How to Invest in Yourself: 33 Ways to Forever Change Your Life’s Potential
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When was the last time you invested in yourself?
Taking time to improve on your skills and what you can offer to the world can be one of the most profitable decisions you’ll ever make.
Not only does it improve your career options, it also increases your overall life satisfaction.
Furthermore, having better options in your life is one of the secrets to finding long-term happiness.
Aside from investing in yourself, there are some specific habits that can secure happiness for yourself. Check out the book Happier Human that introduces you to 53 research-backed habits designed to make you happier.
Take this scenario, for example:
Back in high school, George and Tim were good friends. After graduation, George went to study abroad with his family, while Tim stayed in the city to get a degree.
After some years, George went back to the city because he got a job offer. While on his way to the company for an interview, he saw Tim having breakfast at a coffee shop.
He had some minutes to spare, so he went inside. Tim saw him and greeted him with surprise and excitement.
When Tim asked what George was doing here, George said he had an interview for an operations manager position for a sales company, which was a level higher than Tim’s rank in the company where he is working.
Amazed, Tim said to himself, “Our grades were almost the same in high school. We both graduated from college with flying colors. We have the same work ethic. What happened?” He asked George, “You have a degree in computer programming, right? Cool, now you’re in sales!”
“Oh, yeah,” George responded. “But I studied marketing and advertising through online courses. While studying, I was able to get a job as a sales manager in a small company. And since I’m a computer programmer, I created my own website and posted my portfolio there. The director I will be meeting today saw the website. That’s a chance I can’t pass up, buddy.”
The difference between Tim and George can be clearly seen in this scenario. What happened?
George invested in himself. He learned a new skill, got a side job, and ventured on blogging.
What does this tell you?
Investing in yourself is worth the time and risk. You will never know until you try. And unless you try, you will never reach your life’s maximum potential.
This article is about why you need to invest in yourself, and how to invest in yourself.
Let’s start with the benefits.
Why Do You Need to Invest In Yourself?
No more second thoughts. Here are the reasons why you should consider investing in you.
It gives you a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment. When you get to see the results of your hard work, you feel accomplished. By making small, positive changes that help you invest in yourself, you will be improving your future in the long run. You will be setting yourself up to be able to look back and be thankful for the small investments that you made.
Regardless of what your current situation is, it has been largely impacted by the decisions you have made in the past. As a result, you become happier in everything you do. Also, feeling a sense of satisfaction will inspire you to continue investing in yourself so you can reach your potential.
It keeps you motivated. Investing in yourself inspires you to try new things and make your dreams come true. Little by little, as you see the positive differences you are making in your own life, you will want to push even further to continue on your positive path of growth. Investing in yourself motivates you to move forward, and helps you break free and get out of your comfort zone.
The further outside of your comfort zone you get, the more you will realize your potential. As you continue to take risks and venture into unknown areas, you will reap more rewards. You will learn new things and learn to not be complacent and satisfied with mediocrity.
You need it to secure your future. Some jobs don’t last long, and most jobs certainly don't last a lifetime. No matter how great you are at your job, how perfect your skills are, or how large your network is, your job is not secured for the rest of your life. Progress is made in the world and with technological advances certain jobs become obsolete. However, this also means that new jobs become available.
There is no guarantee of long-term employment. One day, when you get old, you’ll realize that you should have learned more things when you were young, and kept up with the changing times. That way, you could have prepared for a more stable future. You don't want to stop and realize one day that you have to catch up on a lot of knowledge to get with the times. You want to remain on top of things.
It gives you the confidence to interact with other people. Learning new things is one way to invest in yourself, and investing in your knowledge can take several forms. When you are knowledgeable about certain areas of specialization, you become confident enough to speak out.
Read books, articles, and reports on anything that has to do with what you're interested in. Stay on top of the latest trends so you can always be prepared to talk about what is going on in the world with other people.
You’ll learn to take care of yourself and love yourself a little more. This usually starts with self-assessment. In order to be effective, a self-assessment has to take your values, interests, natural talents, and personality type into account. These characteristics embody who you are, so leaving any of them out won't give you an accurate assessment of yourself. Doing this will help you realize that there are more things that you can do, and unlocking them will help you unleash your potential.
It is easier now than ever before to expand your skill set, because of the resources available both online and in communities. Outlining your strengths and weaknesses can help you identify the areas in your life where you can make extra investments to build on your existing strengths.
