Your Future Depends on the Steps You Take Right Now
To become a musician, one must spend countless hours practicing their instrument, studying music theory, performing in front of a crowd, working on chord progressions, and experimenting with techniques and writing. It will require tens of thousands of hours of practice and commitment. It won’t just happen because they want it to happen.
It required dedication, effort, and hard work. I spend an hour a day playing the piano and have been playing since I was eight years old. I am nowhere near as proficient as I could be. The real greats spend hours of their day honing their craft. They wanted it. I just enjoy it as a hobby, a hobby I happen to have dedicated a lot of time and effort to.
An athlete does the same. They focus on eating a healthy diet, they work on exercising their body daily, and they focus on their sport of choice, whether it’s baseball, football, soccer, or track and field. While they might not realize what they’re doing at the time, they have from a young age realized that to get what they want they have to invest in themselves.
If you want your life to go a certain way, you must have a plan.
What you are capable of in the future will depend on the steps you take right now to improve yourself. Right now, the two biggest tools in your arsenal are your time and energy. If you direct those then you can be anything you want to be.
What Self-Investment Means
The most basic way to boil down the idea of investing in yourself is to call it the ultimate example of self-love. If you do it right, then it will turn into your most profitable investment. Often, we fall into the trap of self-sabotage.
We continue doing what we have always done and we convince ourselves that everything will improve eventually. It’s wishful thinking. No improvement will come without work, it won’t just automatically happen because you think it should be so. You have to work at it. You have to have a plan that details both short and long term goals.
There are a variety of opinions and definitions when it comes to self-investment. But let’s use finances as an example. When you invest in stocks and shares you are putting your money where your mouth is and staking a claim to something you expect to reap great returns further down the line. That is what self-investment is.
You are staking a claim on a better future, but it isn’t money you’re wagering. It’s your time and energy to seeking knowledge, adding to your toolkit, and improving yourself in meaningful ways to guide your life to where you want to be.
You can invest in many areas of your life and before we talk about the concrete ways in which you can do so, let’s first address the areas of your life where you can make progress.
If you struggle with your emotions and feel a lot of negativity quite a lot of the time, then this would suggest a need for emotional investment. You have to take an active role in emotional management to change the state of your emotions.
Anxiety and depression are, of course, chemical imbalances, however, there are plenty of ways you can help stave them off or at the very least manage any symptoms you experience regularly. If you do not have a diagnosed mental health disorder, then managing your emotions can simply be used to improve your mood and help you manage stress.
Meditation is one of the most effective ways to get to grips with your emotions. It isn’t just a great calming activity, it is also an effective way to process your emotions.
With knowledge can come great power, or wisdom, or whatever it is you’re trying to achieve by furthering your knowledge. It is far easier to succeed if you have taken the time to learn. People talk about self-development and self-improvement and to achieve a level of mastery over whatever it is, requires you to seek out knowledge.
Understand, knowledge isn’t always related to academia. The knowledge that you choose to pursue might be related to information about bettering your life. The point is that you should support yourself mentally by pursuing knowledge at every opportunity.
Your lifestyle should reach a certain standard and it’s something that you should work on constantly. If there is an area of your life that doesn’t reach a certain standard, then you will need to take steps to improve it. Only you are capable of determining which lifestyle is right for you to live. Only you can ensure that you have the necessary resources to support that lifestyle. Only you can ensure that the lifestyle you create is one that you enjoy.
Health encompasses both diet and fitness. You can be healthy but lack strength or endurance. You can be strong and mighty but lack good health. You must invest in your health and fitness. You can do that by investing in your body, through exercise, hydration, a good diet, and sleep. All of that, of course, will feed into your fitness levels. But you can zero in on specific fitness goals that support your overall lifestyle and goals.
No one is exempt from self-improvement, it’s just that many people choose to opt-out. That is to their own detriment. When you improve yourself, when you invest in yourself, you aren’t just impacting your self-worth and confidence.
You’re also making yourself far more valuable to the people around you. If you are bold enough to improve yourself, you will pave the path to amazing results.
Tips For Self-Investment
By this point, you might have a good idea of what areas of your life you’d like to invest in. Let’s review some of the most common areas for self-investment and the ones that may benefit you the most.
