Prepping for Beginners: The 2022 Guide -
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Last Updated on January 5, 2022 by John Martin
Prepping for Beginners

Money and health emergencies – prepare for these and you’re life is dramatically safer. Both of them may have already hit you hard. In this “prepping for beginners” guide, let’s go deeper than the obvious and usual advice.

Even if you feel like you’ve “tried everything” to get out of a financial hole or a health crisis, I can say with 100% confidence: there’s something here to help you.

Why? Well, what exactly have you tried? A 1000 things? A 100 things?

If you’re honest, you may have tried 10 things. Or maybe 3.

In my war on these problems, I’ve learned there’s always someone worse off than you who’s turned their life around. And there’s always a lesson to learn from how they did it. And if you’re honest, you’ll admit this might be true.

What you’ll learn here will create real change for you if

You see, for some people, there is no help. To have more confidence and control over your life, you must be willing to…

Participate In Your Own Rescue

Are you willing to do that? To act on what you learn?

You found your way here. You’re looking and seeking, so I think you are.

Positive Mental Attitude for Survival

Yet many who give advice on beginner prepping don’t seem to have any idea where you’re at in life. Have you noticed that?

Sure, it’s a good idea to be more prepared. To store food and water and supplies.

But how in the world can you do these things if you’re broke and sitting in a wheelchair, wracked with pain? How can you not feel like a failure when you can’t seem to do much of anything to help and provide for your family? When you see and hear your loved ones hurting and you can’t help them.

When you don’t feel like getting out of bed. When someone has to help you eat your food. When the bills are piling up. When you’re overwhelmed with all the junk and clutter in your home, your mind, your life.

Fight Clutter to Survive

When you wake at 2AM with severe chest pain, heart racing out of control. Should I go to the emergency room again? No. I can’t afford to go again. Is it the meds, anxiety or a heart attack?

Well, this is the way I spent months of my life.

I know what it’s like to be at the bottom.

I wanted things to be better but every day, life pretty much stayed the same. It seemed like there was no time in the day, no money or energy in the bank to make any changes to my health or money situation.

Sometimes at 3AM when the pain in my legs was more than 8 out of 10, I’d listen to audio books to help me to fall asleep. And some books I’d listen to again and again.

And that’s where I learned…

The Powerful Habits That Unsuccessful People Never Follow

People follow patterns when they fail. People follow patterns when they succeed. Follow the patterns – get the same results they got. Success always leaves a trail of clues.

Remember those government stimulus checks back when? For a few days or so, people felt a bit comfortable again. But without good money habits, they were soon back in panic mode. However, what if you could learn good money habits?

It’s the same with pills. Pills might relieve the pain for a few minutes or hours. But when you learn the habits that lead to being healthier?

Phenomenally better.

I’m not saying you should stop taking your pills. This is totally a personal decision.

My mom would probably still be alive if she would have taken meds or trusted at least one doctor. And I’ve had friends who died because they tried to take themselves off their own meds.
Health Decisions

Doctors are often selfless and genuinely care. And yet so many people get such horrible health care. (Yes, some doctors and health experts give very bad advice.)

I have a friend whose doctor said sugar was the enemy. And yet the hospital saw nothing wrong with giving them sugary drinks.

With stage 4 cancer (near death), their life insurance actually paid up. Under the supervision of a better doctor, they got off all the pills and away from the conventional doctors. And they used the money to get better the natural way. And now they’ve been cancer free for almost a decade.

I’m sure you’ve noticed that so many meds have side effects far worse than what they’re supposed to fix. For example, why is it those anti-depressant drugs warn you about suicidal thoughts?

Isn’t it because they’re designed to just mask symptoms? To numb your pain? Temporary relief? But do any of these things sound like they’d really make you feel good?

All of this convinces me there are better things in life than pills. And I’ve seen that a few simple changes can make a huge difference.

But “patterns”? Sound suspicious. Like some psychology stuff that may not work.

The Surprising Thing Your Own Experience Can Teach You

Think of your own experience. When you make a decision to improve yourself (even a small one) and follow it through, don’t you feel amazing?

Our brains are wired to feel good about progress.

Power of Following Through

Even a little progress.

True, it isn’t always easy. But we’re going to look at some…

Hacks and Tricks to Make All This Easier

Here are 3 things that helped me make changes (in order of importance):

  1. State
  2. Story
  3. Strategy

An energized state of mind, a positive story you tell yourself and a clear strategy. Change all 3 of these and you can make astounding changes in your life.

