Embarking on a journey towards self-reliance can be difficult. A beginner’s self-reliance guide can be the guidance you need to not only start your journey but have guidance along the way also.

If you are ready to chart a course toward a more self-reliant life but don’t know where to begin, this beginner’s self-reliance guide is for you.

What is Self-Reliance?

Self-reliance means being able to take care of yourself without depending too much on others.

It’s about learning skills to do things on your own, like growing food or fixing things. It’s also about using energy wisely and not wasting it.

Self-reliance teaches us to be strong and independent while still understanding that we need each other sometimes. It’s like being your own superhero, able to handle life’s challenges with confidence.

Read What Does Self-Reliance Mean to learn more about the principles behind being self-reliant.

Self-sufficient small farm

Assessing Your Current Lifestyle

Have you ever thought about how much you rely on others for things in your life? It’s okay to need help sometimes, but it’s also cool to be able to do stuff on your own! Let’s take a little journey together and think about the ways we depend on other people and things.

This is the first step in our beginner’s self-reliance guide.

Identifying Dependies on External Systems

First, let’s talk about food. Where does your food come from? Do you know? Maybe you get it from the grocery store or a restaurant.

But what happens if the grocery stores shut down? Do you have enough food preserved for your family for a long period of time? Have you ever thought about growing some of your own food?

Next, think about the lights in your house and the water that comes out of the faucet. Those things come from utilities, which are systems that help us.

But again, what if those services were interrupted? Could you make some of your own energy? Can you provide enough water for your family without a supplier?

Stocked pantry

Now, let’s talk about skills. Sometimes we depend on other people to do things for us because we don’t know how. But imagine if you could learn new skills and do more things by yourself!

So, why am I talking about all this? Because it’s fun to learn new skills, especially when it helps you to be more independent!

Take a moment to think about your life and see if there are any ways you can be more self-reliant. Maybe you can start a small garden, learn how to save energy, or practice new skills. You never know what awesome things you can do until you try!

Self-Relection on Current Habits

Take a moment to think about the things you do every day and whether you could do some differently. It’s all about becoming more independent and self-reliant! Reflecting on your habits is step two of our beginner’s self-reliance guide.

First, think about your daily routine. Do you rely on others to do things for you that you could learn to do yourself? Maybe it’s something as simple as packing a lunch from home instead of ordering out at work.

Maybe instead of buying those store-bought candles, you can make your own candles right at home. Small changes like these can help you become more self-sufficient.

Check out the video below to make your own candles!

DIY candles YouTube Thumbnail

Next, consider the things you use in your daily life. Are there ways you could be more resourceful and use things more efficiently? For example, turning off lights when you leave a room or using less water when you brush your teeth.

These small adjustments not only make you more independent but also help the environment!

Now, let’s think about the skills you have or would like to learn. Is there something you’ve always wanted to try but haven’t had the chance?

Maybe it’s cooking a new recipe, learning to season cast iron pots and pans, or even learning how to dehydrate food. Taking the initiative to learn new skills empowers you to rely less on others and tackle challenges with confidence.

Check out the video below!

Youtube thumbnail

Remember, becoming more self-reliant is a journey, and it’s okay to start small. Take some time to reflect on your habits and practices, and don’t be afraid to make changes that will help you become more independent.

Developing Basic Self-Reliance Skills

Learning fundamental self-reliance skills is like building a toolkit for life, empowering you to navigate challenges with confidence and independence. Developing skills is step three of our beginner’s self-reliance guide.

These skills serve as the foundation of self-reliance. They enable you to take control of various aspects of your life.

From basic tasks like cooking and cleaning to more complex endeavors like problem-solving and decision-making, fundamental skills provide the building blocks for self-sufficiency.

One of the key reasons why acquiring these skills is important for self-reliance is that it fosters a sense of empowerment. When you possess the knowledge and ability to accomplish tasks on your own, you become less reliant on others for assistance.

This independence boosts your self-esteem and gives you the courage to tackle new challenges head-on.

A determined woman in yellow shorts and a yellow tank top with her arms up

They also promote adaptability and resilience in the face of adversity. Life is full of unexpected twists and turns, and having a diverse skill set equips you to adapt to changing circumstances.

Whether it’s learning how to fix a leaky faucet or starting a fire without matches, these skills enable you to problem-solve creatively and overcome obstacles effectively.

The process of acquiring new skills encourages curiosity, perseverance, and a growth mindset.

