21 Life-Changing Ways to Invest in Yourself and Kick-Start Your Refresh!
What is “investing in myself” all about?
2018 was all about creativity. 2019 was all about investing.
For the past two years I’ve practiced one-word intentions by choosing a word to represent my focus for the year. This year’s word was “investing, as in, investing in myself. I’m on a mission to build my dream life and in order to create the kinds of changes I want, I need to spend my time (and money) on new areas.
Why you should invest in yourself
I’m typically the kind of person who would rather figure something out on my own than pay someone else to help me. Maybe you can relate. While I may have saved money, it has definitely cost me time and ultimately, personal, professional, and financial growth. Over the past few years I’ve set out to change that, and I’ve seen the positive impact of investing in myself. So this year I decided to do a lot more of it!
• Change your actions, change your outcome
If you’re looking to hit refresh, then change will be a part of your journey. But, radically changing your life doesn’t mean you actually have to do something radical, rather the solution is quite simple: change your actions. The same actions lead to the same results. So if you, like I was, are looking for change but trying to skimp on spending money, I think you should consider the benefits of allocating a budget to invest in yourself.
If you aren’t where you want to be in life—maybe you want to change your job, your profession, where you live, your relationships with others, or your relationship with yourself— future you is dependent on the choices you make today. Where are you investing to make sure that the right changes happen?
• Investing in yourself is more than self-care
There are many ways to invest in yourself and I’ll address 21 ways below, however while it’s important to invest in yourself physically by getting plenty of sleep, eating healthy, drinking enough water, and taking care of your mental health, I won’t be addressing these types of investment.
There’s a lot of information out there on how to care for yourself, but I want to talk about specific actions you can take to create big life changes for your refresh. These are the changes I made in the past few years that have made a difference; I intentionally focused on gaining clarity, building my skills, and expanding my network.
Benefits of investing in yourself
If you’re looking for change, then investing in yourself pays the best interest. While the ROI may not be immediate, you’ll see a long-term pay off by being intentional and consistent. I certainly have! When you start making choices by being intentional about your goals, magic happens. Here are some of the returns you can expect:
• Personal and professional growth
There’s no doubt that investing in yourself leads to growth, both personal and professional. Growth elevates us, feeds our minds, and expands our possibilities. If you start being intentional about where you spend your time and money, you can make huge changes in your life in record time.
• Idea generation
Investing in yourself takes you out of your comfort zone, whether you’re learning new skills or meeting new people. New environments get your brain working in ways that it hadn’t before, leading to new ideas.
• An expanded network
Self-investment often leads to meeting new people. Whether you’re attending new networking events, conferences or learning new skills, you’ll have the opportunity to connect with like-minded people. As you nurture your interests, you’ll start collecting a new network along the way which will become invaluable as you grow.
• New opportunities
One of the best perks of investing in myself has been the unforeseen opportunities that come from it! When you’re intentional about your choices you send a signal to the universe about what you want to attract. Of course there’s work involved, but doors will start to open when you invest time and money into yourself.
• New skills
A natural perk of reinvesting in yourself is that you build your skills. As you refine your skills you are naturally making yourself more marketable because you are increasing the value you can provide to others. “You will attract more people if you provide them with an immense amount of value.”
• A competitive business
If your business is just starting out, one of the smartest things you can do is put your profit back into it. Don’t spend on frivolous things; instead, focus on things that will help your business grow: hire a VA, learn a new social media platform, get an SEO audit, etc.
How to invest in yourself: 21 ways to invest in yourself and see big returns
Investing in yourself is all about gaining clarity on your goals, and then being intentional about your choices to get there. How you choose to spend your time and money won’t make an immediate difference, but over time you can radically change your life. These are just some of the ways to invest in yourself:
• Gain clarity
Time is our most precious resource. In order to change your life, you must use your time wisely. Often people say they “don’t have time,” but the truth is we can all find a few more minutes or hours each week to use intentionally. Oftentimes “I don’t have time” is an excuse for “I don’t want it bad enough.”
1. Set goals
If you want “it” bad enough, gain clarity on what “it” is and start setting goals. Goal setting gives you a laser focus on where you should spend your energy and money.
2. Figure out your “it”
Not sure what your “it” is? Try listening to your inner voice, gut, and intuition. What is it telling you? Do you have any hobbies or interests you’ve neglected or something you’ve always wanted to try? Invest in yourself by making time for them.
