You are your greatest asset, which is why you should invest in yourself. No one else is going to move you towards your goals. Your goals can be having a successful career, a better work-life balance, or becoming a role model for others, investing in yourself is the surest way to reaching them. Not everyone has the same goals, so how you invest is going to differ greatly from your peers. Pursuing a higher education, striving for personal fulfillment through a creative outlet, and trying to be a great friend/parent/spouse are some examples for how to invest in yourself in order to reach a goal. Each one is an avenue you can take to enrich your life by giving purpose and meaning. People often jump straight to money as the goal, and it is a factor in happiness because it can offer some security, but it does not have to be the main focus. Investing in yourself should include all the steps necessary towards achieving a happy, fulfilling life. Below, I've listed a few ways you can invest in yourself, reach your goals, and hopefully find a little happiness.
1. Set a Goal, Any Goal
Do you want to be more active? Start small and go for a walk once a day, then work your way up from there. Want to go back to school? Look for classes that would interest you at a local college. You can plan how you are going to juggle life and school later, just start looking and get ideas turning in your head. Do you want to start a business? Look at other successful businesses in a field you are interested in and find out how they got started. Most had humble beginnings with ups and downs, so try not to be intimidated by how successful they are now. Would you like to retire? Read information on how you can achieve that based on your age and financial situation. There is so much information out there! Just getting started on the research can be the biggest hurdle. Once you set a goal and your gears are turning, don't let fear stop you from implementing. Fear of failure is our worst enemy and hinders so many of us from even starting. It may not work out, and that's OK. Learn from it, and carry that lesson onto your next goal.
2. Take Your Time
Seriously, take your time. Life is not a race and there is no finish line. This has been the hardest lesson to come to grips with. Going through life at breakneck speed is exhausting and unsustainable. I forgot to stop and appreciate where I was and how hard I worked to get there. Instead of facing anxiety and depression head on through self reflection, I used being constantly busy as a distraction. I thought I was healthy because I was always busy, other people admired my work ethic, and I appeared to "have it together". But in the end, I burned out and crashed hard. Please, don't make the same mistakes. It takes much longer to lick your wounds, recover, and forgive yourself. Try to take your time and give yourself ample space to achieve the things you want. Take a breath, be reasonable with what you can accomplish in a given amount of time, and enjoy the ride.
3. Do Not Compare Yourself To Others
This is especially difficult in today's culture of instagram models, counting likes, and seeing the lives of our peers through the filtered lens of social media. Looking to others is a great way to gain inspiration, but if you are already hard on yourself this can be a dangerous road towards feelings of inadequacy. Hear me when I say, You Are Enough. Period. As a human being, you have intrinsic worth that can never be taken away from you. Every single human being on this planet has inherent value, including you. It is so hard for us to accept our worth and believe it to the core. We always have something to prove; someone is always better, smarter, faster, richer. Social media glosses over every day human struggles, but we all have them. People take 100 selfies and post the best one, with enough filters to blot out the sun. Do not use social media as a tool for measuring your worth. Do not use other people's lives as a comparison of yours. Your strengths, struggles, wins, and failures are unique to you. They have their story and you have yours.
4. Remove Toxic People and Situations
The moment I realized I did not owe a single person a single thing was liberating. If someone in your life is wreaking havoc, creating constant negativity, and causing undue stress that interferes with your daily life, you are under no obligation to them. You are in control of how close you are to someone, even family. When someone chooses to engage in dangerous behavior, you do not have to participate or enable out of obligation or fear. If you are in a position to help someone struggling, that is great. But the moment they interfere with your inner balance, a line has been crossed. And I don't mean writing off your sister because you got into a fight, or needing to care for a sick family member. I mean truly toxic people who are energy sucking "vampires". You may even have a clear mental image of who that person in your life is. You may be right beside them. If your mental health is at risk due to the black-hole nature of a person in your life, you have the absolute power and ability to cut them out. The moment you do, you are free to forge your own path and set goals that work for YOU.
5. Take Care of Yourself
Once again, this is different for everyone. We are bombarded with generic advice like "eat better", and "have you tried meditation?" While those things are sound pillars for being healthy, what you need in a given moment to truly care for yourself may be completely different. For example, I'll go weeks hitting the gym, meditating, and eating right. Then all of a sudden I go into hibernation mode, spending my evenings binge watching Orange Is The New Black while eating Ben & Jerry's. The point is, I try to listen to my body and check in with what I need. Sometimes it's a solid health kick, sometimes it's a vacation, and sometimes it's just my couch. Get a massage, light a candle, go for a hike, lay in bed all day. Do all of these things out of pure love for yourself. Once you find that love and can follow it, moving forward with your goals will seem a little bit easier.
6. Be Grateful
Never forget where you came from, no matter how far you go. It can be easy for my modest success to get to my head, then I remember not all that long ago I lived in a trailer. Before that I was hungry. Genuinely hungry. When you find inner peace, success, happiness, and self love, please do not forget where it was you started from. Be mindful that others around you may look up to you, so please stay off that high horse. It can all be gone in the blink of an eye, anyways. Cherish it while you have it and love it for all that it is worth.
7. Help Others
If you are in a position to help someone, do it! Elevating those around you is the surest way to elevate yourself. Even just a few words of encouragement can lend strength to another looking to work on their own goals. Share your struggles, allowing others to see that they are not alone in theirs. Along the way, many have given you chances and have seen the best in you. Doing that for someone else is rewarding for both of you. Many choose large caring gestures, such as fostering a troubled teen. Others mentor and volunteer. If none of these are options for you right now, there are an infinite number of ways to help. Give a ride to a co-worker whose car broke down. Let someone under you take the lead on a project that has been dying for a chance to prove themselves. Encourage a family member to go back to school.
There are many opportunities to invest in yourself. You are able to pick the ones that work for you and help drive you towards you goals. If any of these tips were helpful to you, subscribe and share :)