What comes to mind when you think of investing? If you’re like most people, you imagine stock tickers, red and green charts, and maybe a bunch of shouting on the crowded floor of The New York Stock Exchange. Financial investments are just one part of the investing you need to do as you pursue financial freedom. In fact, if you aren’t investing in yourself mentally and physically, you may not live as wealthy of a life as you imagine despite making the right financial investments.
Here’s a checklist of some of the ways you can start investing in yourself mentally, physically, and financially.
Investing In Yourself Mentally
No matter what your goals are, your mindset matters. Of course, mindset isn’t everything, but it can have a significant impact on how you see the world and approach your goals. You can’t change your mindset overnight, but you can commit to investing in yourself mentally.
These are some steps you can take to get started.
Don’t Compare Yourself
One of the first things you need to do on your journey is to make sure you know you are running your own race. It is easy to fall into the comparison trap, especially when we look to others for advice and inspiration. However, one of the best things you can do for yourself mentally is to learn how to drown out the noise. The more you can zero in on your own goals, the more progress you can make. To help with this, make sure you spend more time checking in with yourself and less time focusing on the wins and losses of others.
Practice Intentional Living
It’s easy to get caught up in the hectic nature of day-to-day living. But it’s crucial that you take yourself off autopilot. By being more intentional with how you think about your day, you will have more time and bandwidth for what matters. Incorporating intentional living practices into your day can help.
Of course, this looks different for different people. Some people weave meditation into their daily routines. Other people prefer journaling to work through their thoughts each morning. Others still spend time practicing gratitude at the close of each day. Intentional living might also look like batching your work day, decluttering, or even adopting the practice of minimalism. What is most important about intentional living is that you give one of these practices time to take root rather than trying to incorporate everything at once.
Consider Your Sphere of Influence
We’ve all heard the saying that if you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room. But how many of us act on that advice? No, that doesn’t mean you should pass out IQ tests at your next backyard barbeque. But you should think about who is in your circle and why.
Your circle is one of the most influential aspects of your life; be deliberate with who gets your time. Find ways to meet up with like-minded people who are chasing similar goals. Consider finding a mentor. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to set boundaries for yourself. Removing toxic relationships from your life is nothing short of life changing.
Commit to Growth
One of the best ways to invest in yourself mentally is to stay committed to growth and learning. Having a growth mindset means that you understand there are always opportunities to push through challenges. It also means that you are committed to learning new things.
That might mean setting an annual reading goal or making sure you have podcasts downloaded for your commute. It might also mean being more deliberate with how you spend your time. We have all gotten lost scrolling on social media. Are there other ways that you can use your downtime both on and offline? Staying committed to personal growth (but avoid the comparison trap!) is key to investing in yourself mentally.
Investing in Yourself Physically
Health is wealth. Without our health it is difficult or downright impossible to fully enjoy the freedom of financial wealth. We have all heard the stories of people who work their lives away, chasing their financial dreams only to have everything cut short when their health fails. You can’t become invincible. However, you can commit to improving and maintaining your health with these investments.
Get the Right Amount of Sleep
In hustle culture, one of the last things that gets talked about is getting the right amount of sleep. Unfortunately, if you’re not sleeping well, that can actually upend all of the other progress you’re making. Start by doing an honest assessment of your sleep habits. Are you going to bed at a consistent time? Is sleep even a priority for you? Get in touch with your current sleep routine and then commit to creating a better sleep schedule. Your body (and mind!) will thank you!
Move Your Body
If you ask a room full of people about their favorite workout, you’re likely to get a long list of varied answers. No matter what type of activity you prefer, the key is to commit to moving your body every day. With more and more people spending an ever increasing amount of their day behind the computer screen, it is essential that we commit to combating a sedentary lifestyle.
You don’t have to run a marathon, you just need to move. Carve out time each day to get in some movement. You can enlist an accountability partner for help. You can also look at different fitness trackers, apps, and even a personal trainer to help keep movement and exercise at the forefront of your day.
Fuel Yourself Well
Like exercising, there are plenty of diets that you can follow. Finding one that suits your lifestyle, your goals, and your body is more important than following trends.