3. Get a coach
Still not sure what you want to change or where you should focus your resources? Get a coach. Business coach, life coach, wellness coach, career coach, there’s many different kinds of people to help you, so find one that best suits your needs. For example, a professional coach can help you get from where you are to where you want to be, while life coaches can be instrumental in helping you gain clarity and then take action.
Not sure if it’s for you? Check out our podcast episode with coach and facilitator Katie Chalcraft.
4. Just say “no”
Lastly, practice saying no. Saying no to people, activities, and events that don’t align with your greater goal is a powerful way to invest in yourself. Those that know me well know that I say no to things all the time.
I’ve had to set some hard boundaries to protect my time and ensure that I’m spending it wisely—and it’s made a big difference. Saying no can be difficult at first; you may feel guilty or like you’re letting others down. But remember, people who support your growth and change will understand. Saying no to others means saying yes to yourself!
• Build new skills
New skills can open new doors. If your refresh involves leaving your current job, then you’ll need to spend time and money acquiring the skills that will help you get from point A to point B.
5. Go back to school
The most common way to learn a new skill is to take a class. Looking to gain remote skills such as SEO, social media marketing, graphic design, editing or translation? You can learn all of this and more using online resources, many for free! If you need to pay for a more in-depth course, think of it as an investment you’re making in yourself! Get started with our article on the best online learning sites for remote work skills.
If you prefer learning in a brick-and-mortar classroom, check your local university or community college for continuing education courses or maybe even pursue a new degree.
6. Play and get creative
If you don’t quite know what you want to do, it can be challenging to know where to start. The best thing you can do is play. Make space to dabble in your interests, create, have fun, and work on projects without expectations. Playing helps you to think differently and allows you to discover new things about yourself.
I came to Madrid as a English language assistant in 2015, and I knew I wanted to do something different but I had no idea what that would be. In 2016 I started a vegetarian food blog just for fun, to share the restaurants I had discovered in the city. Little did I know that dabbling in writing and creating content would lead me on a path to my new career. Starting that blog led me to digital marketing and ultimately to create She Hit Refresh.
7. Indulge in your creativity
Once you know what skills to hone, start diving deep. Learn everything you can and put your knowledge into practice. If you’re aiming for a career change, employers are going to want to see results. If you’re learning about social media, start posting and exercising your new skills online. If you’re learning about SEO, start a blog and work on getting your content to rank. The best way to learn is through practice and although you aren’t getting paid to practice, defining these skills in your free time will lead to paid opportunities down the road.
8. Build a side hustle
Use your new skills to create a side gig. If you’re looking to escape your 9 to 5, make some extra money or start your own business, use your free time to start the transition. There’s no need to quit your job cold turkey to hit refresh, rather comfortably ease into change by creating something on the side that you can nurture and grow. Not only that, but building a side hustle can give you a safety net to validate your idea or hone your skills. And remember you do not have to be an expert to start! Start before you’re confident, confidence comes from starting.
• Expand your network
Your network is your net worth. Networking often has a smarmy, negative connotation, or at least it least it did to me at first. However in Madrid I leveraged my people skills and learned to be a social butterfly. By meeting and connecting with like-minded people, I saw the immense benefit of connections, and realized that networking is really just connecting with people. Building your network is one of the best ways you can invest in yourself.
9. Start local
Whatever your interests are and wherever you’re trying to go in life, look for networking opportunities in your city. Don’t limit yourself to suit and tie events, check places like Meetup.com or Eventbrite to find fun and interesting events and workshops happening every night of the week.
Don’t have anyone to go with? Go alone. Please don’t pass up an opportunity for change because of fear. I promise the more you talk to strangers the easier it gets. You might learn something interesting or make new friends. Connecting with like-minded people can start planting seeds for new opportunities.
10. Build a community
If you’re looking for events and meetups in your city but can’t find what you’re looking for, why not start one yourself? That’s exactly what I did. When I first started blogging I wanted to meet other bloggers, but I couldn’t find anything in Madrid so I started my own group, and it has turned into something quite special. Learn more about how I started a community with no experience.
You don’t have to be an expert to start an in-person or online community. You just need to build a space for like-minded people to connect. In the process, you’ll learn a lot and surround yourself with the right people to help you succeed.
11. Find an online community
Your people are online, so find them! If you aren’t able to find what you’re looking for locally and don’t want to start your own community, use tools like Facebook groups to connect with like-minded people online. There are groups for everything! Find the best ones for you and be active in them, network online. You can learn so much in these virtual spaces and make connections that you otherwise wouldn’t have. Pro tip: offer value, not spam.
