You are worth an investment. Yes, I am talking to you.
I know that if you are reading this you are typically the person to put your own priorities on hold when a deadline is looming, a friend is in need, your coworker needs help or a family member is sick. When something needs to be sacrificed, you are the first to bend.
But every now and then remember that you are the most important place to spend your time and money. Placing yourself at the top of your to-do list, and keeping yourself there, is crucial to your success. I am not just talking about formal education either. Have you ever invested in an extra hour of sleep and noticed immediately how much better you felt? Have you ever invested a little extra money each month into a savings account to afford that beach getaway and found yourself motivated and refreshed returning from paradise? What about that post workout energy and stress relief? These simple little investments into your own life, by default, end up helping everyone around you because you’re in a better mood, more focused and have more energy. It is not selfish in the least.
So if the portfolio of “you” needs a little bit of extra love, here are some ideas for investing in yourself:
1. Learn a new skill.Learn something new simply for enjoyment, or choose a skill that will help you become more qualified for your dream job.
This could involve taking an education course at the local college, but it could mean finding a great book or podcast. It might look more like joining a class in a creative field you are interested in like photography or pottery, and learning together in a group. It might be as simple as taking advantage of professional development opportunities at your current job.
The point is to do something new that takes practice and effort. Exercising your brain helps keep you sharp, your resume fresh, makes life more enjoyable and you might just be surprised what you learn and where your new skill set takes you.
2. Make healthy habits.When life gets busy and you’re burning the candle at both ends, exercise and healthy eating is typically the first thing to go. But being healthy is the best way to insure your other investments in life pay off, none the less you’re able to take care of your family and be productive at work.
Eat well, get enough sleep and exercise daily – you have heard it all before and you know what you need to do. Will this be the year you decide to take action? Taking care of yourself is the foundation for improving the quality of your life. I challenge you to make one small change.
3. Find youR why and what’s in your way.What is your purpose? Why do you, do what you do? Take some time by yourself and reflect on what you care about most deeply. Identify what motivates you and inspires you. Purpose is powerful. It does not need to be grand or eloquent; it just needs to provide direction for your decision-making. Try not to get stuck here (it is so easy to), just reflect a little and more forward where you can.
The next most powerful tool you can give yourself is identifying what is in your way. We all have things that are holding us back, keeping us from being our best selves -- the person you would be if you could see beyond a wall that you’ve built or push past a deep rooted issue causing stress and fear in your life. Maybe you worry all the time or you are incredibly shy. Maybe you struggle to trust others or are lacking confidence. Whatever it might be, knowing it and naming it, is the first step to removing the stumbling blocks standing in your way of progress.
4. Dream a little.Start by day dreaming a little. What have you always wanted to try? Where have you always wanted to go? What’s on your bucket list? What will make you smile or help you relax? Now’s the time to go schedule whatever that is. Taking the time to do something that you’ve always wanted to and is just for you is a way of showing yourself that YOU are important. And you are worth it.
5. Give yourself a break.
Nearly everyone I’ve ever worked with before has at one time or another felt run down, overburdened and stressed out. It is the byproduct of being a successful, driven and connected woman. 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 and rushing from one thing to the next without a chance to breathe or truly be present, cancel something. You (and your family) do NOT need to do everything. You’re not going to miss that big promotion or regret missing the school fundraiser if you’re taking care of yourself. We all need breaks, and you are no exception. Massages and pedicures are great, but simply doing nothing can be restful and awakening for your soul too. When was the last time you scheduled a do-nothing day?
No matter how you decide to invest in yourself or what you are hoping to achieve in 2018, my bet is there is a cheap (or free) option and a more expensive option. In today’s online world. There’s certainly no shortage of books, blogs, podcasts and other resources all promising to help you do the things you set out to do. On the other hand, you can find professional help in the form of a personal trainer, business coach or formal education course. So how do you know which to choose? How do you know when to spend your hard-earned money and when the DIY version will be just as good?
There might not be a simple answer, but I would suggest start by considering the value of external accountability and support. Sometimes we can be a whole lot more successful with someone laying out the steps, asking the tough questions, making sure we show up and giving personalized feedback.
So stop what you are doing right now, look at your life. What areas do you feel could be better and what do you want to explore? What are your goals for the New Year? Take some time to find the resources to help you accomplish them and remember you are your most important investment. After all, the best thing you can do for yourself is to invest in something that really matters — YOU.