Your creativity has a lot of sway throughout your life. Creativity is what inspires you to have fun, it sparks your innovative side, and it’s possible for it to change your life for the positive. If you think back to when you were a small child, if you can remember it clearly, you were capable of entertaining yourself for hours.
It didn’t matter if you were alone, your imagination was enough to build a world and play in it. Your creative mind was your company. It tends to change as you get older, but that doesn’t mean you have to allow your creativity to diminish. It’s just that it often gets stamped out of us because most people don’t view it as practical, but it’s an important part of you.
You can set time aside to work on your creativity, whether it’s 30 minutes to paint as you will, an hour to write, or 15 minutes to focus on creating business ideas. You can even spend time brainstorming areas of your life to improve and how you can do it.
Or, how to improve your relationships. Creativity isn’t just for artists. It’s for everyone. You just have to find out what puts you in your most creative mood, fuel it and make time for it. If you get your greatest ideas while hiking through the woods, then set time aside to do that.
If you want to go places, then you need to have great confidence in yourself! It is what determines whether you have the courage to stand up for yourself when you need to. It will determine whether you are strong enough to walk away from dysfunctional relationships.
It’s what determines whether you act on the business plan you carefully crafted. It is going to be the determining factor as to whether you succeed in this life or not.
It is vital that you take time to invest in your self-confidence. Learn to build courage and learn to stand up and speak your truth. The more you believe in yourself, the more self-love that you have, the more value you offer the world, the more you will grow in self-confidence. This is the type of self-investment that inspires the people around you.
The more time you take to learn the more you actually learn and that’s when you realize just how much more there is to learn in this world. It’s important that you educate yourself. It shouldn’t stop just because you walk away with a degree.
There’s still a lot to uncover, about history, the world, and people. Don’t just educate yourself on your interests, expand knowledge into a variety of areas. Having as much knowledge as possible is empowering and it also helps you move forward in life.
Make time to invest in knowledge. Choose a subject to focus on and go for it before you move onto another subject. You can gain knowledge through videos, podcasts, books, and articles. There are so many free resources to draw from. And they encompass a wide variety of subjects in which to build your knowledge.
You might work harder than anyone else you know, but it won’t mean a single thing if you die before you get the chance to enjoy the fruits of your labor. This is why it is vital that you look after your health to ensure that your investments have time to flourish.
You grow older with every passing day and the choices you make each day will make or break your health. You have to eat well, exercise often, hydrate, and sleep. This is an investment in your health and by proxy, an investment in your future. By looking after your health, you are ensuring that you have the energy and mental fortitude to tackle whatever other self-investment plans you have. It’s key to personal gain.
It’s true that money will not buy you happiness, it’s also true that the love of it is the root of evil. That being said, money does make the world go-’round and we all have bills to pay and we want to play too. Financial independence provides a level of freedom that we all want to achieve. So, addressing your finances is an important part of self-investment. While money doesn’t buy happiness, having the money that provides you the freedom to chase what you want does bring with it a measure of happiness and fulfillment. That simply cannot be argued.
If you want to build wealth, then you can do so by taking small steps. You will have to change your lifestyle, and it might require a transformation of your money habits. Take 5-10 minutes daily to look at building your financial savvy and skills.
Take a long look at your finances and where you often overspend and know you make unnecessary purchases. You can still enjoy the lifestyle that you want without stopping for coffee and a bagel every day.
You can invest in your finances by investing in your cooking skills to avoid ordering in four nights a week. It just takes a bit of creativity; it’s a good thing you’re already working on that!
If you are looking for instant results in your life, then you may want to begin your self-investment journey with your relationships. That might sound like you’re investing in others as opposed to investing in yourself, but that isn’t the case at all.
When you invest in your relationships you are creating strong bonds, you are establishing trust, and creating a support system that will be behind you through the darkest times. This isn’t a business transaction, it’s the very basis of humanity.
We are social creatures by nature. We seek out a community. Relationships take time to establish and even longer to build strong, but they add value to who you are as a person.
Right now, you likely have existing strong relationships, so pouring more into those will yield faster results. However, it shouldn’t end there. It’s important that you build new relationships.
The results from building your relationships will last a lifetime, which is why I would consider it as an instant result. It may take time to pay off in more meaningful ways but deepening your bonds with people will provide you with an immediate mood boost and dip in your stress levels.
Having said that, you have to be mindful of the friends that you make and surround yourself with. You should be investing in relationships with positive, successful friends who are willing to chase their dreams.
