You’ll hear it said that the best investment you can make isn’t in stocks or bonds. Instead, it’s in yourself. But have you thought about what it really means to invest in yourself? I’ll give you a hint: It’s not about the money.
Most people think that “invest on yourself” is really just another way of saying “go back to school and get a degree” or “spend money on a conference”. And while you could do those things, investing in yourself is not about spending money or taking classes per se.
Instead, it’s about taking a look at your life to see what areas you could be doing better in and/or at areas you’d just plain old like to explore, and then taking the time to do so. And that’s not limited to formal education by any means. Here are 5 powerful ways to invest in yourself.
1. Daydream a little.
Start by daydreaming a little. What have you always wanted to try? Now’s the time to go schedule exactly that — whatever it is. Skydive, get up a half hour early every day to write that Great American Novel, visit a local attraction that you’ve always been curious about but never stopped in at — whatever.
Taking the time to do something that you’ve always wanted to do is a way of showing yourself that YOU are important. You’ll feel more energetic and just better in general. Like that old commercial says, you’re worth it.
2. Learn a new skill.
Yes, this could involve taking a class. (Why did I wait decades to finally start learning oil painting?) But it could also mean reading up on a subject using books from the library, or downloading a French podcast and practicing every day. Or it could mean joining a knitting club for beginners, and learning together in a group. Heck, it could even mean actively trying to improve your score in the latest smart phone game craze.
The point is to do something new that takes practice and effort. Exercising your brain helps keep it sharp, and makes life a whole lot more interesting.
3. Get over an old stumbling block.
We all have things that are holding us back, keeping us from being the people we really could be if we worked through an issue. Maybe you worry all the time, or are incredibly shy but long to have friends. Or maybe your checking account is constantly overdrawn and you and your spouse are always fighting about money.
It’s time for a change. Get counseling, get therapy, get whatever it takes to get overthat old stumbling block and move past it. It’s one investment that will be WELL worth it.
4. Make healthy habits.
Eat well, get enough sleep (no burning the candle at both ends!), and exercise daily (for example, by taking a daily walk.) Healthy habits give you the energy to DO the things you want to do, rather than being run down and sick. There’s nothing like literally taking care of yourself to improve the quality of your life.
5. Give yourself a break.
Finally, one of the most overlooked ways to invest in yourself is to just plain old give yourself a break. If you’re so over-scheduled that you’re constantly stressed out from rushing here and there, cancel something. You (and your family members) do NOT need to do everything. No one will be scarred for life if they aren’t busy every single moment. We all need breaks, and you are no exception. Massages and stuff are great, but simply doing nothing is an awesome break too. When was the last time you scheduled a do-nothing day?
So go ahead, pick at least one way to invest in yourself, and get started today. What will you do?