“Invest in yourself” is one of the common pieces of advice from any guru. Just about any successful person will say that this simple phrase is the best way to change your life.
According to Jim Rohn, working harder on yourself will help you to become more skilled, more valuable, and more intelligent, while Warren Buffett said that the best investment anyone can make is in themselves.
Although you may appreciate the value of investing in yourself, you may wonder where to start. So, here are 20+ ways you can invest in yourself to change your life.
1. Set Goals
Goal setting is crucial for securing a better future. Decide where you would like to be in the future and work backward. This will help you to create small goals that will act as stepping stones to get you there.
Each week, write down individual goals to keep you on the right track and prevent distractions. This will be more profound than massive New Year’s resolutions. However, don’t just set your goals and forget about them. You will need to review your goals periodically to maintain focus and prioritize how you can spend your time.
Remember that time is your most precious commodity, so setting goals will allow you to effectively manage your time. If you’re struggling to decide which goals are the most important to get you where you want to be, divide them into important, urgent, and non-essentials.
2. Get an Education
There are lots of courses that can help you to learn a new skill. This can help you in your current career, inspire a change, or simply help you to identify a new interest. You could complete online classes, enroll in your local community college, attend a talk, sign up for a course, or just watch TED talks. Regardless of your reason for learning a new skill, following in the footsteps of successful people by always learning. This will help you to stay relevant in an ever-changing world.
3. Read Books
Successful people and some of the wealthiest people in the world prioritize reading in their daily lives. Creating a habit of reading will help you to transform your mind in some powerful ways; it stimulates the imagination, sharpens your critical thinking, helps you develop new ideas, and gives access to great thinkers.
Reading is one of the most inexpensive ways to invest in yourself. If you join a local library, you can even do it for free, all it will cost is your time. If you struggle to find the time to read a book, consider listening to audiobooks (check out our comparison of Audible vs. Scribd to find the best platform). You can enjoy a story or learn something new while you’re on the commute to work or doing your household chores.
4. Listen to Podcasts
Podcasts are ideal for the daily commute or like audiobooks to learn something while you’re completing your household chores. There are lots of podcasts around in a variety of topics, but try to look for podcasts that have a positive tone that can help you in your daily life.
Many podcasts can help you with your personal development, but there are others that are industry-specific and can help you gain insight into career or business development.
5. Save for the Future
Even if you some debt, it is a good idea to set aside some of your earnings for savings. These savings should not be used unless it is an emergency or you need to make a large, pre-planned purchase.
You will need to decide how much of your income you can save and deposit it into a separate account each month or week. Ideally, you should transfer your savings on payday, so there is no temptation to spend it.
Even a modest savings balance will provide a financial buffer in case of a major financial need, such as losing your job or becoming ill. You can also use your savings for a larger purchase or future goal such as retirement, a new home or buying a new car.
→ Related reading: How to Save $5,000 in a Year
6. Make a Plan to Get Out of Debt
If you have debts, an immediate investment you can make is to get out of debt as quickly as possible. While this can seem like a daunting prospect, eliminating your debt can quickly make you feel financially healthier. Take a little time to write down all of your expenses and income. This will help you to see where you can make savings to funnel the money into paying off your debt. There are different approaches to creating a debt reduction plan to determine the one best suited to your preferences and budgeting style.
7. Start a Business
Many people struggle with the day to day grind of the 9 to 5, so why not invest some of your time and energy into establishing a side business. In addition to providing additional income, it can also help you to build new skills and meet new people. While a side gig is a second job, if you enjoy what you’re doing and making money from it, it’s not likely to feel like working.
In the modern, digital age, there are practically limitless options, and who knows, you might be able to replace your day job with something you feel truly passionate about in the years to come.
Remember that you don’t need a massive amount of money to set up a business, even a side hustle with low start-up costs can have great potential for future earnings.
See these resources related to side hustles:
- 150+ Side Hustle Ideas for Your Spare Time
- 11 Low-Maintenance Businesses for Extra Income on a Busy Schedule
- 40 Exciting Hobbies That Make Money
8. Hire a Business Coach or Consultant
While it may seem daunting to find someone who can mentor you, it can have a serious impact on your future. To find a business coach or consultant, look at the people in your field of interest, who have decades of experience, and ask them some questions. It may surprise you how many experts enjoy talking to someone with genuine curiosity about what they do. A business coach or consultant will allow you to learn from common mistakes and benefit from the experience of an expert.
9. Attend Conferences/Seminars/Workshops
While it can seem like a cliche to network at industry events, attending conferences, workshops, and seminars can help you to make contacts and learn more about your field. These types of events not only allow you to meet industry experts, but you can also hear about the latest developments and techniques that can help move your business or career forward.
Most of us appreciate that traveling can expand the soul, so try to set aside the time and money to travel as often as you can. Rather than spending money on things you don’t really need that will just wear out, save that cash to create some once-in-a-lifetime memories.
Traveling allows you to go outside of your daily life, exposing you to new cultures, languages, and food. You can also broaden your perspective by meeting new people and hearing new stories. This will help you to see travel as an investment in yourself rather than just an expense.
11. Spend on Experiences Instead of Possessions
While it can be tempting to buy the latest gadget or fancy item, these possessions can quickly date and even weigh you down. While many people don’t like the idea of a truly minimalist lifestyle, with just the clothes on your back, consider spending your money on experiences rather than possessions.
As we touched on above, traveling, going to shows or concerts or other experiences can have greater value for investing in yourself compared to buying the latest must-have gadget.
→ Related reading: 15 Ways to Get Free Concert Tickets
12. Start a Bucket List
While the concept of a bucket list may be the source of many wacky movies, it can be a vital tool to invest in your personal growth.