Here’s a one-minute video that shows why investing in yourself can contribute to your career. It suggests ways to invest in yourself and reach your potential.
Now that you know the value that investing in yourself can add to your life, let's look at some effective ways to do so.
Why is it important to invest in yourself? Learn 33 ways on how to invest in yourself by following this infographic recap.
33 Ways to Invest in Yourself
1. Plan your days and weeks.
Time is very valuable, so make sure you manage yours well. If necessary, start a time diary in which you write down how you spend your time. For just one day, write down everything that you want to accomplish, and then keep a record of everything that you actually do. At the end of the day, see how your goals match up with what you actually did.
This is a revealing exercise because it clearly lays out how much time you spend on useless activities that don't help you work towards your goals. How much time are you spending on social media? How much time are you spending browsing the Internet, and not actually accomplishing anything? What can you do to increase the amount of productive time you make for yourself? This is the most effective way to actually start investing in yourself.
2. Start journaling.
Studies show that journal writing reduces the risks of stress, depression, and anxiety. It gives you time to reflect on your life and what you are grateful for, and it also provides you with a platform to record your innermost thoughts. Simply put, it can make you happier.
3. Develop a daily routine.
According to research, developing a routine helps cultivate good habits. It reduces stress, as it induces the feeling of safety. Small habits can add up to healthy routines that allow you to become your best self. Take a look at the things you do on a regular basis and try to perfect them to be efficient and beneficial to your life.
4. Set your long-term and short-term goals.
This can be divided into personal goals, career goals, business goals, and others you may think of. Setting a goal provides a direction, a clear focus, and a sense of purpose and motivation. If you don't take the necessary time to set goals for yourself, you will end up spinning your wheels, not knowing where you’re going, and wasting precious time.
Be sure to set specific time frames for your goals so you can keep yourself accountable and measure your progress. Make sure that your goals are SMART goals, meaning they are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-sensitive.
5. Organize your stuff and rearrange your room.
It is difficult to accomplish anything if you are working in a chaotic environment. Being organized gives you a sense of control over your surroundings. In addition to keeping your mind at peace, organization can help you gain energy to finish the things you need to accomplish.
6. Go to places you have never been before.
Traveling exposes you to various different cultures. Sometimes it’s not enough to just see the different places in your books—you need to go out there and experience them. Travelling is the perfect way to expose yourself to the vast diversity that exists in our world. From food to traditional ceremonies and holidays, it’s amazing the number of unique ways various ethnic groups celebrate life, and the customs that determine everyday living.
7. Spend on experiences rather than material things.
The problem with spending your money on things is that the happiness that you get from them quickly fades. This is because you quickly get used to having new possessions, and you will continue to raise the bar for even better possessions.
However, while experiences may seem fleeting, they actually become a part of your identity. Every experience you have is new and different from the last, and will change who you are, even if just a little. Instead of spending money on things that wear out, it’s better to invest in creating memories with yourself and your loved ones.
8. Have a bucket list.
List all the things you want to do in your life, and set a time frame on when you want to achieve them. If you don’t already have a bucket list, start one. This list of things that you want to do, see, and experience during your lifetime may be a living document that continuously changes, but you can start by writing 50 things down. Make sure that you’re crossing things off of this list on a regular basis.
9. Put some effort into how you look.
Invest in your appearance. While character is more important than appearances, it doesn’t hurt to always look at your best. The better you feel about your appearance, the more confidence you will exude. This means making sure that your clothes are up-to-date and free from holes or tears, and that they are tailored to fit you well.
10. Hone your set of skills.
The skills you have right now are already established. Now you need to develop those skills and improve them until you become an expert. Discovering your skills will help you build your working life around your strengths.
Look at the themes that often come up in your life, or the ways you choose to spend your down time. What do people come to you for advice for? Reflecting on these things will help you determine and isolate your strengths.
11. Learn a new skill.
The secret to success in anything you do in life is to never stop learning. Whether you've earned an advanced degree or you're just starting out in a new career, it’s always important to continue to learn new skills. It’s especially important to learn new skills that are transferable from one career to another. This ensures that you will remain marketable in an increasingly competitive economy.
Take new courses or apply for online classes. Increase your knowledge of things that interest you. If you want to expand your skillset but you're not sure where to start, look at this list of new skills you can learn.
