Warren Buffett said it best himself when he said, "By far, the number one investment you can make is in yourself."
We’ve heard this countless times, but it often gets ignored and many end up drifting through life.
But why invest in yourself, and why is it important?
Perhaps you have big dreams but are unhappy where you are in life. You might feel as if there is so much in store for you and want to master your life. Maybe you talk vaguely about where you want to go and who you want to be and dream loosely about a different future for yourself.
When you learn how to invest in yourself, you are creating a way to kickstart your future.
Investing in yourself means you stop drifting through life waiting for things to happen; you learn how to take concrete action steps that bring you closer to your best, most authentic self.
A fair warning: investing in yourself does require time, effort, money, commitment, and the willingness to grow parts of yourself that are undeveloped or nonexistent.
You can start investing in yourself, today, even if you have very little free time and money. You first need to decide what action you can take for the sole purpose of helping your future self. What kind of minor change can you make today?
Take a moment to think about how it would feel to accomplish that goal. Maybe it is losing 5 or 10 pounds or giving your child 30 minute of undivided attention a day. Maybe it is paying off (for the last time) your credit card debt balance. Whatever your goal is, how will you feel when you have accomplished it?
But growth does not just happen on its own. You must be intentional, and you must take one step towards it. The best way to be intentional is to take the time to write down your goal, and schedule time each day to work towards accomplishing it. It is easy to get caught up in life, but if you see a reminder daily (such as in your bathroom, closet, or refrigerator door), you will be reminded of this intention.
Make sure to then dedicate 5, 15, 30 minutes (however much time you need) to focus on this goal on your calendar.
Treat this goal with the same respect you give your partner, your child, your employer, your client.
When you schedule time for you to focus on your goal, you are creating self-respect by following through on your promise to yourself.
Perhaps your biggest barrier to why you do not invest in yourself is that you are afraid you are not worth it.
If so, I invite you to lean into those feelings, and ask yourself these three questions:
What will happen if I do not invest in myself?
Where will I be in five years if I just wait for growth to happen?
How will I get to where I want to go if I choose not to invest in myself?
Once you have given some thought to these questions, it is easy to see how investing in yourself is like creating a roadmap to your dreams.
I compare investing in yourself to your finances: if you invest in something, you put the money forward, and you can expect it to give a greater return later.
So, how do you start? If you feel like parts of your life could benefit from a revamp, read on. It is never too late to invest in your future.
1. Get Out of Debt
Debt is stifling. It causes stress, holds you back from pursuing your dreams, and can negatively affect your relationships. It also costs a lot of money and can cause you to spend more than you can afford. I invite you to tally up the amount of money you spend just on debts each month…
Then, think about all the ways you could invest in yourself if you didn’t have to pay $____ in debts every month! $500? $1000? More?
That is a lot of cash that you could use to move closer to achieving your dreams. Maybe you could finally afford to take a personal development course, or get a new college degree, or travel to a leadership conference. You are worth it! Getting out of debt is difficult, but the rewards could potentially reap benefits for the rest of your life.
2. Don’t Just Save, Invest!
Investing your money is one of the best ways to truly invest in yourself and your future. The reward for financial investing is financial freedom – which is one of the best things you can attain in life. Whether you use a financial advisor or another avenue, I cannot recommend it more.
When you are getting ready to retire, there are no loans or scholarships you can take out to have more money to live comfortably. You are worth investing in, financially and personally. Your future self will thank you!
3. Always Be Learning
Consuming quality content can help you in every area of your life. But too often, over time, people become set in their beliefs. They stop searching for information or challenging their existing knowledge. As a result, they stop growing and expanding their abilities.
Learning can take many different forms. It can mean reading a book, listening to a podcast, or taking an online course meant to help you grow in a specific area of your life. It’s crucial to view learning as an inseparable part of your identity; not just something you do, but a core value of who you are as a person.
4. Be Smart with Social Media
Many of us live part of our lives online, and it is a wonderful way to connect with people, family and friends. But it can be toxic. Unfollow people who make you feel bad (whether it’s because you’re comparing yourself to their lives or because they post negative things) and engage only when you truly want to. If you need a break, take a break.
5. Set Goals
If you’re not taking the time to set goals, it’s like driving in the dark with the headlights turned off. You will not know where you’re going and you will waste precious time. Be sure to also set some time frames in which to meet them.
Your goals should be SMART goals:
Investing in yourself means making small, continual improvements that enable you to do more, be more, grow more, and love more.
These little improvements can lead to immediate opportunities and long-term positive change. They can help you earn more money, discover the career you always wanted, follow your dreams, and uncover hobbies that fill you with joy. They’ll improve your health and relationships and make you a more interesting person.
As you meet these personal markers of success, it will lead you to your new you. Higher confidence and self-respect will be your ultimate reward of these simple yet very effective steps.
So, how do you want to invest in yourself today?
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Content in this material is for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
All investing involves risk including loss of principal. No strategy assures success or protects against loss.