In simple terms, a bucket list is a list of accomplishments you want to achieve during your lifetime. Many of these activities could be something that takes years to plan, but that will be a massive tick in your life box.
Whether you want to run the New York marathon or visit the Taj Mahal, you can really dream big with the things that you want to do with your life.
Your body is the only place you have to live, so you should invest time in caring for yourself. Regular exercise can not only help you develop a healthy body, but it can also promote a healthy mind and act as an effective stress reliever.
Exercising can lift your mood, boost your energy levels, help you to sleep better, and even prevent disease. However, it is also important to plan a healthy diet to complement your new exercise regime. Plan what you will eat in advance to avoid making unhealthy choices when you feel excessively hungry. Not only will this help you to look and feel better, but you’ll also increase the chances of enjoying a happier, fuller, and longer life.
14. Watch Less TV
Many people waste valuable time watching lots of television, particularly shows that have no real merit. Most of the shows on television teach us very little about being a better person, but there are still some shows that can be beneficial. Try to watch less television and when you do watch, try to discriminate what you put on your screen.
Even if you only watch ten hours of television a week, you can put this time to far more productive use. For example, you could learn a new language.
Mastering a new language can offer some tremendous advantages, affording you insight into different cultures. However, it can also help to develop your brain in unique ways. It has even been proven to reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. Therefore, it is important to learn a second or even third language. Choose a language that has always interested you or that you may need on your travels. Being bilingual not only makes you a more interesting person, but it can also improve your workplace value, increasing the chances of being hired. The great thing is that it has never been more affordable to learn a new language, and you can do it from home with a variety of online language schools and courses.
15. Eat Healthier
As we touched on above, eating healthier is the perfect way to complement your new exercise routine. Whatever type of diet you follow, from vegan to omnivore, there are many ways to make healthier choices. Try to limit eating fast food or junk snacks and make healthier choices, and you’re likely to find that your energy and productivity increase.
16. Learn to Cook
Knowing how to cook is not only a great skill to impress your family and friends, but it can also save money and allow you to eat healthier. Even the best restaurants tend to use oils, butters, and fats that may taste delicious, but are not the healthiest options. So, even if you’re not a fast food addict, learning to cook can make your diet healthier.
Cooking at home can also be far more budget-friendly compared to eating prepackaged foods. You can even save time by bulk cooking and freezing meals, so you’ll always have “convenience” food on hand for those busy nights when you don’t have time to cook.
17. Get Plenty of Sleep
Sleep is crucial for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Research shows that a lack of sleep can encourage illness, increase stress, and even impact your weight. A good night’s sleep can also help you to concentrate and feel more productive the next day.
Most of us appreciate that we can be a little grumpy with other people when we’ve not slept well, but a prolonged lack of sleep can have a real impact on our social skills and personal development.
Most people require seven or eight hours of sleep per night, but it can vary according to your age, sex, and other factors. To determine your optimum amount of sleep, set your alarm for 7 ½ hours before you want to get up, and if you don’t wake up a few minutes before your alarm, try going to bed half an hour earlier until you can wake without your alarm.
18. Invest in Good Friendships and Relationships
On average, we’re a reflection of the five people closest to us, so it is important to choose friends wisely. Although there is no scientific way to measure the effect of your friends, the type of people that you choose to spend time with will have a dramatic impact on your personal development. Whether your goal is to be rich, powerful, more productive, or positive, it is best to find people who share this passion.
Good friendships and relationships are crucial for a happy, productive life. A good relationship can provide support through the tough times and help you to celebrate the good times. When you have good relationships, you need to invest time into them. So, make time for lunch with your friend, take time out to visit your loved ones, and enjoy a romantic date with your partner.
→ Related reading: 30+ Fantastic Stay-at-Home Date Ideas
19. Let Go of Bad Friendships and Relationships
As we’ve touched on above, good friends are important in life but unmotivated, negative, or problem laden people can drain your positivity. If you find that you are the one who always compromises, goes out of the way, or otherwise has to work hard to maintain a relationship, it is likely to be a toxic relationship that is damaging you.
Spending time with people who run counter to your specific goals can have a detrimental impact on your personal growth. If you consider your friends and are aware that you associate with negative people, kindly and consciously reduce the time that you spend with them.
20. Find a Mentor
A mentor can provide encouragement, and impartial advice to improve your professional development. An industry expert can assist you with problem-solving and encourage reflection within a supportive relationship.
The prospect of finding a mentor can seem a little daunting, but if you’re attending conferences and other industry events, you can make contacts. If you meet someone interesting, who you aspire to, then take a chance and ask them out to lunch. You may be pleasantly surprised at how flattered they are at the prospect of mentoring you.
21. Plan Your Time
As we touched on with goal setting, your time is precious, so it is important that you use it wisely. Start by writing everything you do during the day and review it that evening. You may be very surprised at how much time you actually spend on social media, lying in bed, or simply daydreaming. Once you have audited your time, you can create a schedule to manage your time.
Finally, practice the art of giving. Donate financial gifts to organizations that appeal to you or those in need in your local area. Even if you don’t have much to spare right now, a small gift can make all the difference to those who are struggling. Many food banks and pet shelters appreciate the donation of canned goods, or you can give your time, volunteering.
Giving helps you to appreciate the things in your life that you can feel grateful for and helps to make the world a better place.
Most gurus agree that investing in yourself is the best way to improve your productivity and happiness, but it doesn’t need to involve lots of money. As we’ve explored here, there are lots of ways that you can invest in yourself in small steps to make positive changes and move forward towards your goals. So, start with a few of these items on our list, and you may be pleasantly surprised at how productive and efficient you are in a relatively short space of time. If you’re feeling a little anxious, start small and work up to the larger changes, taking everything at your own pace.
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