10 Ways To Invest In Yourself (I Wish Someone Had Told Me Sooner)
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Invest In Yourself Today
It’s incredible how many of us forget to include ourselves on our list of priorities. Or, on a list of any kind for that matter.
And then, at some point, we realize we don’t even really know how.
Or, we’re too afraid of facing the hard truth that the distance between who we are and who we want to be has gotten pretty large.
Or, we don’t even really know who we want to be.
Or, we don’t really understand who we CAN be.
Commence downward spiral.
I took a face-first nose-dive into this hard lesson this past year.
Time was one of my favourite excuses. You know, the good ole’: “I just have too much going on right now.''
But, I recently made a pretty big pivot in my life and there is time a plenty. Crap.
What excuse you going to whip out now, Steph?
What does investing in yourself even mean?
Excuses aside, choosing to devote time, energy, and resources to yourself can seem well…scary.
It certainly did not come intuitively to me. As mentioned, I personally have only recently really started walking the talk. Or, even reading about the walking and the talking.
It wasn’t until I fully grasped the notion that “investing in yourself” is really only about you choosing yourself. On betting on your ability to create a badass future for you, and for all those who choose to be empowered by you.
This has changed the game for me. Game. Changer.
It is not about being selfish (ps. It’s ok to be selfish sometimes), it’s about showing up for yourself and the world. Becoming 2.0 version of yourself will only make the people around you better too.
So basically, it’s selfish for you to not take the time and energy to focus on you right now. So, stop being so selfish would ya?
If you need further pep talking, you can find one here.
I’m serious. It will be the most rewarding and valuable investment you ever make.
It might involve waving bye-bye to some parts of you that aren’t serving you anymore but I pinkie promise that you will not regret it.
It doesn’t need to cost a lot of (or any) money, and it doesn’t take as much time out of your day as you think. It sounds really dramatic but it really just starts in your everyday ordinary decisions.
You can commit as little or as much as you want. The little victories matter big time and anything will move you further forward than you are now.
Will it be uncomfortable at times? Yes. Fact.
Most worthwhile things are a little terrifying at first. That’s what growth feels like, apparently. Who knew?
How it looks to you is going to be an extremely personal journey. No two people need exactly the same things to become their most badass selves. But, these are the concepts and tools that have helped me progress and are continuing to push me to be a version of myself I didn’t even believe could exist.
Personal Development: Get Real With Yourself
1. Set Goals: To Infinity and Beyond!
One of the greatest gifts you’ll ever give yourself is deciding what the vision you have for your life looks like.
This was very hard for me. I had never really sat down and truly thought about what I wanted for my life in the long run. “Go with the flow” was my favourite saying. I’ve discovered it was ultimately just my invisibility cloak for fear of failure and blah blah blah.
It took some coaxing for me to really allow myself to visualize where I wanted to be 1, 5, 10 years from now. Where I want to live, what my house looks like, what type of people I surround myself with, what I do for a living, and so on and so forth.
It shocked me that when I really got down to it, I actually had some pretty specific ideas about my vision. I bet you’ll be shocked too.
Once you’ve figured out where you want to be, what you want to achieve, and what you want to be doing 1,5, or 10 years from now, work backwards from there and set actionable and measurable goals for yourself.
They can be personal, professional, mythical, whatever. Goal set to your heart's content.
Check in with those goals regularly. Shift them and shape them as you evolve and as your vision for you life evolves. Remind yourself what you’re working towards monthly, weekly, daily. Whatever it takes.
Tools that helped me:
Visualization Meditations: Jason Stephenson’s Your Ideal Life, Goal Setting Visualization *There are so many. Set yourself a playlist on YouTube and just pick whichever one you’re feeling that day.
The Perfect Day Journaling Exercise: What would your perfect day look like if you knew you could achieve or have anything you wanted?
Write it down.
Develop an itinerary, and then find small ways you can incorporate your Perfect Day into your days right now.
Social Media Detox: Set aside 24hours or whatever time frame you can muster to spend no time on social media or technology at all, if you can handle it. It will blow your mind how clear-headed you are afterwards.
Even if you are not social media obsessed. You have no idea how influenced you are daily. Try and do one 24 hour detox a month, and stay off your phone first thing in the morning. Give your brain and intuition time to breathhhhhh.
Focus Mode Chrome extension: Helps me curb temptation when I still need to be on my computer but don’t want to be on social media.
Freedom: A cool app for your phone that also restricts your social media use for you.
2. Find a Mentor:
This one can be challenging for so many reasons, and it hung over my head for a long time as a very daunting task.
Where do you even find a mentor? If you do, how do you ask them? Do you pay them?
If you are fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to find and connect with someone who you feel is a good fit for you and your goals, that is amazing!
If you feel as though you don’t even know where to start, that’s ok too!
I had absolutely no idea where to even begin with finding or picking a mentor.
There are so many things you can do in the interim, or in search of a mentor:
Hire a coach or join a group coaching program: A good coach will help you develop and implement the actionable steps to take you towards your goals. They’ll be full of the tough love you might (definitely) need.
