Being Prepared is a Lifestyle

Guest author James Walton is the host of I Am Liberty, a freelance writer, and a self-proclaimed prepper. The area of focus in James’ writing is preparedness and self-reliance. He’s writing for Tactical Dads on the topic of self-reliance as a lifestyle, having previously been a guest on the Tactical Dads podcast, which you can listen to here.

Dads, Stop Struggling with Self Reliance; it’s a Lifestyle not a Hobby

Ya know, Thoreau said, “A father leads the family, from behind, with all the bags and the dog.”

Ok, so maybe that wasn’t Thoreau.

If you feel the pressure like me you know that the world needs Dads more than ever. The father has become something more in the 21st century. The women have successfully run off to work. They are pursuing careers right alongside us. It would be a lie to say this hasn’t affected the family structure.

As father’s we have slipped into these cracks and found ourselves in new roles. By the end of the day both you and your spouse are exhausted and wondering if your spending time doing the things you should be doing.

The good news is there is a path that we all can benefit from. It is an affront to much of what we are sold by the marketing giants. It’s the path towards self-reliance and independence.

You may be thinking, ‘I am self-reliant and independent. I AM A MAN.”

To give you an idea of what I mean we will explore four lifestyle changes that can put you and your family on the right path.

Emergency Preparedness

2017 has been the year of the prepper. It dug into the America’s closed eye and forced it to see the potential for disaster. Whether it was the devastating effects of hurricanes, bullets, earthquakes, wildfires, hacking or the civil unrest that is only surging across the nation, the warnings are like neon on a dark avenue.

If you aren’t numb to it all then you probably felt the sting of your own preparedness failings. When you watched these people in peril or maybe you were wrapped up in one of these disasters yourself, I am sure you felt the need to get the cogwheels going.

The idea of “a little more prepared’ is the problem. You must think of your push to self-reliance as nothing less than a lifestyle change. If you treat emergency preparedness as an active inventory than you will drop it down the rungs of importance and before long there will be no batteries in the home, one working flashlight and no gas for the generator.

You will find yourself in the herds of humanity, days before a disaster strikes. That’s best-case scenario. What if we get no warning?

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You cannot run from physical fitness. Then again, if you truly ran from physical fitness you would be in better shape, right? Diet and exercise are not fads. This is lifestyle. You should be holding yourself accountable for what you eat and how much physical body maintenance you do a week.

When you think of self-reliance something like a squat might not come to mind. Well, if you don’t take care of your body then you will become dependent on doctors and meds. That is the opposite of what we are trying to achieve.

The best piece of advice I can give you in terms of fitness is to make it easy to access. The home gym is the best but we all cannot afford that. The gym membership across town is the worst. If your only method essential body maintenance is to make it to a gym 4 days a week, you are really gonna struggle.

Here are some ways I have made fitness more convenient.

Leslie Fightmaster – Fightmaster Yoga


I use the 60lb Werewolf from Onnit and a run of the mill 25lb bell. With swings, windmills, gobblet squats and presses you can knock a workout in 30 minutes or less.

Heavy Bag

When you have a heavy bag you are just one 20 minute round away from a big workout. The single 20-minute round is a technique used in Thailand at the Tiger Muay Thai camp.

Run the Woods

Get off the pavement and start running in the woods. Its way better for you. Avoid the break dust and the asphalt.

I do everything I can to get 6 days of hard work in a week. As a father this means I am running from 10-11pm some nights or I am slinging kettlebells from 4:30 – 5:30am. I write my workout schedule in my daily planner and its usually something like this.

  • Cardio 2x (Run 5 miles/Run Hill Sprints)
  • Yoga
  • Lift 2x (I do heavy basic lifts 5 sets of 5 reps)
  • Kettlebell or Heavy Bag

Commitment is all it takes. Change your lifestyle.

Food Production

Sounds like a silly subheading, right? Food production?

