One great question to ask if you’re interested in self-improvement is “Am I investing in myself?” – particularly when you’re feeling stuck, or when your progress towards your goals hasn’t been so fast as you’d like.
So what does “investing in yourself” mean? This depends on what your goals are, but these are three big areas you might want to invest some time, money and thought in:
• Your appearance
• Your skills
• Your health
All of these are important for success in many walks of life. Here’s why, and some ideas how you can invest in each.
Investing In Your Appearance
This might seem a very shallow thing to put at the top. Unfortunately, like it or not, we all tend to judge on appearances. In some jobs or roles, looking the part can make a real difference to how others perceive and treat you.
Just as importantly, your appearance can have huge effects on your self confidence. Have you ever been at an event where you misjudged the formality and ended up very under-dressed or over-dressed? I’ll bet you felt awkward and out of place. Conversely, you might well have taken extra care over your grooming before a big presentation, and felt more confident as a result.
Investing in your appearance might mean:
• Saving up for a good suit
• Getting up ten minutes earlier to have time to look your best for work
• Asking a fashionable friend for advice on your usual “look”
• Losing some weight (also important for health reasons)
• Taking some time to revamp your wardrobe, ensuring you have clothes that mix and match well
If you feel that your appearance is the big area you need to invest in, Trent from The Simple Dollar has some strong advice (particularly if you’re in a fairly traditional job) in his article on The Value of Personal Appearance.
Investing in Your Skills
All of us have a certain skill set, often based on our jobs (current and past), our hobbies and our day-to-day experiences. Employers tend to be interested primarily in skills – what you can do. Some of these will be very specific to particular jobs (technical skills, such as being able to program a computer) and other skills are “transferable skills” that you can use in many careers as well as in day-to-day life (such as public speaking or presentational skills).
Clear five or ten uninterrupted minutes when you can sit down and list your skills. Put down little things as well as big ones – being able to bake the perfect cake is a skill!
What skills could you develop, with the investment of a little time or money? Could any of these form the basis of a new career, a side business, a fulfilling hobby, or something you could offer to your community?
Some ways to invest in your skills are:
• Read a book that teaches you something new in a particular area
• Attend a local course
• Take part in an online course
• Ask someone to mentor you
• Schedule regular time to practise
Investing in Your Health
Too many of us are storing up health problems for later life – one that could cause financial problems or give us a huge reduction in quality of life. It’s much cheaper to focus on staying healthy than to take preventative action once something’s gone wrong. If you’re in good health, you’ll perform better at work, you’ll have more energy to work towards your goals, and you’ll generally feel happier!
Don’t just think about your physical health, either; mental health is just as important (and, indeed, your mental and physical health can’t be considered in complete isolation). By investing some time and money now, you could save yourself a huge amount of both in the future. Here are some ideas to get you started:
• If you’re over or under weight, start taking action
• Get some exercise each day – great for your body and mind
• Take good care of your teeth (dental hygiene, and regular visits to your dentist) – tooth pain can be crippling
• If you work at a computer, learn about RSI and how to prevent it.
• Eat a healthy, balanced diet, focusing on fruits, veggies, wholegrains and lean proteins.
• Don’t smoke, take drugs, or drink excessive amounts of alcohol.
What areas could you invest in? Is it worth spending some money or some time now in order to improve your position in the future?