Develop a Healthy Mentality - Mental attitude plays an enormous role in being self-reliant and overcoming adversity, so develop good mental health. I suggest starting with your spiritual side. Some suggestions: Develop relationship with God. Pray. Read scripture. Go to Church or Synagogue. Reconnect with nature, family and friends. Work on building new, positive relationships. Don't be afraid of "weeding out" toxic people from your life. Get rid of any addictions in your life. Reduce stress by taking up a fun hobby or two and learning to relax. Be a life-long learner by reading, taking classes, learning new skills...
Five Keys to Self-Reliance:
- Assuming responsibility for our own life
- Accepting responsibility for our mistakes
- Being informed
- Knowing where we're going (having direction/goals)
- Making our own decisions
Develop Good Health and Fitness - This is a touchy subject for many people, but improving your health and fitness is one of the most important things anyone can do. Next to building healthy relationships with God and family, this should be on top of survivalist's To Do list, even above stockpiling food, water and ammo. Lose weight. Get into shape. Stop smoking. Eat healthy. Visit your doctor, dentist, and eye doctor for a checkups.Make healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle a family obsession.
Reduce Your Consumption of Everything - Adopt a much simpler lifestyle. Live well within your means. Be a Saver, not a Consumer. If you had to, could you survive on half your current income? You may have to one day, so start living that way now. This will take some will power and a willingness to put aside the need for instant gratification. To quote Dave Ramsey, “If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else.”
Adopt an Austerity Budget - Yes, this probably means lowering your standard of living, but it needs to be done. Greatly reduce your spending, especially on lifestyle items such as eating out, entertainment, vacations, new cars, designer clothes, useless smart phone apps and so forth. Consider eliminating your cable or satellite TV, or at the very least subscribing to only the basic package. Downsize your cars to get out from under your car payments. Take leftovers to work for your lunch, instead of eating out all the time. Find no-cost and low-cost entertainment, such as a family game night, to replace an expensive outing to the movies.
Get Out of Debt and Stay Out - Use the savings generated by reducing your consumption of everything and adopting an austerity budget to pay off your car loans, credit cards, student loans, payday loans and other consumer debt. If at all possible, pay off your mortgage or at the very least refinance into a fixed rate.
Secure Your Current Assets - Make sure the banks and insurance companies you use are sound (there are rating services you can use, but most importantly ask questions and pay attention to the news). Put a portion of your savings into silver, gold and/or other hard assets. Again, pay off your mortgage if at all possible, or at least refinance into a fixed rate. Guard against identity theft. Pay your taxes on time and in full (the government has extraordinary powers to seize your savings, paycheck, investments, and property to collect back taxes).
For more on Personal Finance, see my article Prepping 101: Finances - Get Back to Basics, which has lots of tips and detailed information.
Become Pro-Active - Don't wait around for the government, your parents, union leaders, community organizers, or anyone else to take care of you. Don't sit around whining that life is unfair, or that someone else has it so much better than you. Don't fall into the victimhood menality. Learn to take care of yourself. Self-reliance is not anti-social or selfish. In fact, building self-reliance may be one of the most generous things you can do, because the reality is that you will be of no help to your family, friends or neighbors if you are the one in need of help.
Stock Up - Stock up on food, water, medicine, first aid supplies, cleaning supplies, personal hygiene products and other items. Imagine that, for whatever reasons, you are unable to buy anything from any store for a month. What will you run out of first? Second? What else will you eventually run out of?
You may be interested in my article Survival 101: Stockpiling as a Preparedness Strategy. Also, check out Peggy Layton's book Emergency Food Storage & Survival Handbook.
Become a DIY Person - "Do It Yourself" should become your motto. Learn to grow, make and repair things, and have the tools and supplies you need to do so. Learn to garden, and make sure you have all the hoes, shovels, seeds, rich dirt and other supplies you will need to do so. Learn to can and preserve food, and make sure your have the equipment and supplies you need. Learn to sew, and make sure you have the scissors, cloth, thread, needles and other supplies you need. Learn how to do basic home maintenance, including plumping and electrical work, and basic auto and small engine repair. Make sure you have the necessary tools and supplies.
Check out my article on putting together a Basic Starter Tool Kit.
Check out my article Preppers' Auto Maintenance Schedule.
Take Security Seriously - Own and learn how to use a gun (obeying all pertinent laws, of course). Learn situational awareness. Pay attention to what's going on around you. Take a course in self-defense. Consider moving if you live in a bad neighborhood or if your neighborhood is going downhill. Harden your home against outside threats (steps might include installing safety doors, dead bolt locks, bars on windows, additional outside lighting, getting a dog, planting thorny shrubs under windows, etc.). Discuss with your children how to deal with strangers in various situations.
A couple of books you may be interested in: