You’ve probably heard the phrase “invest in yourself” before, but what does that mean, exactly?
When we think of investment, most of us probably think of buying stocks and shares. Taking risks by putting money into certain companies in the hope of one day getting a return.
Investing in yourself is a bit different.
Sure, some personal investments might require money, or time, or both, but the return is far greater than anything monetary.
There’s no risk involved, and you get out several times what you put in.
Here are a few ways that you can invest in yourself that will bring about big returns in happiness and personal fulfillment in the long run.
1. Invest In Lifelong Learning
You’re not the same person you were this morning, let alone last year.
Many of us go into post-secondary education with a clear vision of what we want to do with our lives, but our paths don’t always unfold as we expect.
I know one person who started off in law school and now runs a gluten-free, vegan bakery.
Another one spent years as a pharmacist and is now a diving instructor in Thailand.
The point I’m trying to make here is that education and learning aren’t limited to a few years’ worth of college or university.
People who stay engaged and make a point of learning different things over the course of their lives tend to be happier, healthier, and have a greater sense of fulfillment.
Better still, lifelong learning doesn’t just make a person happier…
A recent study gives a tantalizing glimpse into how learning new skills or languages – or even just studying interesting subjects – might potentially reduce a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
I’m willing to bet there are tons of different subjects you’d love to delve into.
Furthermore, your interests and hobbies are bound to change over time, but there will always be something fun to learn and engage in.
When I was in art college, several students in my classes were in their 70s and 80s. One had been a molecular biologist; another had spent her life as a housewife.
Now, they were revelling in the joy of experimenting with ceramics, oil painting, sculpture, and printmaking. Rather than just sitting around and watching TV, they were active and engaged, and happy.
Educating yourself in many different subjects and skills is a spectacular way to invest in yourself, and the return really is monumental.
You’re never too old to learn something new, or start a new project, and there isn’t a single downside.
2. Invest In Healthy Boundaries
You might not consider this to be an investment per se, but it really is of monumental benefit.
A lot of people end up with anxiety, depression, and even physical health issues because they find themselves stretched too thin by other people.
But this can be avoided by establishing some boundaries early on.
This can be as simple as determining what your sleep and rest requirements are like, and ensuring that other people respect them by not bothering you between certain hours.
If you have a trusted therapist or counselor, they might be able to help you determine the areas in which you need stronger boundaries.
Most of the time, we’re not even aware of the areas in which we need to be a bit more assertive, which is why professional help is so invaluable.
By investing time and effort with a mental health professional, you can strive toward lifelong self-care.
You’ll be better prepared to protect yourself from toxic people, and develop healthy coping mechanisms for whatever life may toss your way.
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3. Invest In Your Ideal Nutrition Plan
This one might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s actually more complicated than most people think.
Sure, there are countless websites and social media mavens promoting all kinds of supposedly groundbreaking and/or super-healthy diets, but that doesn’t mean that there’s a one-size-fits-all solution.
Different people’s bodies have different dietary requirements, and finding out what works best for you can make an enormous difference to your well-being.
One person may thrive on a high protein/low carb diet, while another will do best with a vegan diet high in complex carbs.
Similarly, just like people can be allergic to various foods (looking at you peanuts, shellfish, and tropical fruits…), others can have an inflammatory response to really common ingredients.
If you’re interested in finding a food plan that’s best for you, get yourself to a dietician who can run allergy tests and work with you to form a suitable plan.
The results may surprise you, but they’ll undoubtedly lead to a healthier overall lifestyle.
Sure, there may be some disappointments if you need to drastically veer away from favorite foods, but giving up avocados (if it turns out you have a latex allergy) or tomatoes (nightshade sensitivity!) is a small price to pay for significantly better health.
Yes, you may have to give up a few things you think you love, but you’ll feel so much better in the long run that it’s absolutely worth the personal investment.
4. Invest In Your Body
Are you familiar with the term “use it or lose it”? When it comes to our bodies, it’s eerily accurate.
The strength and flexibility we take for granted in our youth can swiftly turn to stiff joints, aching muscles, and startling strength loss as we age.
I’m not talking about being 70+ either. Aging takes its toll on our bodies, and you’re not going to bounce back from injuries or illnesses as easily (or quickly) as time goes by.
You can take pre-emptive measures by ensuring that you get a decent amount of physical exercise.
The type that you do, and the frequency, will of course depend on your own body and its unique abilities.
Much like consulting with a dietician to determine an eating plan that works best for you, it’s a good idea to book some time with a personal trainer to sort out your exercise regime.
Since no two people are alike, no single workout plan will work for everyone.
Investing a couple of hours’ worth of time with a personal trainer can help you sort out the types of exercises that are best for you, and how often to do them.
You can always revisit the trainer to update your preferences if and when you feel that you need a change of pace, either for something more challenging, or more gentle.
Taking the time to do regular cardio, stretching, and weight resistance training now means that you’ll be much more likely to keep strength and agility well into later adulthood.
Are You Ready To Invest In Yourself?
All of these things may sound simple to do, but getting around to doing them – and keeping at them – does take a fair bit of time and dedication.
Other things may seem to take priority, pushing self-care, proper eating, exercise, and “brain food” lower and lower on your list of priorities.
Taking care of our bodies, minds, and souls is a type of investment that always brings about a spectacular return.
Life circumstances will change, of course, as will able-bodiedness, interests, and even dietary needs.
Fortunately, we can revisit and re-evaluate these investments on a regular basis, and make adjustments as desired/required.
You might not know who you’d like to be in 50 years, but putting time and effort into these four personal “portfolios” can undoubtedly help you get there, with greater overall well-being.