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5 Simple Ways to Become More Self-Reliant

At Exothermic, we define self reliance as a lifestyle where you can identify what you’re relying on and make changes where you see fit. Want to be a more self-reliant individual? Here’s five ideas to taking those steps forward.

Acknowledge what you rely on in life

Not everything you rely on is a negative thing, nor can any person become entirely self-reliant in every aspect of their life. We live in a global economy and we’re just human beings – we have vices and needs.

But one step towards become more self-reliant is just acknowledging what you already rely on. Simon Sinek’s Millennials in the Workplace video has gotten a lot of praise and a lot of flak, but one thing I did take away from it: I have become entirely too reliant on my smartphone. I didn’t even realize it until I listened to this outside perspective and noted my own behaviors.

To get some assistance with this step, ask a friend or family member. Ask them if they have noticed what your dependencies are because in all likelihood, you’ll have trouble seeing the forest for the trees. Here are some questions to think on:

  • What do I do when I feel stressed? What’s my first reaction?
  • Is there something I wish I could change in myself but have struggled with for many months or years?
  • Are there foods I wish I could stay away from?
  • What have my past new year’s resolutions been? Have I met them?

Start a food journal

Everyone eats food. Maybe you’ve already noted from the previous step that hey, maybe you rely a little too much on alcohol as a crutch in social settings. Maybe you rely on chocolate at the end of a hard day as a pick-me-up a little too often. Maybe you rely on frozen foods and convenience in lieu of food with substance.

Chances are, you have some bad habits but it’s hard to identify them. Take a serious look at what you’re consuming. One of the great examples in Charles Duhigg’s Power of Habit relates back to this and the importance of starting small, but has noted that food journaling is a keystone habit that affects a lot of other parts of your life.


I know. It sucks. It feels counter-intuitive to waste time and it’s very hard to sit still and not think about anything when there’s so much going on around you. But it’s a key part of helping your brain defrag.

Self-reliance comes in a lot of different forms – financial independent, self sustenance in terms of food and everyday necessities, survialism, self improvement and learning…I could go on and on. But to take any step forward externally, you have to manage yourself internally first. This step helps.

It’s really, really hard but it helps.

My therapist suggested using the MP3s on this site and I’ve followed it for years now. I started with the “Three minute breathing” exercise for one week. Then the “Six minute breath awareness” exercise for two weeks

Now I’m on the “Ten minute mindfulness breathing” and I play it from my phone every day in the afternoon. If I don’t meditate for 10 minutes each day, I feel it.

Make a mind map

Experiment with a mind map to identify the areas of your life where you can work on becoming a more independent, healthier person. If financial self-reliance is your goal, this is a powerful tool to use. Check out the overview on Lifehacker. It’s challenging to start, but it’s worth it.

Meditating can help you get to the point where you’ve sorted out your thoughts and what you rely on to bring everything together into a mind map.

Get on Goodreads

Most people want to read more on a regular basis but it’s a challenge. One of the easiest ways to a more self-reliant lifestyle is to read more and learn more. The “ROI” of reading is touted by start-up founders and past presidents.

Learning is a lifestyle. It’s one of the typically noted habits of millionaires and it never goes out of style. Consider getting on Goodreads or other sites encouraging reading habits.

Bonus points: check out Coursera. See what’s available. It can be like Pringles for the learners of the world but test the waters – pick a free class and try it out. If you’ve always wanted to learn more about programming, try it. If you’ve always wanted to learn more about nutrition and diet, there’s classes for that too. My favorite class I ever took was “Understanding the Brain: The Neurobiology of Everyday Life” – did it have anything to do with my career? No. But it was delightful and I learned more about the human body in the process.

Sleep & Exercise

Not at the same time. But these two basic components (along with your diet) affect you more than you think. If you want to become a more independent person, manage some of your basic needs first.

What has helped me has been keeping records of things – it’s a broad, easy step to take. I’ve willingly relied on my Fitbit for many years now in order to become more self reliant in other aspects of my life.

If you’re covering your bases in terms of your diet, your mental health and these two components of your physical health, any goal you have towards become less reliant on a host of different aspects becomes much easier.

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