For many people, asking for help is one of the hardest things to do. The desire to take care of oneself is only natural, but developing that ability takes a little more work.
Here are ten ways to be more self reliant.
One of the most important parts of being self reliant is determined by how you handle your money. Some people think that working to get a good job that pays well is enough but managing money is more about what you do with the money you have rather than having more.
While it’s fine to have a goal to make more money, first develop a budget where you can live with the money you have, or even a little less than that, so that you can make a point to save or invest.
You may be lucky enough that a “rainy day” will never come, but chances are it will, and you’ll be ready to bounce back with your savings.
Learn to Cook
In our fast food, grab and go culture a lot of people don’t really know how to cook, and are lucky if they can boil water and make a piece of toast. In truth, cooking really isn’t that hard.
Most of it is just a matter of following directions. No one says you have to be Julia Child, just throw together a semi-nutritious meal that will keep you going.
If you’re a really rookie, you can start with box meals, but learn to make similar dishes from scratch, or partially from scratch in order to cut back on sodium and preservatives.
Look for a cookbook that has easy recipes that don’t require a lot of time or too many steps in preparation. Until you learn to truly enjoy your time in the kitchen, time consuming preparation will make it all too tempting to grab the phone and order a pizza.
Grow Your Own Food
Most people don’t necessarily have the land at home to run a small farm in their backyard, and many don’t have a yard at all. Still, that doesn’t mean you can’t grow your own food.
Herbs are among the most popular edibles to grow. Basil, oregano, and dill are all good choice of herbs, are easy to grow and are things that you are likely to use yourself or will be able to give to others who are trying to cook more as well.
For something you can sink your teeth into, you can’t go wrong with tomatoes. Beans, peas, cucumbers and bell peppers can also be tended to without a lot of effort. For a treat, pick up a strawberry plant or two.
Even if you don’t have a yard, you can grow many of these things in containers and place them on your patio or deck.
If you want something pretty to show for your efforts, try to intermingle some marigolds that are believed to ward off bugs that might want to “share” your crop.
Develop a Plan B for Transportation
It’s common for teenagers to get really excited about learning to drive because they see it as a gateway to greater independence. And while learning to drive and owning a safe car are helpful, it’s important not to keep all your eggs in your back seat.
There are several reasons that could come up where you either can’t drive your car or would prefer not to.
Maybe your car will break down during a time where you cannot afford to get it fixed, or gas prices will rise to a point where you want to save money for a while, or you might have a minor injury that makes driving difficult.
But when this happens you still need to get where you need to go.
If you live in a city that has a good, reliable public transportation system it is a good idea to learn how to use it.
Learn the schedules and use the system a few times when you are going somewhere other than to an important appointment or to work.
Another alternative to the bus or train is to ride a bike or a scooter during your commute. A bike, of course, is great exercise and is an option for many trips.
If that isn’t an option, a scooter might be a good option since it uses less fuel and is inexpensive to maintain.
For some people, staying healthy is easier said than done, but the ability to move around properly is important to staying self-reliant. If you are overweight, make a commitment to losing as much of the extra weight as you can.
Find a way to exercise most days by doing something you enjoy, whether you join a gym, go for a good walk or run each day, or pop in an exercise video at home.
Eating balanced meals, and reasonable portions, is also an important component for staying healthy. Include lean proteins, and plenty of fruits and vegetables or whole grains.
See a doctor regularly, and be responsible about following any instructions that they give you.
Develop a Strong Work Ethic
Whether you are flipping burgers at the local fast food joint or managing a team of hundreds in a corporate office, a good work ethic shows that you are reliable and will make you less dispensable in the event that cutbacks should occur at your workplace.
With that said, it’s important to remember that no matter how strong your work ethic becomes, no one is ever completely indispensable. Counting om yourself isn’t enough.
You also need a strong network of people to rely upon. Have a list of references ready in case you do find yourself needing to find another job in a hurry.
Even if you feel relatively satisfied with your current position, take time to at least browse what else is out there and actively develop your interests and expertise in order to give yourself as many options as possible.
Be Generous with Others
No matter how self-reliant you become, it is nearly impossible to be in a position where you never need anyone.
You may tell yourself you are succeeding because of your own responsible actions, and that those who are failing are doing so because of their own shortcomings.
While this may be somewhat true there’s something to be said by giving others a break from time to time.
Learn to Use Tools
Whether you need to put together a piece of un-assembled furniture or tighten up a loose pipe on your kitchen sink, knowing your way around a tool box can save you time and money, and make you feel much more confident.
Start with simple repairs and watch others complete them if you can. If there are people in your life that tell you that you can’t use tools for any reason, i.e. – you’re female, too privileged, etc., do not listen to them.
There’s no such thing as someone who is too good or too dainty to pick up a screwdriver or a wrench.
