Investing in yourself goes far beyond your finances, and it’s one of the most important things you can do. Here’s 8 easy ways to get started right now.
Last week many of you were incredibly gracious and spent a few minutes of your time filling out my reader survey. I’m so grateful to each of you for doing this because it really helped me to better understand where you’re looking for support – and where I can be the one to provide it.
It turns out (and there’s no surprises here) than many of you come to My Fresh Perspective looking for recipes, nutrition tips and inspiration for building healthier meals. Food has been a key part of this blog since the beginning, and you can rest assured, it’ll continue to be that way! But as we’ve discussed many times before, holistic wellness is about far more than just food.
One of the really common things I noticed across your responses was a need to dig deeper into personal development issues – especially those around goal setting, self worth and self confidence. I’m a huge believer that each of has the ability to build the lives we dream of, no matter how outrageous and far from current state that might be. Looking at life from the perspective of something you can design, as opposed to something that just happens to you, is incredibly inspiring, don’t you think?
Of course, an extraordinary life isn’t just going to create itself – there’s extraordinary work involved. Significant improvements don’t happen without significant investment, and one of the most valuable investments you can make is in yourself. From what many of you have told me, you know what you want, but struggle to find the time to make your dreams and desires a priority. Regardless of what stories might be going through your head right now about whether or not investing in yourself is worth the effort, let’s get clear on the answer to that question right away:
YOU ARE worth the effort.
Yes it may mean making sacrifices and saying no. And yes, it’s not always easy to do these things, especially when you feel like you’re already spread too thin. But that’s one of the brilliant things about self investment: taking the time to become a better version of yourself means you can show up to life in a more powerful way, making a bigger impact in the areas of your life that matter most.
When I hear the word investing, my mind goes to money. To be honest, that doesn’t get me super excited, and perhaps this is true for you too. But thankfully, there’s far more to self investment than your bank balance. There’s investing in your creativity, knowledge, confidence, health, relationships – and I don’t know about you, but when those things are working for me, life feels good! (Side note – finances are still important, as we’ll discuss in tip #6 below.) Investing in yourself is part of living life to the fullest, and it’s never too late to start. Here’s a few ways to do it – like, right now.
8 easy ways to invest in yourself today (because you’re worth it)
1. Look the part
Get dressed up, do your hair, shave your legs (even if it’s winter and nobody will see them), or do whatever grooming you need to do to feel put together. Even though it might sound like work, and even though you might not see anyone you know today, YOU will feel better and that’s what matters.
2. Book that doctor’s appointment
Or the dentist, or whatever other medical professional you’ve been avoiding for whatever reason. I’ll be the first to admit these appointments aren’t exactly my idea of a roaring good time and there’s a million other places we’d all probably rather be. But if you’re not caring for your own body (and that includes the preventative kind too), it’s going to be really hard to take care of anything or anybody else.
3. Give yourself a bedtime – and stick to it
I know it sounds kinda strange to call sleep an investment, but think of every minute as another penny that adds up to a richer, more fully-present and awesome you the next day. Like food, improper sleep carries with it a whole range of issues, from out-of-whack hormones and eating patterns to inability to focus and perform in every area of your life. It’s important, it feels great, and it’s free. What’s not to love?!
4. Make yourself a delicious meal
Before you get overwhelmed by the idea of throwing together a full feast, know that this doesn’t need to be gourmet or Instagram worthy. Even if all you do is smash up an avocado and spread it on toast, this counts! Taking the time to prepare and eat food in a mindful way is an experience that all of your senses can get involved in, and when we do, we develop a stronger connection with what our bodies are telling us. Choose to put nourishing food into your body, and it’ll reward you for years to come.
5. Learn something new
Enrolling in something at a physical location has its perks – as in, you actually have to make the time to get there. That’s often the bit that holds us back from starting anything new, but if physically traveling somewhere is a problem, or if you don’t have the budget or time to dedicate to this type of learning, there’s a ton of online (often free) options too.
For self-paced courses, check out Brit + Co (awesome for learning new creative skills!), Udemy, Skillshare, Coursera, Lynda, iTunes U, General Assembly, and of course, YouTube. No matter what you want to learn, you’ll probably find it in one of these places. As an added bonus, learning new things will give you a boost of self-confidence too!
Of course, people found ways to learn new things long before the internet, so don’t forget that you can learn from mentors, co-workers, friends, family, and even kids! There are tons of other free tools out there too, including podcasts, webinars, blogs, workshops, and lunch and learns. Start by deciding what you’d like to learn about (even if it has no productive purpose in your job), then dive straight in.
6. Check in on your finances
Gah #adulting is just so darn sexy, isn’t it? I know I know, but what’s really not sexy is finding yourself in a financial struggle when something unexpected comes up. I used to hold myself to a loose budget – emphasis on the loose – and didn’t do any sort of regular checking in on my finances until tax time. Thankfully “the unexpected” never came up, but I’m definitely not the risk-taking type and these days, having a stronger grip on my financial health makes me feel much more confident.
I’m not saying you have to go all spreadsheets-and-pivot-tables, but simply tracking your account balances at the beginning of every month and looking at where you’ve spent money is helpful for building your awareness. There’s even apps to help, including Mint which is one of the top-ranked and best known.
7. Keep your body active
That does not mean long hours of chronic cardio or HIITing your body so hard so often that you wake up feeling like you’ve been hit by a bus. What is does mean is doing what feels good each day, and that’s going to vary.
We weren’t built to be sedentary, nor were we built to be going balls to the wall all the time. Regular activity can help improve digestion, mood, energy, libido, and ability to maintain a healthy weight, all while lowering risk of disease. We all know how wonderful it feels to experience an endorphin high, so you’ll get both immediate gratification and long-term benefits.
Your body is an amazing, intelligent thing that deserves to be treated that way, so give it some love by listening and moving accordingly. That might be a sweaty spin class, a head-clearing run, a walk around the block or melting into a yoga mat.
8. Take 5 deep breaths
You might not feel you have time for ANY of these things today, and that’s fine. But one thing you DO need to do anyway is breathe. We’d all kinda be screwed if we stopped. Since you’re breathing anyway, do yourself a favour and make 5 of those breaths deep, full, intentional ones. You can do this in your car, at your desk, in your bed – heck, you can do it on the toilet if that’s the only quiet time you can find!
Think about inhaling through your nose, filling up your lungs, then your belly. Suck in a little bit more air and imagine it flowing all the way into your fingers and toes. Then imagine it changing direction, moving back up out of your belly, rising up through your lungs, and back out your mouth. Do it 4 more times, then get back to whatever it is you need to do. I promise you’ll feel a little more centered, a little more grounded, and a little more energized all at the same time.
I’d love to hear how you’re investing in yourself today, or how you’ve done so this year. If you have a moment, hop into the comments below and tell me what you’ve been up to, or the ways you plan to start investing in yourself (assuming you now feel motivated to do so!)