How do you get into an energized state of mind? Again 3 things: physiology (the way you move your body), focus (what you choose to think about) and phrasing (the words you use to talk to yourself.)

The First Secret To An Energized State of Mind

One university took a group of clinically (and seriously) depressed people and did something kind of silly. All the people had to do was stand in front of a mirror for 20 minutes a day and smile big, from ear to ear.

After a month of this, their doctors said not one of them was still depressed.

We all have a victory dance we would do if we were really crazy happy and no one was watching. And we all need to put on some energizing music we love and dance that way more often. (Whether we feel like it or not.)

And if you want to make some real changes, you absolutely must move your body to be in an energized state of mind.

And throughout the day. Four sessions of 5 minutes on a rebounder/trampoline is much better than one 20-minute period.

By the way, if you’re seriously injured, you can sit on a trampoline and gently bounce yourself up and down. It works.

What You Focus On…

Most people go through the whole day focusing on what they don’t want. “I sure hope that check doesn’t bounce.” Or, “I hate how much hair I’m losing.” Or “I hate how fat I look.”

We need to focus on what we want. And stand guard like a soldier to our minds to make sure we don’t veer off into a rabbit hole.

Stress is really a lack of priorities.

When I first heard that, I knew it couldn’t be true. But then I wondered if it was. And then the more I looked at it, I saw that it is true.

Priorities? We can’t talk about priorities without talking about clarity. Which is a big part of what this phrase is saying.

You need to get crystal clear on what you want. It’s not helpful to just say: “I want more money.”

Survival Mentality - Hitting Goals

Or, “I want to be healthier.” Or, “I want to lose weight.” Be specific enough to make it exciting.

Have you ever set goals and then later find you’re not motivated or consistent? You need a clear target you’re excited about hitting.

And pick something doable. If you’re broke, it’s probably not going to help you to say, “I want a million dollars.” Or even, “I want a million dollars 6 months from now.”

But if you’re flat broke, how would it feel to have $500 saved up for emergencies? Or even that first $100? Or if you weigh 400 pounds, how would it feel to lose that first 20 pounds?

Doable and exciting.

But you can do more to ensure you hit the target. It’s not just about the pounds or dollars.

How will you feel when you reach these goals? Like you’re finally taking control of your life? Like you’re finally doing something good for your loved ones?

Way more exciting than just a vague wish to be better or more.

Survival Mentality - Ensure You Hit The Target

And way better than just a numbers goal.

EXERCISE: Think of 2 goals. Just 2 things that would make the next 3 months the best ever.

Write them down.

And then write down how you will feel when you reach these 2 things.

Reasons Come Before Results

EXERCISE: Write down 20 reasons you must reach for these two things.

Cross off 10 things from your list that just don’t spark a fire under you. And then cross off 5 more reasons.

These last 5 reasons should wake you up in the morning, ready to run through walls to reach these goals.

Frame these on the wall. Put them as the background on your phone. Keep them in front of you. These are your mission for the next few months.

Did you write anything down yet? Remember, nothing works unless you do the work.

Having trouble thinking of reasons? Well, what is it costing you not to change? What happens if you don’t change? Who do you care about? Who cares about you? Who else is a reason why you must change?

Some of these answers may be painful. But you can use these as fuel to propel you toward your goals.

Phrasing – The Words You Beat Yourself Up (or Heal Yourself Up) With

“If you tell a lie big enough and long enough, people will eventually believe it.” They say Hitler said this.

Well, many of us are being a Hitler to ourselves.

Survival Mentality - Dont Believe Your Own Propaganda

Propaganda and negative self talk will keep you from getting up off the ground.

When you fail (and we all do), how much better to say, “I’m learning,” or “I’m getting past this,” instead of “This is just like me. This is what I always do.”

In life, be very, very careful what you say after the words, “I am…” If you are in the habit of calling yourself a failure, or fat, or (insert derogatory word) then this is absolutely killing you!

Or we tell ourselves excuses. You know, the ones like, “I don’t have enough money,” or “I don’t have enough time,” or “I don’t have enough people to help me,” or “I don’t know what to do.”

Most people would be aghast and horrified if they would only take an honest look at how they talk to themselves.