12. Attend conferences
Conferences require a financial investment to cover your attendance fee, transportation, accommodation, and food, but it’s worth it! If you’re looking to break into a specific sector (for your career path or to promote your business), look for industry-specific events. Go to conferences and speak to everyone! Again, network, network, network. Pro tip: ask questions and really listen, don’t just talk about yourself and what you can do; building a genuine relationship goes a long way.
13. Invest in your relationships
You might already have a great network of people around you. Invest in these relationships, too. Sometimes when we are in hustle mode we say no a little too often—I know I do! Make time for the right people, listen and ask what you can do for them. Invest in your relationships with no expectations on return, and quite often there will be an ROI.
Whatever you may call it, an intensive weekend or week away with the right kind of people can make all the difference. Retreats are often a hefty financial investment and something I personally couldn’t justify until I went on one myself. Retreats can be transformative.
If you choose retreats that are aligned with your goals, they offer a concentrated dose of motivation, inspiration, and clarity, and can really help you take action! A big plus is the people you meet. Retreats are an opportunity to make lifelong friends who get you, support you, and hold you accountable for the changes you want to make.
If you’re looking to get clarity on your refresh check out our Morocco retreat, happening March 2020.
• Pro tip for investing in yourself
15. Invest in your business
Don’t skimp on investing to take your business to the next level. In the beginning you have to be scrappy because you’re working with limited resources, but if you need more time to focus on certain aspects of the business, maybe it’s time to hire a VA. If you’re not great at writing or editing, consider outsourcing the work. If you need to learn about email marketing, invest in that course. You don’t have to do everything yourself, and paying others to help can save time, energy, and frustration. Invest in yourself to get from A to B much faster!
More ways to invest in yourself (when you don’t have money)
Investing in yourself doesn’t always involve money. Don-t worry if you don’t have disposable income to spend right now. Here are some options for you! Instead of going to the bar or watching Netflix, use your extra time to invest in yourself.
• Spend your time wisely
We’re all given 24 hours in a day, but how we choose to spend them makes the biggest difference.
16. Surround yourself with the right people
You are the product of the five people with whom you spend most of your time. If you want to be successful, happy, positive, healthy, or more productive, make sure you associate with people who have these qualities. Limit your time with Debbie Downers and naysayers.
Not everyone will understand hitting refresh, so it’s important to find people who not only understand, but also support and inspire you to become the best version of yourself.
17. Read more
Whatever you want to learn there’s a book for that. Check out your local library to read expert advice for free. Even though I live in Spain, I still check out library books from my local branch in Texas since they offer e-books. Some great alternatives to reading are Audible for audiobooks or Blinklist for audio summaries of popular books.
18. Listen to podcasts
Podcasts are one of my favorite sources of inspiration and education. There is a podcast for everything! I listen to podcasts on social media, marketing, health and wellness, entrepreneurship, online business, and more. Use your downtime to feed your head— commuting to work, cleaning the house, or working out. Have you checked out the She Hit Refresh podcast yet?
19. Look online
In addition to online courses, there are helpful blogs and videos on just about every topic. Read and watch anytime, anywhere. Virtual conferences are becoming more popular, too, with online conferences on remote work, Instagram, and other online skills. If you can’t make an online conference, see if the sessions will be released to watch later.
• Pro tips for investing in yourself
20. Put it out there
If you’re looking to make a change, tell people what you’re doing. You don’t have to share every detail of your plan, but don’t keep it a secret—you never know what kind of help and guidance you might be missing out on. If you’ve learned a new skill, let people know. If you’ve started a community, tell people. If you have a new business, spread the word. There’s magic in saying things out loud and sharing your journey.
Have you seen this before? It stands for Do What You Said You Would Do. Once you set your goals, gain clarity on which changes you want to make, and know how to invest in yourself, just do it! Action is everything. Planning will not get you results if you never start. If you said you were going to pay off your debt by the end of the year, do it! If you want to live a healthier life, make better choices. Following through is one of the best ways to invest in yourself!
Invest in yourself and change your life
Investing in yourself means adding value to your life, which in turn adds value to others. This is the secret, the magic! People start to notice, opportunities start to appear, and doors start to open. But, you have to be intentional and consistent for big changes to happen. As we wrap us 2019, I encourage you to think about how you’ve invested in yourself this year. If you’d like to do more, why not choose investing as your one-word intention for 2020?