As you continue to expand your skill set, you don’t just become more self-reliant. You also open yourself up to new opportunities for personal and professional development.

Resources for Learning Essential Self-Reliance Skills

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Food Self-Sufficiency

Food self-sufficiency is crucial for self-reliance because it provides a foundation of independence and resilience in meeting one of our most basic needs. Learning about food self-sufficiency is step four of our beginner’s self-reliance guide.

When you can grow your own food or source it locally, you reduce your dependence on external food systems. These food systems can be vulnerable to disruptions.

By cultivating your own fruits, vegetables, and herbs, or raising livestock, you gain greater control over your food supply. This ensures access to nutritious and sustainable options.

Woman standing in garden with freshly picked beets in her hand

Additionally, food self-sufficiency fosters a deeper connection to the land and promotes environmental stewardship by encouraging practices such as organic farming and permaculture.

Ultimately, by striving towards food self-sufficiency, you not only enhance your ability to thrive independently but also contribute to the resilience and sustainability of your community.

Resources to Start A Small Garden

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Beginning Herb Gardening

Water Dependence

Step five of our beginner’s self-reliant guide is all about our water dependence. Water dependence refers to our reliance on external sources for access to clean and safe drinking water.

It underscores the critical importance of water in sustaining life. It highlights the vulnerabilities inherent in relying solely on centralized water systems.

Dependence on external water sources can leave communities vulnerable to shortages, contamination, or disruptions in supply due to factors like pollution, drought, or infrastructure failures.

Water treatment tank

Therefore, it’s essential to prioritize water conservation, invest in sustainable water management practices, and explore alternative sources such as rainwater harvesting and water recycling to reduce our dependence on centralized systems and ensure access to this precious resource for all.

Rainwater Harvesting

Rainwater harvesting offers a significant step towards self-reliance by providing you with an alternative and sustainable source of water.

By collecting rainwater from rooftops or other surfaces, you can reduce your dependence on centralized water systems and gain greater control over your water supply.

This harvested rainwater can be used for various purposes, including irrigation, gardening, flushing toilets, and even for drinking when properly treated.

Rainwater catchment on the back of a house using two green metal rain barrels

By harnessing rainwater, you not only become less reliant on external water sources but also contribute to water conservation efforts and resilience in the face of water scarcity or supply disruptions.

Moreover, rainwater harvesting promotes self-sufficiency by empowering you to take proactive steps towards meeting your own water needs.

Water Purification Methods

There are several water purification methods available that can help ensure access to clean and safe drinking water, particularly in areas where water quality may be compromised.

One common method is boiling, which involves heating water to its boiling point to kill harmful bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Boiling is a simple and effective way to purify water. However, it may not remove certain contaminants like chemicals or heavy metals.

Pot of boiling water

Another widely used method is filtration. This involves passing water through a porous material or membrane to remove impurities.

Filtration systems can range from simple household filters to more advanced systems like reverse osmosis. Reverse osmosis uses a semi-permeable membrane to remove contaminants at the molecular level.

Water filtration system in house

Filtration is effective at removing a wide range of impurities, including bacteria, sediment, and chlorine. It may require regular maintenance to ensure optimal performance.

Chemical disinfection is another common water purification method. This involves adding chemicals like chlorine or iodine to water to kill bacteria and other pathogens.

Chemical disinfection is relatively simple and inexpensive. However, it may leave behind an unpleasant taste or odor in the water. It may not be effective against certain types of contaminants.

disinfection system of water treatment plant
Disinfection system of a water treatment plant

Ultraviolet (UV) disinfection is a more advanced purification method that uses UV light to destroy the DNA of bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms, rendering them harmless.

UV disinfection is effective, chemical-free, and environmentally friendly. This makes it an increasingly popular choice for water purification in both residential and commercial settings.

In addition to these methods, there are also natural water purification techniques, such as distillation. This involves heating water to create steam and then condensing it back into liquid form to remove impurities

distillation of water
Distillation of water

While distillation is effective at removing most contaminants, it can be energy-intensive and may not be practical for large-scale water purification.

Energy Dependence

Energy dependence refers to relying on external sources for the energy needed to power our homes, businesses, and daily lives. This is step six of our beginner’s self-reliant guide.

This dependence can leave individuals and communities vulnerable to fluctuations in energy prices, supply disruptions, and environmental risks associated with fossil fuel extraction and consumption.

Renewable Energy Sources

By embracing a more self-reliant approach to energy, such as investing in renewable energy sources like solar panels or wind turbines, individuals can reduce their reliance on centralized energy systems and take control of their energy future.

