How to invest in yourself?

This is an important question to ask.

You’ll find here 25 different ideas to better your future.

But first, what does investing in yourself mean?

Here’s my definition:

Investing resources today to improve the quality of your life in the future. 

When it comes to personal resources, there’s two that come to mind:

  1. Money
  2. Time

You can invest each of these resources to improve your quality of life.

What are some good strategies to invest in yourself?

Here are 25 different ideas broken down into eight categories:

  1. Physical Health
  2. Intelligence
  3. Emotional Health
  4. Character
  5. Relationships
  6. Finances
  7. Career
  8. The Ultimate Investment

How To Invest In Yourself

How To Invest In Yourself:  Physical Health

There is no aspect of your life your physical health does not impact.

Good physical health has incredible benefits.  From decreasing stress to more energy, to an increased lifespan. There are very high returns when it comes to paying attention to your health.

There are three areas to focus on:

  1. Exercise
  2. Nutrition
  3. Sleep

Investing in each of these areas can have tremendous returns.

Where should you start?

Here are some ideas:

# 1) Learn to cook healthy meals

Improving your cooking skills will save you a lot of time and money over your life. As important, life is a lot better when you enjoy what you’re eating.

A few cookbooks I’ve found helpful are:

# 2) Develop an exercise routine you enjoy

I exercise a lot more when I enjoy what I’m doing. For me this means a lot of long walks in nature and playing basketball.

I then incorporate strength training and stretching.

This is what I enjoy. The idea is to find an exercise routine you enjoy.

Test out different ideas until you have a routine you enjoy.

Resources I’ve found helpful include:

# 3) Learn your recipe for a good night’s sleep

Any activity you spend 1/3 of your life doing is important to do right.

But when it comes to sleep, where should you start?

You can start with:

  • Trying different nighttime rituals
  • Tracking your sleep using one of the many sleep tracking apps
  • Learning about sleep

# 4) Try different types of “diets”

There are hundreds of different diets.

I’m not sure which one is right for you.

Having tried a handful of diets though and some study on nutrition, I’ve developed a way of eating that works for me.

And that’s the goal.

Invest some time, thought and money into what you eat.

How To Invest In Yourself: Intelligence

Intelligence to me is about living your life according to your values, vision, and purpose.

It’s not about IQ. Nor, how many books you read. It comes down to how you choose to live.

Living a life that’s congruent with your values, vision, and purpose is an intelligent life.

How should you go about investing in your intelligence?

Here are some ideas:

# 5 ) Get Good At Goal Setting

Goal setting is the process of identifying what you will spend your time on.

Being a good goal setter means being able to identify the right things to focus on.

I’ve developed a lot of my philosophy based on the classic book Goals by Brian Tracy. I also found another classic, The Magic of Thinking Big essential reading.

# 6) Ask Yourself Great Questions

We all face problems in our life.

One of the best ways to overcome our problems is to ask ourselves the right questions. Good questions allow us to break our normal thinking patterns.

Through good questions, it’s easier to arrive at important insights or new ideas.

Not sure where to start? Ironically, a great way is to ask question is:

What are the best questions I can ask myself to improve my life right now?

Here are then some questions to improve your finances.

#7) Develop Accurate Beliefs

Your beliefs determine your actions, whether rational or irrational.

Think of a belief as the story you tell yourself. A common belief about money goes something like…

“Work is something I have to put up with for 40 hours a week, so I can…”

One of mine…

“If I just had a bit more money, than I could _____(fill in the desire of the month).

I’ve told myself this belief or story many times in many forms.

The personal development world refers to this as a limited belief.

In behavior science, it’s called a narrative fallacy.

In his book The Black Swan, Nassim Taleb writes:

The narrative fallacy addresses our limited ability to look at sequences of facts without weaving an explanation into them, or, equivalently, forcing a logical link, an arrow of relationship upon them. Explanations bind facts together. They make them all the more easily remembered; they help them make more sense. Where this propensity can go wrong is when it increases our impression of understanding.

Just as you can have limiting beliefs, you can have beliefs that empower you.

For example, the belief that:

“The key to making money, and therefore living a life of less stress, is to cause someone to joyfully give you money in exchange for something that they perceive to be of greater value than what you give them.”

This was a quote I highlighted from the book The Education of Millionaires.

Imagine going through life with this belief, compared to having to “put up with work for 40 hours a week.”

Further Reading/Viewing:

# 8) Take Personality Tests

A great way to find out more about yourself is to take personality tests.

One test I took years back, Perry Marshall’s Marketing DNA Test

has changed a lot of what I do on a daily basis. I’m much more fulfilled in my work as a result.

Each personality test has it’s different strengths and weaknesses. The goal is to learn more about yourself, which allows you to make better decisions.

Here are five personality assessments I’ve found helpful:

Emotional Health

A great life is filled with quality emotions on an ongoing basis. What comes as a surprise to many is we have the ability to control a lot of our emotions.

The goal is to identify the emotions important to you.  Then, create those emotions with goals and habits.

Here are three ways I’ve invested in my emotions in the past, which have had great returns on my overall happiness.

# 9) – Know The Emotions You Want To Experience Often

Without knowing which emotions you want to experience, you can’t create the recipe to experience them.

To give you an idea, I’ve listed the following emotions as the ones I want to experience the most:

  • Flow
  • Love
  • Fulfillment
  • Adventure
  • Inspiration

It’s through knowing these emotions, I then work to develop habits and goals to create these emotions. For example, when it comes to flow, I’ve put a lot of systems in place to reduce distractions.