It does not necessarily need to be 1:1 either.
The connection and support you’ll find in a group coaching program will blow your mind. For one, you’ll realize you are far from alone in feeling unsure about your career/life goals, and you’ll also be immediately provided with a girl-gang of accountability buddies to push you forward.
I recently completed Erin May Henry’s Vision + Tribe program and I am a way better and a more purposeful person for it. It can be hard to spend money on things like this but I promise, if you go into it with the intention of coming out a better person, you will.
Not ready to invest the money in a coach? No problem.
Technology makes it so freaking easy to have mentors in your life. So if you want to ease into the concept, or narrow down what kind of mentor will suit you.
YouTube is overflowing with virtual mentors. There is someone for everyone.
They will allow you to see how life can be outside the bubble you’re living in, and will often times provide you with actionable steps to lead you towards that life. Everything from productivity, motivation and time management, to reading suggestions.
Erin May Henry, Amy Landino, and MuchelleB had me thinking about how I wanted to or could live my life way before I took the plunge to pay for a program. So turn off whatever rerun you’re watching right now, look up a video for something you’re struggling with, and see who resonates with you.
TedTalks are also an amazing resource to introduce you to people and ideas to look up to. A couple I’ve watched repeatedly include: Lori Harder’s Turn Your Struggles Into Strengths, and Brene Brown’s The Power of Vulnerability. But there are hundreds of videos, people, and perspectives to chose from.
Video not your thing? That’s cool.
Find a good podcast. There are podcasts suited for every industry, every personality, and every way of life these days. Find one you like, and then devote some time every week, day, whatever works for you to listen to what it has to teach you.
These are my 5 favourite right now.
Read the biography of a person whose accomplishments emulate the ones that you want and ARE GOING TO achieve. Learning from someone else’s mistakes and journey will A. Save you so much time, energy and money B. Open up your mind to new possibilities for what’s achievable.
3. Quiet Time: Just Shush
This one is a no brainer for me. I DARE you to interrupt my morning quiet time. Introverts Unite!
That is why I know how valuable it is. Setting time aside in your routine EVERY DAY just for you and your thoughts will change your entire perspective.
Take the time to check in with yourself and connect with how you are feeling.
Your intuition is trying to talk to you. Hello out there! You listening?
But, most often our lives are too loud to hear it or we’re just not ready to listen.
It’s amazing the things you will create from this place.
Throw in a social media detox and you won’t even know what to do with all the ideas that will be swimming around your brain.
My favourite quiet time activities include:
Journaling: Don’t think about it. Just write. Take 5, 15, 30 minutes every day to just get your thoughts onto paper or screen (if you’re a weirdo like that). Start by writing things you feel grateful for. You’ll be amazed at the things that just flow out of you from there.
There are also endless lists of journal prompts all over the world wide web.
So go buy yourself a pretty journal, sit down with your coffee, and just shush.
Meditate: I personally love YouTube guided meditations because A. Free B. Variety (Jason Stephenson is by far my favourite).
Get outside: Go for a walk, or drink your coffee outside (seasonal activity in my case). The fresh air will clear you brain.
Feed your brain: Brain Power, Baby!
Now that you have your goals sketched out, I bet you’ve realized you have some things to learn. And by no means does that mean you have to go back to school. Although, there are amazing options for online continuing education these days if that’s your thing.
Education comes in all shapes and sizes.
4. Read: Books Are Your Friends
The most successful people in the world read. A lot.
And there’s a reason.
Find the time to absorb a new perspective. Whether it be a point of view you’d never considered or a point of view that is completely relatable.
I cannot tell you the number of times a book has changed my life and the way I view the world around me.
Authors write their books from their place of genius in the hopes that it will guide the reader in some way (and make money obviously).
So, pick someone you admire and read their biography. I bet they’ve been through more than you think to get where they are today. What’s stopping you from doing the same?
Read about the industry you want to be in, or the country you want to live in. Read about setting goals. Just read.
Don’t forget to also read for fun. Getting your imagination muscles working is just as important for your life, creativity, and career as learning practical skills. Sometimes, even more so.
In today’s day and age you can buy, rent, or lease a book in an auditory, electronic or physical capacity. There is no excuse.
5. New Skills: Acquire Yourself Some
Now that you’ve read your way through the lives of all your favourite people, time to gather the skills needed to build your dream life. Or, just learn something new for fun.
Enrol in free webinars, or workshops. There are countless available these days. Be selective, but keep an eye out for one that you feel will bring you value.
Skillshare is one of my favourite places to go when I need, or am feeling inspired, to learn something new. They have everything from web development, to calligraphy, to photography classes. Although they do have a premium membership (click on the link to get 2 months for free), there is an amazing amount of free content available.
Again, YouTube is an amazing resource.
There are endless upon endless opportunities to learn new skills these days, and I have used an overwhelming amount of them.
All of this new information, all your new ideas, and all your new skills are going to skyrocket your confidence. Which will, in turn, make you a more badass human being. The true force to be reckoned with you were born to be.