They’re the ones who are going to help you continue to push to get what you want. Your social group absolutely influences how you interact with other people. If you feel low, uninspired, or negative, take a look at the people you spend the most time with. What influence have they had on your mood? Who is around when you feel at your best? Pour yourself into strengthening those bonds.
7| Play Hard
Think of playtime as self-care. It’s difficult to find fulfillment in life when you don’t chase playtime just as hard as you chase the work. You won’t find results if you’re all work and no play.
There is a balance to be found and making time for recreation is an investment in your mental health and overall happiness and well-being. How you play is entirely up to you. However, it should be doing things you enjoy, making time to laugh, and chasing whatever makes you lose track of time.
8| A Bucket List
Have you ever sat down to create a bucket list? Have you ever thought about the things you’d love to do and try before you die? We all have dreams and passions, but how many of us make an effort to write a list and tick it off?
Don’t wait until you hit retirement age to get started, start now! By starting the process now, you are making time to figure out to achieve the more challenging things on your list. For example, perhaps you want to visit every natural wonder of the world. Traveling is costly, so you should have time to put a plan together as to how you will make that dream a reality.
Visualization is an incredibly effective way to invest in yourself. It is the practice of imagining yourself far into the future to create the ideal life and version of yourself. It’s your opportunity to let your imagination run wild. You can’t just visualize it and expect it to happen. You have to trace that dream back to where you are now and plot your path. What will it take to get there? What steps will need to be made to achieve that visualization? Then as you take those steps that visualization moves closer to becoming a reality.
If visualization doesn’t sound like it’s for you, there is always meditation which we touched on earlier. It has a wide range of benefits.
10| Take a Time Out
It’s easy to get caught up in the idea that you should constantly do stuff. Self-improvement requires action, therefore, action must be constant. That isn’t the case. Just like it’s important to make time to play, it’s just as important to take a total time out. You need personal time that involves nothing but relaxation to achieve a state of calm and inner peace. Time outs help you rebalance your mind and find calm in a chaotic world.
11| Build Life Experiences
Routine is important, but life experiences are just as important. You have to build healthy habits and create routines that will keep you grounded, balanced, and in touch with your desires. Likewise, you have to make time to experience your desires.
Self-investment means creating some of those life experiences. Why not do something you wouldn’t normally consider? Think about new ways to dive outside your comfort zone and break out of the box you’ve been living in. Fuel life experiences with moments you will always remember.
12| Know Your Path
Right now, you know exactly where you are in this life. You should be able to point your finger to the areas of your life where you feel deeply satisfied, mildly satisfied, or downright uncomfortable. That’s where the self-investment journey begins and ends.
It starts right here with you. It’s up to you to decide what steps to take to improve the areas of your life in the most disrepair. What do you want to improve? What challenges do you want to undertake and overcome? It might be emotional, but you cannot practice self-investment without having a good idea of the path you want to follow.
We already touched on the importance of gaining knowledge, but there is something to be said for reading for pleasure as well. Some people might shame you for a profound interest in romance novels, but any reading you do sparks your imagination, helps you develop your creativity, widens your vocabulary, and it’s stress-relieving, too.
Reading transports you to new worlds, it makes you think of things differently, put yourself in someone else’s shoes, view the world from a different perspective. It’s all a wonderful exercise in empathy.
Generally, when people talk about future-proofing it’s for technology. It works for your life too. You don’t have to wait until you’re 50 to consider your retirement, you can start saving now. You don’t have to wait until you reach retirement to consider investing, that’s something you can look into now.
Your future might be years away, but the planning starts right now.
When you visualize that lifestyle of your future self, how do you imagine your finances will fall into place to make that happen? That is up to you to start dealing with right now and by making financial investments in yourself right now, you are securing your financial freedom in the future.
Do not underestimate the power of a great mentor. Just because you are focused on self-investment does not mean that you have to walk that path alone. A mentor or coach can walk alongside you, whether it’s part of the way or for years to come.
This is someone who will help you find your way when you stray from the path you have set. It’s the person who will pick you up, dust you off, and motivate you when you feel discouraged.
We all need an advocate and a mentor can be that person for you. That is certainly a steep investment, but it’s for you. Speaking of assistance on your path to success, you might want to enlist a financial planner as well.