Set goals and follow plans to achieve them
Part of being successful in life is knowing what success means to you. That means setting goals, both long term and short term goals.
If your long term goals require some kind of educational degree or certificate, set short term goals that involve getting the grades you need, working to keep your debt under control, and making networking contacts in your field.
While achieving a goal, large or small is a reward in itself, take time to reward yourself for a job well done. As important as it is to keep your nose to the grindstone, giving yourself the breaks you need helps you stay on track overall.
Step out of your comfort zone
Most people find they have mental blocks when it comes to doing things in their lives. While there may be things you don’t want to do because of moral reasons, there are also probably some things you’d like to do, but they make you feel awkward.
It can be something as simple as going to a movie by yourself or as wild and crazy as skydiving.
Life is filled with challenging and uncomfortable things that will require that you just buck up and do it. These things will not necessarily come at you on your terms.
Making a point of getting comfortable with a little discomfort will keep you more flexible and prepared for life’s challenges.
Matt Horns says
My biggest gardening problem is feral cats. They dig up and poop on everything that I plant.
Matt Horns says
Thank you Mike. I am, already on board with many of your suggestions. Several others, I need to do.
I have paw paw seeds.How and when do I plant them?
I all honestly I don’t know, but if you google papw paw seed germination, seed germination data base, you’ll find the exact method of making them grow.
Jeremiah Johnson says
Along the lines of plan B Transportation… My wife just got one of those Vanpool deals. She is head of it so she gets to drive the van as if her own to/from work (of course you have to have carpool riders). By the way her work actually pays for the service, and fuel. This is going to save us an easy $600.00 in fuel alone a month.
A $600 a month savings! That is awesome. If you really work to put that $600 a month to work on preparing your future you could parlay that into a bunch of money for retirement or other needs, wants or desires.
Hi Mike, Thank you for all the good advise, I enjoy reading the newsletters.
Nathan N says
Love your site and insights, always looking forward to what I can learn from you next.
When will we have the next opportunity to try the Business Center?
Thanks for everything
Duston is going to put a date on that page, I think we are looking at 10/25/13.
gary w says
Mike, every once in a while a person has that knack to be a teacher, helper and just all around GOOD guy, Thank you for YOU. Keep up the good work and as I start this journey I know you are there.
Thanks Mike, Dunston, and all your band! I always enjoy anything you all have to say. It reminds us that we can always do something to help ourselves and others!!!
Dora Dickerson says
I enjoyed all the information you listed and know that you and Mike are a great team. Keep up the great work.
Thank you from California. I enjoy reading all the information that is on your emails. I really liked your “how to” videos. Thanks for all your time and effort.
You may want to consider your news letter for only 2 or 3 days per week, not 5.
When you are a new subscriber to my newsletter you get a few more issues than others because we’ve got some older stuff that we want to make sure you receive. But I do appreciate your advice, I know what it’s like to keep up with Email.
Joanie Mosley says
you are NOT a dumb ol’ dirt farmer! You are doing a great service to those of us who haven’t (much) of a clue about gardening, and your “tips” are very helpful, so if that’s what you think is a dumb ol’ dirt farmer, then, sir, I’m right there along with you down here in Akron, Ohio 🙂
I appreciate your comments and when I first got online 15 years ago I realized that I might as well be the dumb ole dirt farmer lost in cyber space. Back then the geeks that inhabited the internet were flat out rude and disrespectful. But it seems that there was always somebody to come along help me when I needed help with technical issues. I guess a few felt sorry for the “Dumb Ole Dirt Farmer”.
THANKS MIKE….THAT’S A BUNCH OF GOOD REMINDERS FOR ALL OF US…YOUNG AND OLD AND IN THE MIDDLE !
Dulcie Andrews says
Well said Mike.
Glad this wasnt just another list of items to have in your bunker to survive the apocalypse That seems to be the trend for anything ‘self-reliance oriented’ these days. I was worried for a sec.
Basically, I think you just summed up how we were raised a couple of generations back– before it got so popular to do/work/active hobbies as little as possible and have as many impressive belongings/houses/autos as possible whether you actually owned them or not (credit debt).
Glad I wasn’t raised that way— most of my generation was (80′) Not raising mine that way either.
It kind of scares me that one day this generation of not accountable for their actions,over-privileged, self absorbed, constantly needing to be entertained teens will one day be running the world. ((((shudder))))
There is a movement of new young mothers to raise their children “the old fashioned way” oddly enough gaining momentum via the internet. I hope they will teach accountability, self control, and the basic self-reliance you mention in your artilce.
David Liddle says
I enjoy your site Mike. Thank you.
Yes, appreciate such balanced insight, but, I believe Dustin wrote that.
Christina, you’re right, this article was posted by Duston.