Health: Your Body is a Magical Wonderland!
6. Diet: Eat your greens, kids!
I’m not going to harp on this too much because there is no way you don’t know the positive effects of a healthy diet at this point. You are just choosing to ignore it.
I see you over there with your Cheez-Its! Share!
In all seriousness, I know how daunting it can be to start cooking healthy for yourself at first but there are so many resources out there to help you. Just start slow and please do not be too hard on yourself.
My personal favourites:
Splurging on a GoodFood or HelloFresh box every once in awhile (I mix it up depending on the vegetarian recipes they each have that week). These give me new cooking ideas and give me a break on thinking about what to cook for almost a week (so much more helpful than you realize).
Pinterest is a beginners recipe heaven.
MyFitnessPal keeps me accountable, and allows me to keep track of all the nutrients I’m consuming and if I’m getting enough of each daily requirement. It also syncs up with my GoogleFit (or whatever fitness tracker) so your physical activity is taken into consideration.
A Water Tracker app reminds me to drink water every 2 hours and gives a daily goal of ounces to consume.
7. Exercise: Now Move Your Butt!
This one gets me all riled up!
Get off your butt and go for a walk. I dare you to find me one human that has said: “I regret going for that walk”.
Fresh air will refresh you, and knowing you are doing something good for yourself will lighten your mood. Want to ease into the leaving-the-house notion?
When I’m not getting my butt moving minutes outdoors I’m using apps like:
Doyouyoga.com (There is a fantastic free membership and a paid version as well)
8fit (Free version is fantastic and with a paid membership you will get meal planning recommendations)
Once again, YouTube, my friends.
There is something for every level of fitness, and every type of exercise.
The only thing stopping you is yourself.
So take five minutes to do mobility exercises from your office chair (your back and neck will thank you), and deduct 30 minutes from somewhere else in your day a few times a week to devote to moving that wonderful body that carries you around this world.
8. Sleep: PLEASEEEEEE.
For YEARS my sleep pattern was horrendous and I didn’t really have an idea of how much it was affecting me until I fixed it.
Ok, I got a puppy who doesn’t let me sleep past 5 am.
But, whatever works for you!
Sayings like “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” should not be taken seriously and are ultimately just bullshit.
Getting enough sleep is so incredibly beneficial for your mental and physical health. It is a brain, attitude, and body fixer upper.
A well rested human will be healthier, more productive, and let’s get real just more pleasant to be around.
If you struggle to sleep:
Chamomile Tea (my favourite) before bed will zen you right out.
Reading before bed will get your mind off your day.
Most importantly, put the damn phone away.
Boundary Expansion: Get Out of Your Bubble Time
9. EXPERIENCES: Living your best life sometimes involves leaving your house
It’s an oldie but goodie: spend your money on memories, not things.
It can’t really be quantified but doing new things is going to expand your mind and present you with perspectives you may not have considered before. You might even find yourself passionate about something unexpected.
Oh ya, you’ll have a lot of fun too.
Let’s get something straight though, curating “experiences” does not have to mean grand gestures and extravagant getaways (unless that’s what you want it to mean of course). It only refers to doing something that you may not do on a regular basis, something that pushes the boundaries of your comfort zone. Even if it’s just by a little bit.
Here are a few of my favourite experience collecting activities:
Travel (Near or far)
Dinner with Friends
Take a Class
Get out of the house would ya?! Talking to myself over here.
You’ll find yourself becoming a happier and more fulfilled person with every experience gained. I promise.
10. Relationships: Living your best life sometimes involves other humans
Apparently, we are the average of the five people closest to us. Ummmm, there was a time in my life where this fact would have been alarming.
It takes time to decide what types of people you want to surround yourself with but once you do, you will truly appreciate what a gift it is to be surrounded by people who will regularly push you to be a higher level version of yourself.
They will also push you to do things you never thought you could do because they see the best in you when you don’t see it in yourself. And, they don’t take your shit.
So, do yourself a favour and be selective.
It’s ok if you aren’t friends with everyone.
I promise you’ll feel way more connected if you choose quality over quantity in this department (talking from experience here, my dear).
So find people who are whatever you want to be more of.
For me, it’s important that I surround myself with open-minded, positive, ambitious people, who are working towards being the best version of themselves. For you, it could be completely different.
The word networking stimulates large quantities of anxiety for me. Don’t worry, you’re not alone.
But, be brave.
Go to seminars, join a group coaching program, even just find a facebook group in your field to join and put yourself out there.
Over time you’ll be shocked at the roster of people that will be there to support you in whatever you do.
They will help you grow, and you will sincerely enjoy your time with them.
Invest your time and energy into these relationships and make time to maintain the wonderful relationships in your life now.
Pep Talk time
For me, the reluctance to invest in myself stemmed from not feeling confident in putting myself out there and feeling like I wouldn’t have anything to offer once I did.
But it turns out fear isn’t a good enough excuse.
Don’t fear failure.
Choose to look at is as an essential step in your growth to full blown badassery.
You have no idea what you’re capable of! Hint: It’s a lot.