Eating well can go a long way to improving your quality of life. If it helps, keep a food journal, download an app, or consult a dietician. Also, don’t be afraid to bump up your grocery budget if you have the wiggle room or even check out different meal planning apps and services. Build better eating habits and your body will thank you.
Go to the Doctor
Oftentimes, people mistake physical fitness and health as a reason to skip doctor visits. It’s true that you don’t need to run to the doctor for every sneeze and sniffle. But getting in the habit of making and keeping appointments for annual physicals or other well visits can go a long way.
There’s that saying that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and it’s true in many regards. Not only can these regular visits help you proactively address any health needs that you might have, they can also help you dodge eye-poppingly high medical bills for issues that go untreated.
Investing in Yourself Financially
Investing in yourself financially isn’t just about making actual investments. Of course, that is part of growing your wealth and finding financial freedom. But there are other steps that you need to take to ensure that you are staying on track with your finances. In some cases, you need to invest time and other cases, you need to invest money. Regardless, making the decision to invest in yourself financially can have a positive impact on all aspects of your life.
Here’s how to get started.
Budget and Track Expenses
Many people start their financial journeys by budgeting or by tracking their expenses. Some people even do a combination of both. If you haven’t explored those systems ever or you’ve been on autopilot for some time, it’s time to take a look at the numbers. A budget is a spending plan for the month or for the year. That helps you be more purposeful with how you intend to allocate your money. Tracking your expenses helps you see if you followed through with your plan.
Having a clear understanding of the money coming in and out of your life costs very little. In fact, it can be done with a spreadsheet or apps like Mint or Personal Capital. While it may not be a big financial commitment, few things have the financial impact of these habits. Plus, knowing these numbers can help you keep an eye on your net worth and your FI number.
Slash Unnecessary Expenses
The further you are on your financial journey, the more likely you are to make financial investments. You might have a workplace-sponsored retirement account, such as a 401k or a 403b. In addition to that, you likely have a traditional or Roth IRA. You might even have a taxable brokerage account. No matter what you invest in financially, it is important to keep an eye on fees. On a $100,000 portfolio, a 1% fee over 20 years can actually reduce the portfolio’s value by nearly $30,000 compared to a 0.25% fee. With more and more low fee and no fee investment options, the cost to invest is something you need to keep an eye on.
In addition to cutting back on fees, look to see what else you can cut from your spending. If something doesn’t serve you, get rid of it. Is there a subscription box that you’ve lost interest in? Can you shop for lower rates on car or home insurance? Putting in the time to reduce your expenses and eliminate what doesn’t matter frees up more money for you to save, spend, and invest in what really does.
As you start to generate more money from your side hustle, real estate, or entrepreneurship, don’t be afraid to reinvest some of that money. It might seem counterintuitive if you feel like you should always focus on saving. Revinesting is actually key to growing your income.
You can also use it to outsource when the time is right. That might mean paying someone to help with marketing, upgrading your website, or bringing on an accountant. It might also mean paying to attend a conference or signing up for online professional development for yourself. Reinvesting into your income streams can make them more profitable.
Focus on Why
Sometimes in finance, we get so hung up on the numbers in our spreadsheets that we lose sight of the bigger purpose. What is the driving force behind your financial decisions? Keep that at the forefront of your financial plans. Otherwise, you might find yourself trimming your expenses to the bone or working 80-plus hours a week unnecessarily.
One of the best ways to invest in yourself financially is to give yourself permission to spend money on what matters to you. Cover your basic needs, invest in your future, and also give yourself permission to spend on things you truly enjoy. For some people, that might mean purchasing a Peloton and for others, it might mean traveling to Tahiti. Make sure your money habits align with your priorities and then give yourself permission to save and spend.
Final Thoughts on Investing in Yourself
No matter where you are on your financial journey, you know you are working toward financial freedom. Don’t be afraid to invest in yourself along the way. In fact, by prioritizing your mental, physical, and financial well being, you will find that you enjoy the journey as much as the destination.