12. Attend seminars, workshops, and other learning events.
Expand your knowledge by joining forums, seminars, and workshops. This helps you interact with other people who have the same interests as you.
Take some time to think about a particular skill you’ve been wanting to develop, or something you have been meaning to improve upon. What’s an area of your life that you know you can improve? Have you been interested in learning a skill, like computer programming or investment strategies? You can always begin learning online at no cost, and building your knowledge from there.
13. Read both educational and non-educational books.
Reading has a lot of benefits. Aside from stimulating your brain, it also helps in improving your relaxation response and regulating your heart rate. Books and audio books are both great resources for helping you build your knowledge and expertise in any subject.
14. Be a part of an organization.
Being in a group gives you a sense of belongingness. No matter what organization you're a part of, show up ready to participate, and be active in the mission or common goal. When you are a part of something significant, it gives you a feeling of satisfaction and fulfillment.
15. Study a new language.
Learning new languages can make you stand out from the crowd, particularly in your workplace. It increases the number of people you can communicate with in the world, and it might set you apart from other people in your company if you are the only person who speaks a second language, which can make you indispensable to the organization.
16. Read self-help and self-care blogs and websites.
Instead of spending your online time browsing through your Facebook or Instagram feed, wouldn’t it be better to read self-care websites to use your time better? Not everything on social media is necessarily a waste of your time. Reading significant material, whether it comes from a social media site or from a reputable source, can be an investment in your life. Reading first-hand accounts of other people's perspectives can be enlightening and truly helpful on your journey to your better self.
17. Practice being more confident.
To be more confident, you have to know the areas in life in which you excel. You have to know your value, which will give you something to say that other people will listen to. When you realize your worth, start practicing this skill by talking to your friends or family. Confidence is the key in communicating with other people.
You can invest in yourself by honing in on the value that you possess and can offer to other people. Develop the courage to speak out about the things you believe. The more confident you are and the more you can own the things that you have to offer, the more assured you will become in sharing your thoughts with others.
18. Improve your communication skills.
Relate this to #17. After gaining more confidence, improve your communication skills through practice. Doing so will encourage other people to talk to you. It will also help you maintain open lines of communication with your network of friends, family, and coworkers.
19. Bring out the creative monster in you.
People who have a creative outlet are more likely to be successful in life. Your creativity doesn’t have to go away with age. In fact, one's creativity peak often doesn't come until the age of 30 or 40. Creativity can be the inspiration for continuous learning and long-term activity. Being creative allows you to be inspired, enjoy yourself, and appreciate the world's beauty.
20. Keep your mind, body, and soul healthy.
Taking care of yourself and living a healthy lifestyle is one way to invest in yourself. Without a healthy body, you won’t be able to accomplish your goals. Eat right every day by fueling your body with essential nutrients. When you choose to eat organic and healthy foods, you will have more energy and feel better overall. While you may feel a sense of instant gratification while you're eating a cupcake, you will probably regret it later because it will deplete your body of energy.
You also want to make sure to get some exercise every day. Take the chance to get your heart rate up, even if you are just taking your dog for a walk or cleaning your house. Getting enough exercise will give you the energy that you need to take on the day because it will make you look and feel great.
21. Spend time exercising regularly.
Did you know that the number one effect of regular exercise is happiness? Exercise releases endorphins, which are hormones that trigger a positive feeling in the body. Even if you haven't seen the inside of a gym for years, you can start small by going for a walk every day, or doing some house cleaning or gardening. Anything you can do to increase your heart rate every day is a huge investment in your life.
22. Start sleeping earlier and waking up earlier.
People who get enough sleep are more productive than those who don’t. Sleep makes you feel great about yourself. If you wake up early in the morning, you give yourself time to plan your day before you start getting bombarded with interruptions, and you allow yourself to have some personal time to exercise, reflect, write in your journal, or do whatever you want in order to start your day on a positive note.
23. Make time for your friends and family.
More than money and other material things, you need to invest time in your loved ones. These are going to be the people who are there for you at the end of the day, if your business venture fails or you have a personal emergency. Don't put your work ahead of your family when it comes to your priorities.
24. Get rid of toxic people.
You can’t be with someone who keeps pulling you down. Help yourself stay positive by choosing your friends wisely. More importantly, stay with those who share the same values and principles with you—those who want to be successful and happy, too. You are a combination of the five people with whom you spend the most time with. Make sure your top five are people that you want to emulate and be associated with.