Solar panels and wind turbines

Living more self-reliantly in terms of energy empowers individuals to harness clean, sustainable resources that are readily available, contributing to greater energy security, environmental sustainability, and resilience in the face of energy challenges and uncertainties.

Reducing Consumption and Minimalism

Consumption, minimal living, and decluttering are integral aspects of self-reliance as they emphasize the importance of conscious consumption, reducing reliance on material possessions, and simplifying one’s lifestyle. This is step seven in our beginner’s self-reliance guide.

By adopting a minimalistic approach to living, you prioritize quality over quantity. You can focus on possessions that truly add value to your life while eliminating unnecessary clutter and excess. Having a zero-waste home is an excellent example of this concept.

Zero-waste home supplies

This mindful approach to consumption not only reduces reliance on external sources for fulfillment but also promotes self-sufficiency by encouraging you to rely on your skills, creativity, and resourcefulness rather than material goods for happiness and satisfaction.

Minimal living and decluttering also contribute to greater financial independence, as you’ll spend less on unnecessary purchases and prioritize investments in experiences and activities that enrich your life.

Ultimately, embracing minimalism and decluttering empowers you to live more intentionally, prioritize what truly matters, and cultivate a sense of self-reliance that extends beyond material possessions.

Tips and Resources for Reducing Consumption and Decluttering

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Emergency Preparedness

Emergency preparedness is a cornerstone of self-reliance. And it is step eight on our beginner’s self-reliance guide.

It emphasizes the importance of being proactive and self-sufficient in the face of unforeseen challenges and disasters.

Creating Emergency Plans and Kits

By taking steps to prepare for emergencies, individuals and communities can reduce their dependence on external aid and increase their ability to withstand and recover from crises.

This includes creating emergency kits stocked with essential supplies like food, water, medications, and first aid supplies. Packing an emergency go bag for a quick escape should be on your list of to-do’s also.

Emergency kit

It also means developing emergency plans and communication strategies to ensure everyone knows what to do in the event of an emergency.

Additionally, acquiring skills such as basic first aid, CPR, and emergency shelter construction further enhances self-reliance.

It equips individuals with the knowledge and capabilities needed to respond effectively to emergencies. These include power outages from bad weather and other natural occurrences.

By prioritizing emergency preparedness, individuals not only enhance their ability to navigate crises but also cultivate a sense of resilience, empowerment, and self-reliance that can serve them well in any situation.

Resources for Being Prepared

Posts To Read:

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Community Building

Step nine in our beginner’s self-reliant guide is all about building community. Community building is essential for a self-reliant life as it fosters mutual support, collaboration, and resilience within a group of like-minded individuals.

While self-reliance emphasizes individual empowerment and independence, strong communities provide a valuable network of resources, knowledge, and assistance that can enhance one’s ability to thrive independently.


By cultivating relationships with neighbors, friends, and community organizations, individuals can share skills, tools, and resources. This creates a supportive ecosystem where everyone benefits.

Furthermore, communities can pool their strengths and resources to address common challenges, such as:

Building strong community ties not only enriches individual lives but also strengthens the fabric of society. It fosters a sense of belonging, solidarity, and shared responsibility that is essential for building a resilient and self-reliant future.

Resources for Building Community

How To Get Involved: 6 Ways To Be Active In Your Community by The Farm Wife.

Financial Independence

Financial independence is crucial for a self-reliant life as it provides individuals with the autonomy, security, and freedom to make choices that align with their values and goals. In our beginner’s self-reliant guide, this is step ten.

Making a budget, saving money and investing are all part of your financial responsibilities.

When individuals have control over their finances, they are less reliant on external sources for support, enabling them to pursue their passions, take calculated risks, and weather unexpected challenges with confidence.

Financing tools

Moreover, financial self-reliance empowers individuals to prioritize investments in skills, education, and resources that enhance self-reliance. These include sustainable living practices, emergency preparedness, and entrepreneurship.

By managing their finances responsibly and living within their means, individuals can build a solid foundation for:

  • long-term stability
  • self-sufficiency
  • personal fulfillment

Resources for Creating Income And Smart Financial Pratices

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Mindset Shift

Mindset is the topic for step eleven of our beginner’s self-reliant guide. A mindset shift is crucial for embracing self-reliance as it involves redefining one’s perspective, beliefs, and attitudes towards independence, resourcefulness, and personal responsibility.