Here’s a list of emotions to get you started.

# 10) Meditate

If there’s one habit that’s proven to help manage your emotions more than any other it’s meditation.

# 11) Make A List Of Ways To Control Bad Emotions

While we can control some emotions, other’s we can not. Bad emotions are inevitable.

But letting bad emotions linger is a choice.

That’s why it’s invaluable to create a strategy to stop bad emotions from lingering.

A good strategy I’ve always found is to exercise.

I’m never unhappy after I get my heart rate up.

How To Invest In Yourself: Your Character

Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built.”

My favorite part of that quote is the phrase, “This is how character is built.”

I’m a firm believer that we’re not born with a certain character. Our character is developed.

Here are some ideas to invest in your character:

# 11) Make A List Of Character Traits You Desire, Then Set Goals According To Those Traits

As with creating a recipe for the emotions we want to experience, we can choose our character traits. The goal is then to define important character traits and consciously build those traits into your life.

For example, say you want to be self-disciplined.

A good goal would be to do a 30-day challenge where you’re installing a new habit e.g. trying a new diet, sticking to a budget, waking up a certain time. 

If your goal is to be more self-reliable, set a goal never to be 10 minutes early for all appointments.

How To Invest In Yourself: Relationships

The relationships in your life have a large correlation with your happiness and success.

Sheryl Sandberg has said that “The most important career choice you’ll make is who you marry.”

An often repeated phrase, there’s much truth to is “your network is your net worth.”

Since relationships impact everything from your career success to your happiness, it makes sense to invest in them.

Here are some ideas:

12) Read How To Win Friends And Influence People

Everyone should read How To Win Friends and Influence People  at least once in their life. It’s a classic for a reason.

13) Attend A Conference

Sign up for a conference or an event that interests you, even if it’s outside your industry. Not only will you learn a lot, you can also develop some excellent relationships.

14) Find a Mentor

Finding the right mentor can be difficult.

But the benefits are worth it.

Here’s something you can do today.

Make a list of people who you respect, that you’d like to build a relationship with.

Send them an email, explaining how they’ve helped you in the past.

Then, follow up once a month, sharing a further update, of how they’ve helped.

During this time, look for ways you can help that person. Maybe it’s sending them an article of a new study you thought might interest them

The goal is to build your relationship over time. e.g. don’t just come right out asking, “will you be my mentor?”

15) Write Thank You Notes

Set aside time to write thank you notes.

In 2014, Mark Zuckerberg’s goal was to write a thank you note every day.

A handwritten note is quite unexpected.

While I’ve never written a thank you note a day, I have used this strategy to connect with others I respect.

While I don’t ask for anything in return, I often get a reply and unexpected value out of it.

16) Plan A Meaningful Experience With Someone You Want To Connect With

Have someone in mind you want to get to know better?

Plan a meaningful experience with them.

If it’s an acquaintance, it may be grabbing coffee or lunch. If it’s your spouse, it could be a weekend getaway.

17) Volunteer

A great way to build meaningful relationships is to volunteer.

One great way to connect with others is joining an organization and taking an official position.

This is how Tim Ferriss built a lot of relationships before he wrote his first best seller.

How To Invest In Yourself: Your Finances

How can you invest your time and money to improve your financial life?

There are smart ways, then, some not so smart ways.

Here’s four smart ways:

18) Save

Saving money has shown to increase your happiness.

Start looking for ways to save more of your income.

19) Invest

Investing your money is investing in yourself.

The reward for investing is more freedom in your life. One of the best things you can buy.

20) Communicate

Money can be a stressful subject, especially in a relationship. This can impact every aspect of your life.

Often at the root of the problem is the lack of communication.

Invest time in communicating with your spouse (or yourself) about money. Here are: 6 TED Talks Couples Can Watch To Spark Meaningful Conversations About Money

21) Give

There’s a saying I once heard that says, “The hole you give through is the hole you receive through.

Science has shown giving increases happiness.

Sean Archer has proven that it’s not success leads to happiness but happiness leads to success.

Giving to a cause that makes a difference is an incredible way to invest in yourself.

How To Invest In Yourself: Your Career

Relationships determine a lot of your success and fulfillment in your career. So, that’s a great place to start.

But there are plenty of other great ways.

22) Learn a New Skill

This could be anything from a new language, to a musical instrument, a sport, or a career skill.

With more skills, you have more “dots”, which means more opportunities.

As Steve Jobs, famously said,

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

23) Invest in a Coach

A good coach can help you in many ways.

One of my mentors always has a coach on his highest-leverage goal. He seeks out the best help he can find. It comes as no surprise, his success rate for achieving his primary goal is very high.

24) Make a Stop Doing List

Jim Collins wrote,

It is the discipline to discard what does not fit — to cut out what might have already cost days or even years of effort — that distinguishes the truly exceptional artist and marks the ideal piece of work, be it a symphony, a novel, a painting, a company or, most important of all, a life.”

He has excellent instructions to make your stop doing list in this article.

The Ultimate Way To Invest In Yourself

One of the wisest,  if not the wisest,  ways to invest in yourself is to study happiness.

It’s hard to make a bad decision when you’re optimizing for happiness. But you can’t make those good decisions until you really know what makes you happy.

A few books I’ve enjoyed lately are from ex Google Engineer  Chade-Meng Tan:

Two of my favorite all-time classics are:

 

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