Do you ever feel like priority-wise, you're at the bottom of your own proverbial totem pole?
We live day in and day out, repeating the same routine over and over. We do what we can to impress our bosses, finish our tasks, and get our weekly paycheck. Always running, like a hamster on a wheel.
Life wasn't meant to be lived like this.
To most people, the word “investing” means stocks and bonds, or real estate, maybe gold and silver. You might read the headline and think, “investing is overwhelming. I have enough problems.” But investing in yourself can be easy, affordable, and rewarding.
Why Should You Invest in Yourself
Focusing on improving yourself and reaching your goals reverberates across your finances, career, health, and overall happiness.
Investing in yourself means putting in the time, money, and energy needed to improve your current and future life.
Even though you may not feel the impact right away, investing in yourself compounds over time. When you invest in yourself, you gain knowledge and skills to decrease the amount of time spent on trivial things. This way, you'll have more time for the important things that make you happy.
Here's eight steps you can take to invest in yourself to improve your own life.
1. Set Goals
Writing out goals is one of the easiest ways to start investing in yourself. A set of goals is like a grocery list for your life. It tells you exactly what you need to realize your dreams.
No more wandering aimlessly through the aisles of life – you now have an action plan and a clear destination. Start by spending just a few minutes each month mapping out your goals.
2. Get Healthy
Living a healthier lifestyle can help you live a longer life and reduce future medical bills. Maintaining a healthier lifestyle has many benefits. For one, your body will naturally feel better and less fatigued throughout the day.
The key is identifying what health routine works best for you. This may involve taking a morning walk or changing your diet. Getting enough sleep so you're not running on caffeine all day. Start by getting an annual physical, and listen to your doctor's advice. Then schedule yearly health checkups to track your progress.
3. Create a Spending Plan
Money is often wasted when we don't pay attention to where it's being used.
A spending plan starts by tracking how much you spend, save and invest each month. Some people use an app on their phone; others plug numbers into an Excel spreadsheet. Discover what works for you and consistently track your finances.
Once you know the real numbers, you can control and shape your spending plan. You get to decide what you spend your money on – but only if you're paying attention.
4. Reduce Your Debt
Debt is destructive. Not only does it weigh down on your relationships, but it also holds you back from reaching your goals. Worse yet, the longer you delay paying off your debt, the bigger it grows.
Once you have evaluated your spending plan, calculate how much you need to meet your monthly minimum debt payment and consider how you could use that money elsewhere. Getting out of debt can be difficult, but the benefits are well worth it.
5. Invest Your Money
Do you have extra money left over at the end of each month? It's important to save part of your income to keep up with inflation and accumulate wealth. Even better, once you have a savings plan in place, you can start to set aside money ahead of time, earmarked for investing.
Investing isn't rocket science; you can keep it as simple as you like. For some people, a savings account with an above-average interest rate is enough. For others, venturing out into the stock market makes more sense.
When starting out, it is crucial not to put all your eggs in one basket and to diversify to minimize your risk exposure. The longer your money is invested, the more it will grow.
6. Keep Learning
Successful people never stop learning. If you stop building your skill set, you'll be left behind as technology evolves. Thankfully, picking up a new skill is quite straightforward these days.
There are dozens of online resources available at your fingertips. Learning can mean listening to a podcast, reading a book, watching a YouTube video, or signing up for – and completing – an online course.
7. Start a Side Hustle
If you're like most American workers, you're feeling uninspired. Between last year's Great Resignation and the emergence of the “quiet quitting” movement, the cracks are starting to show.
But do you ever wish that you could turn a hobby into a business? A side hustle is just that. It's something else you do on top of your full-time job.
The goal of most side hustlers is to supplement their income to pay off debt, save for the future, or upgrade their lifestyle. Your side hustle could be the inspiration you need – and may even lead to quitting your ho-hum nine-to-five and taking things to the next level.
Not only can side hustles provide extra income, but they can also be a confidence booster that lifts your overall life satisfaction.
8. Invest in a Financial Planner
Financial planners are experts who can teach you how to budget, pay off debt, and invest your money. They can keep you accountable, help you avoid mistakes, and create a path to achieve your goals.
When searching for a financial planner, look for one who educates and guides you, not make all the decisions for you.
How To Start
Think Small. Don't expect to tackle everything at once. The best way to start is by choosing one or two things on this list and doing your best to implement them into your life.
Be Practical. There will be times when you forget or are not consistent with investing in yourself. When you feel that you need to focus more time on investing in yourself, revisit this list and break out of your routine.
Be Patient. Investing in yourself takes time and effort. Focus on the small achievements that you made. Over time, small wins can create larger accomplishments.
Reach For Help. For some people, investing in yourself can be challenging. The good news is you don't have to go it alone. When in doubt, find someone to support you and help keep you accountable. This person can be a gym buddy, friend, family member, or financial planner. Or all of the above.
Don't forget you are your best asset. It is important to use all your tools and skills wisely. Others' encouragement can give you a temporary boost, but you are the one who gets yourself out of bed and gets to work on time every morning.
Start by making small changes to your lifestyle today, and you can create a higher return for your future.
When you invest in the stock market, there's a possibility that you'll lose money. When you invest in yourself, you may make mistakes, but the knowledge you gain continues for a lifetime.