By cultivating a mindset of self-reliance, individuals develop the confidence, resilience, and adaptability needed to navigate life’s challenges with greater autonomy and empowerment.

This shift involves:

  • embracing a can-do attitude
  • believing in one’s ability to learn and grow
  • viewing obstacles as opportunities for growth rather than insurmountable barriers

A mindset shift towards self-reliance fosters a sense of ownership and accountability for one’s actions and outcomes.

New mindset, new results on pad

It empowers individuals to take proactive steps towards achieving their goals and living a more fulfilling and purposeful life.

Ultimately, by embracing a mindset of self-reliance, individuals can:

  • unlock their full potential
  • cultivate inner strength
  • pave the way for personal growth, resilience, and success in all areas of life

Resources for Changing your Mindset

Proven Ways To Develop A Positive Mindset – And Why It Matters by Psycom.net

Sustainability Practices

Step twelve of the beginner’s self-reliant guide has to do with how we practice sustainability.

Sustainability practices are integral to self-reliance because they enable individuals to meet their needs in a way that preserves resources for future generations.

By adopting sustainable practices such as reducing waste, conserving energy, and minimizing environmental impact, individuals reduce their reliance on finite resources while promoting long-term resilience and self-sufficiency.

Products for sustainability

Sustainable living not only enhances environmental health but also fosters economic stability. It does this by reducing dependence on costly and environmentally damaging practices.

Moreover, embracing sustainability aligns with the principles of self-reliance by empowering individuals to:

  • take control of their consumption patterns
  • make informed choices
  • cultivate a more harmonious relationship with the natural world

Ultimately, integrating sustainability practices into daily life enhances self-reliance by ensuring access to essential resources while preserving the planet for future generations. Be sure to teach your kids to live more sustainably also.

Composting, Recycling, and Upcycling

The last step in our beginner’s self-reliant guide is all about composting, recycling, and upcycling. These are essential practices that promote sustainability and self-reliance.

The task of composting involves turning organic waste into nutrient-rich soil. It reduces the need for chemical fertilizers and landfill space while creating a valuable resource for gardening and agriculture.

Recycling involves reprocessing materials like paper, glass, and plastic into new products, conserving natural resources and reducing waste.

Upcycling takes recycling a step further by creatively repurposing discarded items into new and useful products. It minimizes waste and encourages innovation.

By embracing these practices, individuals not only reduce their environmental footprint but also demonstrate a commitment to self-reliance by finding innovative ways to minimize waste and maximize resources in their daily lives.

Resources for Composting, Recycling, And Upcycling

Posts To Read:

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Environmental Benefits of a Self-Reliant Lifestyle

A self-reliant lifestyle offers numerous environmental benefits that contribute to sustainability and conservation efforts. There are two reasons why you should understand the environmental benefits of self-reliance that are an important aspect of this beginner’s self-reliance guide.

Firstly, self-reliance promotes resource efficiency by encouraging individuals to use resources sparingly and responsibly, minimizing waste and reducing environmental impact.

Secondly, self-reliant practices such as growing one’s own food, harvesting rainwater, and generating renewable energy reduce reliance on industrial agriculture, centralized water systems, and fossil fuels, thereby decreasing carbon emissions and mitigating climate change.

Environmental impact

Additionally, self-reliance fosters a deeper connection to nature, encouraging stewardship and conservation of natural habitats and biodiversity.

By embracing self-reliance, individuals contribute to a healthier planet by reducing pollution, conserving resources, and promoting ecological resilience, ultimately creating a more sustainable and harmonious relationship between humans and the environment.

Staying Informed

In this beginner’s self-reliance guide, you have learned so many aspects of self-reliance, but that is not the end of the journey. You must now stay informed going forward!

Staying informed is crucial for making informed decisions and navigating the complexities of the world around us.

Whether it’s staying up-to-date on current events, understanding new developments in technology, or learning about issues impacting our communities and environment, staying informed empowers individuals to engage meaningfully with the world and advocate for positive change.

With the rapid pace of information dissemination in today’s digital age, it’s essential to critically evaluate sources, seek out diverse perspectives, and stay open to learning and growth.

By staying informed, individuals not only expand their knowledge base but also cultivate a greater sense of awareness, empathy, and responsibility toward shaping a more informed and equitable society for all.

I hope that you have learned a lot from this beginner’s self-reliant guide. Moving forward, stay informed and keep striving toward a more self-reliant and fulfilled life.

Be sure to listen in on the Prepping Positively Podcast to learn even more tips to help you on your journey!

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