcraft goals that can be achieved, it is important that you challenge yourself, or any children you may work with. Challenge is what gives us the satisfaction and motivation to be successful and to continue on our journey. Being out of our comfort zone helps to keep us stimulated and alert. With young people this is just as important. There is nothing worse that having young people lose interest and have to get them, interested and motivated again.

Keep Balanced

It is all about balance. Not to high, but not too low. Starting with some simple tasks that are very easy to achieve will help give confidence and help grab attention and interest in a subject. But then start adding more challenging tasks. Challenging your self and/or others also helps in another area of bushcraft/survival skills. Dealing with stress can be a challenge for many people. By increasing the challenges, you give yourself or others will mean you are under stress which increases as the goals become more challenging. This is great, because if you need to use any of the skills in an emergency or survival situation you have learned to deal with stress in bite sized chunks. (I wonder if I am getting hungry as I type, I keep talking about bite sized chunks.)

Look at your bushcraft goals and the time scale you are setting yourself and break it down. For example, knot are something people love or hate. So setting six month to learn 26 knots may seem a lot but, re-frame that to be one knot a week, you will have focused on it one knot at a time and learned 26 knots to a good standard in six months.

Start with your weaknesses

Everyone enjoys doing things they are good at and that they enjoy. If we do not plan our bushcraft goals well we will end up doing things that are hard and we wont enjoy them. We can then end up in a position where we only concentrate on things we enjoy and are good at. There is not challenge and progress is limited.

Rather than start on a new subject list what are your weaknesses. From there you can look at how you can develop them. Doing small chunks of working on your weaknesses, whilst working on maintaining good standards of skills you already have. This gives you a mixture of easy enjoyable, maintaining skill level and Hard, learning new skills. This creates a balance that will maintain interest, enjoyment and motivation, whilst learning new skills.

Learn About The Journey, Not Just The Destination.

That may sound like a phrase from a Chinese fortune cookie. So lets look a little closely at what this means. One skill

Study the Journey not just the destination

Study the Journey not just the destination

that most frequently people want to learn is fire by friction. So they get a bow drill set and attempt to create an ember. That isn’t mastering a skill it is going through the motions of getting an ember. To be a master of fire by friction using a bow drill you need to break the process down into smaller parts,

  • Selecting materials,
  • making the bow drill kit,
  • being able to make an ember,
  • a tinder bundle turn the ember into a flame.

It could be argued that this could be taken further and to master this you also need to know how to build a fire that fits your purpose and maintain it.

So the destination is lighting a fire by friction using a bow drill. The journey to get you there is more complex and needs to be mastered fully to be able to have mastered friction fire using a bow drill.

Keep It Simple

This process needs to be identified in any area you decide to master any area of bushcraft. Breaking these areas down is helpful when you are planning your goals.

I would recommend that you do a plan for how you want to develop your skills and knowledge in specific areas of bushcraft.

  1. Decide what time you can allocate to learning, practicing and developing new and existing skills.
  2. List Skill you want to learn and develop
  3. Make two lists in order of priority. One new skill to learn, a second of skills to develop.
  4. Start at the top of each list. Write out the process you need to learn and become proficient at.
  5. When you have half a dozen on each list with a process highlighted put then into a plan of how you will work through these task.

Think S.M.A.R.T. When setting Bushcraft Goals.

When you are planning how you will plan your time to achieve these goals bear this SMART system.

Specific – Bite sized chunks to create the process needed to master specific skills

Measurable – Document what you want to do so you know if you are on course to achieve your goal

Achievable – Make sure you can achieve what you are planning in the time you can spare

Realistic – When you are planning make sure what you are planning is realistic. Can you really achieve that goal. Do you have access to tools, location, finances etc

Timescale – Set a timescale that you will be accountable to.

If you look at how you will set your goals for you or children in this way bearing in mind what we have said about bushcraft Goals, motivation, enjoyments etc. You will not only learn new skills and maintain skills you already have you will learn more, do it quicker and enjoy it.

All I would say is be the best you can be and have fun. Here is a final Cliché. If something is worth doing it is worth doing well.

What Areas Can I work on?

This is a question I am asked a lot especially relating to children. Here is an example of where I start when working with children. It could be a starting point for some adults. It is a matter of assessing the people you are working with or yourself

In relation to children I would suggest that a good starting point is Tools and how to use them.

Tools and How To use Them.

With many skills children want to learn relating to bushcraft there is a need to use tools. These can range from knives to a compass. It is important to start with basic safety and how to look after and maintain tools. This needs to be done in an age appropriate manner. As well as using tools safely it is important that children know how to look after the tools so that they don’t get damaged. This can be as simple as how to look after a compass. Do not drop it or bang it and do not put it near powerful magnets. Giving children a good grounding in tools they may see or use and how to handle them gives them a good knowledge for when they start to learn task specific skills. Plus, it teaches them respect for tools and how to deal with them if they come across them on the streets

I recently took a group of seven years olds and was teaching about knives. Showing them various knifes, I showed them how to safely pick a knife up and pass it to each other. One boy started to get quite upset, saying he wouldn’t touch the knives because they were too dangerous. After explaining knives aren’t dangerous it is bad handling that causes injury, he took a knife and passes the knife to another child. Weeks later he attended a bushcraft course and helped make some fire sticks, using a knife, under supervision.

Record your goals, share what you plan to do.

Structure = Speed and Fun

No matter how old you are, or whether you are looking at your development, or that of another person, taking a structured approach is a great idea. By taking a structured approach to reviewing and planning your development of your bushcraft skills, will do several things.

  1. Speed up learning
  2. Improve quality the skills you learn
  3. Help maintain current skills to a high standard
  4. Be much more enjoyable and you all will have more fun.

In the next article I will look at some areas to look at in the coming year. This will help you maintain your current skill level, learn more new skills and as I said, have more fun.

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