This goes back to lifestyle. If you want to hit all the check boxes, preparedness, health, fitness and so on you must look at food sourcing and food production. In other words, you need to start producing your own food. Whatever percentage you can. Even a small garden changes everything and here is why:

The kids see the food, they plant the seeds, they harvest the food and then they eat it.

Both of my boys eat raw kale off the plant, they pluck green beans off the vine. I have a 6-year-old and 2-year-old and we never have a negative conversation about vegetables.

Know where your food comes from and take ownership of what hits the kitchen table each night. Click To Tweet

You think livestock is out of the question? I was part of a small group that pushed our city council lessen restrictions on backyard chickens in our city. We had to attend tons of city council meetings, but we got it done.

I had egg producing hens for 6 months and it was amazing. I didn’t make the lifestyle commitment to their security and they got picked off by predators. This was more proof that these things are not hobbies.

Know where your food comes from and take ownership of what hits the kitchen table each night.

The Techno Counterbalance

The idea that we must get outside more is an idea that suffers from one serious opponent, the hundreds of thousands of dollars you have invested in your home. A good home does its job really well.  How many thousands or hundreds of dollars have you invested in your family’s goals to get outside and enjoy the world more?

Go back to lifestyle. Stop playing sports! Sports are not the same thing as getting outside as a family. Leave the balls at home and get in a canoe. Get a fishing rod in your hand and see some creatures in the wild.

The stronger the connection between humans and backlit screens the stronger the counter balance of the outdoors must be. Start hunting, hiking, fishing, bird watching, wildlife photography or whatever other activity gets you into the woods or on top of the mountains.

This nation has swaths of public lands that you can sleep on for free, build fires, walk around on and truly enjoy your time in the natural world.

You gotta go all in when it comes to the outdoors. Your family will love it. Leave the wife at home if she doesn’t get down with dirt and bugs. She will either come along in time or it will be a good deal of quiet time for her. She will appreciate that.

Carrying a Firearm

New York just happened. It’s not the first and it sure as hell won’t be the last.

Firearms are a lifestyle. If you are a half assed gun owner, you are a real problem. We have 100 million-gun owners in this nation and we take some surface of the sun level heat when one of those people gets crazy or irresponsible. Don’t be that guy.

If you want to carry a gun, carry it every day. Buy a strong belt, buy the right pants and the right holster or the right sling pack for the weapon. Keep that weapon loaded. There is no point in having a gun on you that isn’t ready to fire.

I know it’s scary to have a loaded gun on your hip. Dads must do scary shit. Be smart and be safe. If gun safety is part of your lifestyle you will become a great gun owner/carrier. If you just carry it sometimes and leave it around the house sometimes then you are setting yourself up for a spot on the evening news.

This is a touchy subject but all across America there are groups aligning behind very scary belief systems. There are classrooms of college students in universities with teachers like Jessie Daniels.

She describes herself as an expert on “the Internet manifestations of racism”

Check out this terrifying run of tweets this “professor” shot off last week.

The threats we face are real and they are far from just white people issues. We all know that, in 2017. I just use this as an example because I take umbrage with these issues because I am in the business of success for my two boys who are part of this type of targeting based on the lack of melanin in their skin. Your situation may vary, but you get it.

It’s time you learn how to protect yourself and your family.

They are Always Watching

Remember when you were just a little guy you thought every time you tripped or had a pimple on your face or got rejected by a girl that the world was watching. Nobody gave a shit about you. They didn’t care about your pimple. No one was watching.

Even less people are watching today because of cellphones.

Your kids are always watching. If you live a lifestyle of self-reliance and independence, they will see that.

This lifestyle change is as much about self-reliance as it is about creating a template for your children to fill in. One of the only reasons I started a garden in my first house was because I had one growing up. Kids are always watching. It’s a tremendous responsibility. It’s a lifestyle.

Create the man you want your kids to watch and then change your lifestyle to become him. It’s possible.