25. Handle your finances well.
One way to do this is by setting up a financial planner. Budget your income and expenses. You may also set a monthly savings goal if you wish. The key is to live within your means. Don't spend more money than you make, and don't spend money that you don't have. Pay yourself first, meaning put money into a savings account whenever you get paid, before spending it on other things.
26. Pay your debts and start saving.
You can pay your debts first before starting to save, or you can do it the other way around. In reality, it really depends on what works best for you. But either way, if you have debt, it is dragging you down. Until you’re free from your debt, your money does not truly belong to you.
Saving is also important so you can remain debt-free by paying cash for what you want. Having emergency cash and extra money for possibilities is a great investment in yourself. With a little financial planning and budgeting, you can live a freer life.
27. Invest your money into other things.
You can do this when you already have enough savings. Don't wait until retirement to begin your investments. At the very least, set up automatic withdrawals from your checking account into an investment account every month. You can invest in stocks, real estate, or other things that you are passionate about. If you have no idea how to invest in those other things, take this chance to learn how and gain new knowledge.
Making smart investments can pay off if you know what you're doing. Make sure to educate yourself before investing your money into something, or find a financial planner who can help guide you towards making the best decisions.
28. Get insurance.
You never know what will happen in the future, so the most practical way to be prepared is by getting an insurance plan. This will not only cover you, but your family as well.
The basic types of insurance that everyone should have include life insurance (if you have dependents), car insurance, homeowner’s/renter’s insurance, dental insurance, and health insurance. If you’re self-employed, it can be very costly to insure yourself, so look around at different companies before settling on one. Having insurance will protect you and your family, and allow you to have peace of mind.
29. Expand your network.
Successful people didn’t stay in their rooms waiting for luck to find them. They chased after their dreams by introducing their creations to different successful people who have come before them. The important thing to remember about expanding your network is that you never know where you might meet that one person who can make a huge difference in your world.
You may make a network connection one day and not think much of it, but months later you reach back out to that person because you remember something they said that seemed small at the time, but is now hugely relevant to your life. You can make connections in places that you least expect it, so never let your guard down.
30. Venture on small business.
As an addition to your regular job, you might want to start a small business venture to earn some extra income. With an ever-changing economy, it is ideal to have multiple sources of income. You can no longer rely on one job or one source of income to pay your bills. It might help if you side hustle a job you are really passionate about. That way, you won’t have to feel the pressure of working more hours during the week because you will already be doing what you love anyway. Having more control over your money will reduce your risk of losing your single revenue source.
31. Find an expert mentor.
Depending on your needs, look for someone who can inspire you and actually guide you through your journey to success. This can be a business coach or a personal mentor. Learn from their stories and find strength from their experiences.
A coach can help you put all of your strategies into action and be a partner in your success. It is their job to help you create and implement your plan for success so you can become your best self.
32. Keep track of your results.
Monitor your investments by checking your progress now and then. Seeing that you have accomplished something motivates you to keep on moving forward. Remember, if you create SMART goals, your goals will be measurable, which allows you to track them. Not only will tracking your results keep you motivated, it will also help you break big projects down into smaller, more reasonable tasks that will not become overwhelming.
33. Choose to be a happier human.
Invest in your happiness by staying positive in whatever you do. Be grateful for what you have, and what you still have to achieve. Remember that happiness is a choice. You can always look at the glass as being half full. Happy people never feel held hostage by their circumstances. They find reasons to be grateful, and they find solutions to obstacles they are facing.
Investing in yourself to change your life’s potential can be a lot of work. It’s not something you can accomplish overnight.
But then again, it is worth the effort. Remember the story of Tim and George.
In this article, we learned that investing in yourself is an important part of living a successful life. We also talked about some tips you can actually use to do it.
I hope that, with these tips, you can successfully reach your potential. Investing in yourself gives a powerful message to everyone—that you have the ability to achieve your goals. If you want to read more about how to set up and reach your goals, visit this post here.
Lastly, if you want to learn more ways of becoming happier, I recommend you check out the book Happier Human. There are 53 specific happiness habits discussed in detail so you'll learn how to apply them in your own life.
Cheers to investing in yourself and becoming happier!