How much better to say, “I am getting stronger every day,” or “I am becoming the person I need to be.”

Here’s one you can repeat over and over to music while you’re walking or jogging.

Or even just listening to music while you move:

“Every day in every way, I’m getting stronger and stronger.”

You can even think the first part to yourself as you inhale. And say out loud the last part as you exhale.

Okay, some days this will sound like pure baloney… but just try it. Even 5 minutes of this is like going to the gym and doing a power workout for your mind.

Personally, I like to take 4 breaths in (approximately 2 breaths per second – and 2 breaths per stride if I’m walking) and then 4 breaths out at the same speed. That way I’m deep breathing. This breathing part is optional but a powerful help, I’ve found.

So put on some music and start moving! (Physiology.) Write out your goals and guard your mind. (Focus.) And start talking to yourself in a way that heals. (Phrasing.)

These are vital for getting you in a positive, energized mental state.

How often do you have to do this stuff?

Well, how often do you want to feel like this? How often in life are you going to have to brush your teeth?

So make time every day for music and moving. For writing out your goals. For talking to yourself with positive words. When I make myself start the day this way, it’s almost always a great day.

Now we’re going to talk about the second of the big three…

Your New Story

Got your reasons written? Did you do the music thing? Not yet? Well, what’s next will make absolutely no real sense or impact you unless you’re in an energized state of mind.

EXERCISE: Write down what you’ve been telling yourself. The language, the phrasing, the beliefs. What you’ve said to yourself that you suspect has been holding you back. What do you catch yourself saying (or thinking) that’s negative?

Remind yourself that’s the story you’ve been telling yourself.

And now, write down what story you need to tell yourself to achieve the 1-2 goals you’ve written down.

Who are you becoming? What kind of person will you need to be to reach your goals? How will you need to think and act?

This is your new story.

Think back to a time in your life when you made a big change. Can you think of one? Okay, good. Now think about these questions…

  • What story were you telling yourself before… when you were unable to change?
  • What was the moment that changed it all? That triggered the change?
  • What made this something you must do rather than just something you should do?
  • What did you tell yourself that caused you to change?
  • And what did you keep telling yourself so your change lasted?

Really take time to think about these things.

You see, changing your story really can change your habits, your thinking, even your life.

And remember, what you come up with in an energized, resourceful state of mind? A thousand percent  different than just trudging through these exercises. Don’t judge this advice until you’ve really tried it. There’s no real power behind these exercises until you do them.

I know, because I used to think these things were a bunch of hooey. That is, until I tried them.

Now you’re ready for…

The Strategy That Makes It All Happen

Why is this item last? Many people have started walking themselves out of a nightmare – without a clue, a plan or a strategy. All they had was an energized state of mind and a new story.

For some people, the pain of doing things the same way was so great, they said no more. Never again. Others were utterly and completely inspired by something. They had no idea how they’d change, but they knew they must change.

However… eventually, a strategy is vital to change.

It’s your map.

“A genius without a road map will get lost in any country but an average person with a map will find their way to any destination.”

If you’re not used to thinking on paper, please do your best to do these exercises.

Survival Map

You wrote down the 2 goals you can reach in the next 6 months right? Think on paper. Unwritten goals are really fantasies with no energy behind them.

EXERCISE: Next, set a deadline on your goals. Write down the date you will achieve it. Write down today as the start date too.

Deadlines are really your friend. If you give yourself a day to get a days work done, you’ll be more creative, more diligent and more likely to get it done. If you give yourself a week or a month for a day’s work – it becomes a mental monster. And then there’s the guilt because you didn’t even start on it.

I used to hate deadlines. I dreaded them. But when I began giving myself deadlines, I started loving them.

EXERCISE: For each goal, make a list. Write down everything you can think of you’ll have to do to achieve that goal. Keep these lists with you at all times. Add to them whenever you think of something useful.
Survival Mentality - Your Strategy

These lists are worth gold.

They give you a powerful, visual picture, a track to run on. And they greatly increase your chances of success.

EXERCISE: Next, organize your list into a plan. Which step comes first, then next, etc. Set sub-deadlines if you have a longer list.

And then make a list of things that might interfere with you reaching your goal. What can you do to make sure these things don’t interfere? Write these down too.

And finally, resolve to do something (big or small) every single day (starting today) that moves you toward your goal. Make time in your day for it. Set an appointment with yourself to work on your goal.

