Self Investment is the key to living the life you crave! Start by getting serious with yourself about what it is you truly want in life. In my case I wanted to add value to the lives of others through online coaching. First step in actualizing that goal was creating my own life of happiness!
2017 was a big year for me and I really started asking myself some hard questions about where I wanted my life to go. I found some common themes about what I wanted: physical health, financial health, mindful living, and career growth. Here’s a list of the 7 ways I invested in Myself to bring those themes to life.
- I said YES to something that scared me. I was offered a semi-leadership role on a 10 day botany course in Mexico. I figured since I was leaning towards becoming a Botanist and I would get to drive through Mexico with a group of students I couldn’t pass this up! But wait, ME…could I do this, drive a bus of students through MEXICO?? I was utterly terrified to commit, I was going through a really tough time in my life and was worried I wouldn’t be able to handle the responsibility. I saddled up though and gave a full hearted yes! This trip was a turning point in my career planning, rather than pushing me further in the direction of becoming a botanist I learned I’m passionate about outdoor education! I spent 10 days hanging out with students and being face to face with my leadership techniques. I put a good bit of what I mentioned in my leadership post to good use, check it out here. I absolutely loved working with students in an outdoor setting and it started a fire in my belly. From this trip I gained the confidence to leave my Job and pursue a career in Outdoor Education. Pro Tip: If it scares you, DO IT!
2. I invested in a coach: to help me better understand nutrition and fitness. I had made a goal to complete a 30 day challenge during 2017. A friend of mine is a Beachbody Coach and after months of debate I finally emailed her. I absolutely despised spending money on a workout program and protein shake but after talking with her I her I found out about the money back guaranty, I had nothing to lose! I enrolled in the 21 day fix plan and quickly fell in love with the program. This small investment catapulted me in to coaching and was the foundation of getting serious about my goals. I changed my eating habits, stuck to a 30 minute work out EVERY DAY, and then shared this with others. Besides feeling and looking better I learned the importance of coaching and decided to become one myself! (if you want to know more about joining my fitness journey drop me a message here )
3. I put myself first: As I was going through big changes in my life I lost sight of my own happiness. I had put my needs on the back burner because I was stuck looking at the bigger picture. After months of clawing through life I knew I had to make a change. I got serious with myself, sat down and had an all out cry fest, then got to work on putting myself back together. With every decision I made, I tried to ask myself, “who is this for? Is this going to make me happy?” I slowly started to see how being a people pleaser was crippling my inner joy. I learned this simple skill, how to say no. Who knew saying NO could be so empowering! Rather than taking on every project or commitment, I now give myself the time to decide if it’s truly something that I WANT to do. If your inner joy is fading away, I recommend taking notice of what you are giving power to. See if those choices are empowering you or taking from you. and adjusting accordingly.
4. Fred Pryor Training Rewards: I can not speak highly enough of this training program! Check out their website to get the full details on the program but I’ll give you the quick rundown on why I love this training program. I attended my first training in 2016 for a 2 day Microsoft Excel course and was blown away by the instructor and the content. Everyone in that class was so enthused to be learning about Excel, all because of how awesome our instructor was! We were learning about Excel but he was imparting leadership advice, speaking tips, productivity hacks and so much more, all with a smashing amount of humor. This class was my first push into really getting organized in life and a look into just how many opportunities we have to seize life daily. So if you really want to get serious about optimizing your time, money, and skills go check Fred Pryor out.
5. Planner and White Board: If you aren’t already using a daily planner please give me your tips on how you stay organized! Without this piece of gold I think I would spend all day frantically running around trying to figure out my daily goals and deadlines. Find a planner that works for your organization style, for me I like one that has a one page block month and each following page is one week broken into days. Planners that have time slots built in don’t work for me since a lot of my planning is on a fluid time schedule. I use a binder clip at the front of the planner to pin back the months that have passed. This clip is also where I store important receipts from that month or other important small pieces of paper that may get lost (business cards!). My planner doubles as my goal tracker as well, I write down which goals I worked on that day and use an orange highlighter to emblazon what I completed. It’s incredibly rewarding to look back on the week and see bright stripes of orange reminding me to continually work on myself and move towards what makes me happy.
6. Goals: Which leads me right into my goals! I have never taken part in the traditional new years resolutions but I do always set goals. In my college health class I learned this silly way to set smart goals, but it totally stuck and I still use it today.
Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timley
I use these to frame the way I set my goals so that they are realistic and match my abilities! What’s the point of setting a goal to eat healthier if you don’t make a plan on how to get there? Use the SMART goals to craft not just goals but a plan for them. One of my goals for this year was to begin meditating again. In college I found it easier to settle into 15 minutes of silence or moments of guided mindfulness but as I started my new job those moments got further and further apart. So for 2017 I decided I would begin practicing mindfulness through daily meditations of 15 minutes. Daily is not realistic though when starting something new so I set a mini goal within that goal, for the first three months I would try to meditate three times a week for 5 minutes each. I measured my goal by keeping track of daily meditations in my personal planner, I equipped myself with resources such as meditation podcasts, a mini meditation guide, and wrote it all down on paper so I could visualize my plan. I continue to revisit my goal and set the next attainable level to reach my larger goal. Rewards are an integral part of achieving goals as well, in college I also learned how to reward myself with healthy treats (not bad foods!) my first reward for my meditation goal is that once I achieve a full month of meditating 3 times a week for 5+ minutes than I can treat myself to attend a local guided meditation.
7. Budgeting and saving: I had never successfully saved any money before meeting my husband. I was actually using the cash advance through my checking account, losing $2 on every advance!! I didn’t know how to set up or stick to a budget so I spent my money however I wanted to. Once we started sharing our money we very quickly needed to make some guidelines and adjustments to our (ehm.. MY) spending habits. At first we had very little money so we weren’t able to have a savings plan but we did make a budget and stuck to it. As we grew so did our finances and we were eventually able to start building our savings. We started using the envelope system, which you can find a lot of information about on the web but click here to check out my post on how we saved our first $1,000.
Each of these 7 choices have dramatically changed my life! I challenge you to choose at least one way to invest in yourself this year. Get started by subscribing to The Happiness Theory, for inspiration and empowerment!