We don’t know what’s around the corner. It’s impossible to predict when a broken leg will have us sitting on the sidelines for a couple of months or a car accident puts us out of the game for even longer.
Sadly, we’re all one accident away from total ruin. Insurance is for everyone. You should invest in yourself by investing in health insurance, home insurance, accident insurance, and life insurance. Peace of mind is an important piece of the future pie you’re putting the ingredients together for. Anything can happen, but you can put plans in place now to protect your future regardless.
17| Streams Of Income
If you lost your job tomorrow what would you do? Start considering how you can create multiple streams of income. The economy isn’t stable enough to ignore. There are so many people working multiple jobs because that’s the world we live in.
One job can’t pay the bills. Creating multiple streams of income helps you secure financial stability, which leaves you plenty of wiggle room if something goes wrong. Think about how the investments you have made in yourself can help you create additional streams of income.
Everyone has limits, but if you don’t know what yours are it will make it really easy for other people to cross them. Learning how to say no to people is just as important as being able to say yes to opportunities. What are your limits? Where have you drawn your boundaries? Do you know when to say yes and when to say no? Know your limits, draw your boundaries, and stick to it. There’s no point investing in yourself just to waste all of your time and energy on meeting other people’s expectations and needs. Part of getting to grips with your limits and boundaries is getting a better understanding of your strengths and weaknesses. It makes it easy to figure out where to push and when to pull.
We already touched on exercise a bit when we discussed health, but it’s important enough for its own section. Exercise is an excellent form of self-investment. With regular exercise comes stress relief, a boost in energy, better brainpower, improved memory, and more creativity. It can help keep anxiety and depression at bay, as well as protecting against lifestyle diseases.
Just because you should exercise daily doesn’t mean you have to spend money to do so. You don’t have to run out and join a gym. You can do it without equipment in your house or yard, but you can make small investments in weights or other equipment you know you will make use of. There are also a litany of free apps you can follow for easy at-home, equipment-less exercises to focus on any area of your body you wish.
When you build your life plan, you had best include plenty of time to get regular exercise. It might sound annoying, but it’s important. The key to ensuring you are consistent in your workouts is to choose a regimen you genuinely enjoy.
If you hate jogging don’t focus on jogging! If you loathe early morning runs don’t go running in the early morning. If you enjoy biking then take every opportunity to hop on the bike, whether it’s on the road or stationery.
20| Sharpen Your Skillset
Do you want to invest in yourself? You have to strengthen the skills you already possess. Think of your strongest skills, the ones you rely on the most, and ask yourself whether you’re an expert. One of the easiest and most efficient ways to invest in yourself is to build on the foundation you have already built. It’s easier to become an expert in what you already know than to start fresh.
If you plan to remain in your current industry or you’re on the right path and trying to sharpen up, then you should aim to become the best at what you do. You should look at the skills to determine what is most useful and focus on those first. If you plan to jump to another industry or path, then strengthen the most useful skills for that change.
21| Branch Out
As important as it is to strengthen your current skill set, it’s equally as important to branch out by developing new skills. You’re never too old to grow and learning new skills will keep your mind sharp and it gives you more in your arsenal.
Consider what new skills would help you succeed in your industry or the industry you plan to shift to. Focus on those skills first. If you to move up the ladder, focus on learning management techniques. If you plan to start a business in addition to your current job, then focus on time management skills.
Self-development is not necessarily the same as self-improvement or self-investment. Self-development can help you on your way to creating a better life for yourself. What it does do is feed into the necessity of creating a life plan.
The purpose of self-development is that you explore ideas, books, concepts, courses, or whatever that will allow you to imagine your life as you desire it to unfold and determine how to develop in order to get there.
Self-development is figuring out where you want to go, what it will take to get there, and breaking it down into milestones to chase until you reach the top. Likewise, it’s important to set goals on your self-improvement journey too.
One of life’s biggest rules to live by is to invest in yourself. If you aren’t willing to invest in yourself who else will invest in you? It’s up to you to take action and it’s you that needs to take responsibility and be proactive.
You have to be yourself, but you have to take steps to ensure that you are the best person possible. Invest in yourself physically, financially, emotionally, spiritually, mentally, and watch as the future you unfolds in front of your very eyes.
Take everything you learned above and put it together in a life plan that serves you. Your future depends entirely on your ability to invest in yourself.
It’s time to take action, otherwise, you’ll be left behind.
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