Just before I go to bed, I think of the one most important thing I’m going to do the next day toward my goals. And when I wake up, I remind myself of (write down) that one thing.

And then (without looking at my 5 reasons) I write in my own words why I want to reach that goal for the day. And then I take a moment to visualize, to imagine what it will look like (and feel like) to accomplish that one thing.

Now I’m ready for the day.

If you do these things, you will gain momentum. And once you gain some momentum… even if you have an awful day, you have some hope. You know how this thing works.

Anyone can deal with a horrible day if we have some hope for tomorrow.

Performance Secrets of the World’s Greatest

Once you start working on your goals, don’t let yourself stop.

And check yourself often to see how you’re doing. Every day. Don’t let days and weeks don’t go by with nothing done.

Star athletes watch videos of their game play every day. That way, 2 bad days in a row are extremely unlikely.

Survival Mentality - Learn to Manage Yourself

And 2 bad weeks in a row? Impossible. They won’t let it happen.

Anything worth doing will demand you make this kind of effort. If you’re really making a change, the first 10 days will be hard. Just know that it gets easier from there.

Days 11-20 will be uncomfortable. It still requires discipline. But the hardest part is over. Just don’t give up.

And days 21-30? Even easier. But don’t quit! This is where the most transformation happens. This is where the new habit of working toward your goal becomes part of your identity. Where you see you are becoming successful. Where you really start enjoying the journey.

You see, motivation does not come before action. If you wait for motivation to get started, you will never start. Action comes first and then you feel motivated to take more action.
Survival Mentality - Action Creates Motivation

Your inner critic may never go away. Don’t wait until you stop feeling like a failure. An imposter. A hoax.

You have to start and then keep proving to yourself that you are taking action. That you are doing what you felt you couldn’t.

And confidence? It doesn’t come from being fearless. You will feel fear. You will have bad days. Confidence is not total success. Confidence is keeping on trying.

Specific Story and Strategy for Getting Your Money and Health In Order

Money stories broke people tell themselves:
  • This card pays me cash back (or insert promotional offer) so I’ll just get this new credit card.
  • If I’m approved for the credit/loan, I’ll be safer because I can borrow more if times get hard.
  • Things will be better in my future so it’s OK to put this on my credit card now.
  • I just looked at my bank balance right now and it says there’s enough money in the bank to buy this thing, so it must be OK to buy it.


What must you tell yourself to counteract these dangerous stories?

Habits people use to crawl out of the hole and get their money affairs in order:
  • Get familiar with Zelle or other money transfer services that allow unlimited transfers without fees.
  • If your regular bank doesn’t have something like this, get a bank that does.
  • Set up at least one additional checking account. We’ll call it “Profit.” (Set up at least 2 accounts if you’re self employed.)
  • Make sure these accounts have no monthly minimums or maintenance fees. (New internet banks are great for this.)
  • Every time you make a deposit in your regular main bank account, immediately take 1% of the money (round up to the nearest $5) and transfer this money to your new Profit account.
  • If self-employed, take 1% more (round to nearest $5) and put it in your second new “Tax” account.
  • This is how you pay yourself first.
  • Only take money out of the Profit account every 3 months: 50% for fun money, 50% for paying debt.
  • Don’t touch your Tax account money until you pay the IRS. This is their money.
  • Don’t increase the 1% amount until you have 3-6 months where you wouldn’t miss an extra 1%.
  • Start looking for how you can cut small expenses – not big ones – just a few dollars here and there.
  • Once you find ways to cut these expenses, put those extra $5 or $10 amounts in your new savings.
  • Once you get used to these habits, create more accounts.
  • Make an “envelope” type budget system where each account pays certain expenses.
  • If your food account is running low, eat out less.
  • If your entertainment account is running low, cut the cable bill.
  • Get in the habit of paying bills twice a month instead of on the due date. At first you may not have the money to do this. Use this situation as fuel to get to the point where you only pay bills every 2 weeks.
  • Learn and apply Dave Ramsey’s “Debt Snowball” and “Emergency Fund” concepts from his book Total Money Makeover.
Survival Mentality - Accomplishing Goals
Health stories sick people tell themselves:
  • I love the way I look (even though I am 400 lbs.)
  • I love tempting food too much to quit eating it.
  • I can’t eat healthy when I’m in this situation: ___.
  • A little bit more of this won’t hurt me.
What must you tell yourself to counteract these dangerous stories?
Habits people use to crawl out of the hole and get healthier again:
  • Learn how to use reminder/task apps like ToDoist to remind you when to drink water.
  • Work up to drinking half your body weight in ounces of water. (If you weight 200 lbs, drink 100 ounces of water per day.)
  • Drink a glass of water with fresh squeezed lemon (or lime) juice in it as soon as possible after you wake up.
  • Sip don’t gulp water. Your body can only process a cup every 15 minutes.
  • Every swallow is approximately an ounce of water. Go for 4-8 every time you drink.
  • Drink water throughout the day, not just when you get thirsty.
  • Drink less water for the 3 hours before bedtime.
  • Make it a goal to get to bed before 11PM. Lots of medical evidence this is true for everybody. Go to sleep 20 minutes earlier each night until you reach this goal.
Survival Mentality - Sleep is Essential
  • If it helps, set reminders on your phone to stop looking at TV and devices at least an hour before bed.
  • If you find yourself still looking at your screens, get an app that changes the screen colors to warmer hues at least an hour before bed. (Blue light tells your brain to wake up instead of sleep.)
  • Drink less water during the last 2 hours before bed.
  • As a bedtime routine, use an old-fashioned pen and paper to write what you’re grateful for, excited about and committed to doing tomorrow.
  • Lay your clothes out beside your bed so there’s no delay in getting out of bed and getting started.
  • For most people, you should set your alarm to get 7-8 hours sleep.
  • Don’t snooze. Wake up when the alarm goes off.
  • When going to sleep turn on the “fuzzy travel channel.” Only cute, fuzzy pets or happy travel thoughts allowed.
  • Whenever the same worries keep crossing your mind, tell yourself: “I’m excited about…” For example if you’re worried about bills, say “I’m excited about being debt free.” And have a pre-chosen, specific happy mental image, such as cutting up your credit cards. Switch your imagination to that scene. Slowly (once per second) count backwards from 5. 5-4-3-2-1… and then switch to a happier thought.
  • Repeat the last step as many times as needed to get to thinking only happy, safe, fun thoughts before you go to sleep.
  • Minimize the number of times you get out of bed before your alarm goes off. If you have to go to the bathroom, don’t check your phone.
  • Put your phone out of reach and disable notifications at night. Apple’s Clock app has Bedtime settings that only allow rings/notifications from your emergency contacts between your sleep hours.
  • Learn about the benefits of eating a big salad as the main course for lunch or dinner every day. You absolutely must eat raw, live food as often as possible.
  • Learn about the benefits of plant-based, alkaline and anti-inflammatory diets.
  • Learn about the benefits of deep breathing.

Why All This Matters

No question. This is the right place for you to start.

Almost everyone else brushes lightly over money and health and moves right to building a bug out bag or stocking your home for “the big one.”

Instead of worrying about your go bag, your supplies at home, your escape route, etc – all of which are vital – the place to start is your money and health. These are the first steps. And see how much mental training is involved?

And when you get these two in order, preparing always means more goals. Goals reduce panic and give you clarity.

  • I must stock enough emergency water in the home for my family.
  • I must pack a multi tool in my go bag.

And when you’re in a crisis:

  • I must stop this bleeding in the next 2 minutes.
  • I must build a shelter by dusk tonight.
  • I must start a fire in the next 2 hours.
  • If no help arrives in the next 3 days, I’ll head west for that mountain range.

But I’d guess more than 95 out of 100 people are facing serious money and health problems right now.

And these problems are at least 80% mental.

Survival is at least 80% mental. Your thinking has a huge impact on your outcome.

It’s one of the most powerful forces behind getting out of a difficult situation alive. Or it can be your worst enemy and sign your death sentence.

Every one of these mental things are learned skills. Practice them. You’ll have bad days. Everybody does. But you’ll have great days too.

You’re learning to be brave. Fear is inevitable. Brave people stare down their fears and press on anyway.

The Bottom Line

Have I listed all you need to succeed in life? Of course not! These are just a few things I found really helpful.

Is it really possible for you to get your money and health in better shape?

Entirely doable.

Sure, it won’t be easy. But by following the exercises above – along with your persistence and determination to participate in your own rescue – happier days are ahead for you.

How is this prepping for beginners guide helping you become more confident and prepared? Let me know in the comments.